If you are just doing what you love, you are doing it wrong!
Okay, I apologize, that was kind of for shock value, but please let me explain it a little more by sharing my journey with you. A long time ago, I heard about the Confucius saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” So I thought that if someone paid me to do what I love (programming), I would have a job I loved. Do what you love. Simple, right? Wrong!
Just 1 of the 7
Wrong because I have experienced first-hand what it feels like to hate doing
what you love. The first time it happened, I convinced myself it was because
of the pay and the outdated technology. Surely, if I found a job with better
pay and newer technologies, I would love it!
The second time it happened, it left me frustrated and made me question whether I truly loved coding. How is it possible to hate two different jobs that paid me to do what I thought I loved? I talked to some of my friends and realized I wasn’t alone. In fact, according to Gallup, “70% of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’.” _Why are 7 out of 10 Americans not engaged? More importantly, how could I be one of the other three?
Not Even Zappos
Moving on, I decided to apply for a job at Zappos because of their culture. I
figured, if I didn’t love working there, I probably didn’t truly love software
engineering. I was pretty excited to get an offer from them to work on their
Enterprise Data Warehouse team. I learned quite a bit on that team and worked
with some really smart people, _but still, I didn’t love what I was doing. Not
even at Zappos! _
Serendipity and Culture
I didn’t hate working at Zappos, but I didn’t love it either. I found that I
enjoyed collaborating with fellow Zapponians and also liked the culture, but
the work didn’t speak to me. I tried many different things working on various
projects, then one day it clicked. Many random events led to me focusing all
my efforts to quantify “culture” at Zappos, _but how the heck does one measure
The question really piqued my interest. I started working with a small group
of people who asked themselves the same question. Going into it, I had no idea
how we would measure culture. Thankfully, I was working with some pretty smart
people and they knew where to look first. We started by asking Zapponians “why
do you like working at Zappos?” The overwhelming response was other
Zapponians, more specifically the _relationships _that they had within Zappos.
Furthermore, we dug a little deeper, did some research, and found that there
are actually three types of relationships that people have at work.
- The relationship you have with other people in your company.
- The relationship you have with your company and its higher purpose.
- The relationship you have with yourself and your passion.
That’s great, relationships and culture, so what? What do relationships have
to do with loving your job?
While trying to quantify culture, I really started enjoying my job. In fact, I
came to love my job. Amazingly, it wasn’t just the coding that I enjoyed, I
began to like doing things I normally dreaded. Things like reading lengthy
research papers, giving presentations, sifting through spreadsheets…I loved
all of it! Looking back, I realized the problem was that I spent way too much
time looking for a job based on “what” I would be doing. When I should have
been thinking about “who” I would be doing it with and “why” I would be doing
it. Uh duh, or ah ha!
The 4 Ps
To summarize what I learned, I have distilled “loving your job” into 4 P’s and
some related questions. I would be lying if I said this is the end-all-be-all
of finding a job you love, but it would have helped me get there sooner.
- People: does the company create a trust-building environment?
- Purpose: what is the company’s higher purpose?
- Passion: does the company’s purpose speak to you? Or, does the company help you understand yourself by creating a space for you to explore and get meaningful feedback?
- Power: does the company allow you to contribute to its higher purpose by doing what you love with people you trust?
What questions do you consider during interviews?
The Zappos Insider Program
We believe that you shouldn’t wait to create the first two relationships
(people and purpose). We believe that before you even start at Zappos, you should know the people that you will be working with and what we are all
about. We also want to get to know you and see where your passions align with
ours. This is why we have created the Zappos Insider program. We want to
help you answer questions like:
- Will I be working with like-minded people?
- Will I be working with people I can trust?
- What is the company’s higher purpose?
- Am I passionate about the higher purpose?
- Will I be able to contribute to the purpose?
So does Zappos have the “secret sauce” all figured out? Nope. We are still
experimenting and learning how to make Zappos a place people love to “work”.
Help us learn more quickly by sharing your experiences with jobs that you have
loved! Leave a comment below OR tweet us: @insidezappos!