Managing Partner at Blue Book Ventures. Inspirational Business Leader, Workplace Pundit, Best-Selling Author & Venture Capitalist
A Little About Me
Richard A. Moran is a San Francisco based business leader, workplace pundit, bestselling author, and venture capitalist. He is best known for his series of humorous business books beginning with bestselling, Never Confuse a Memo with Reality and is credited with starting the genre of "Business Bullet Books."
When it comes to our careers, each of us has a set of lights flashing that are worthy of our attention.… https://t.co/E6CimsNNCm
There is food porn where you spy on the gastronomical delights of others. There is real estate porn where you dream about having a bigger/cooler/newer/ anything but the one I have house. There is travel porn where you watch other people enjoy vacations where there are no crowds or hassles. And, of course, there is still regular old porn, which needs no explanation. (I am on the record that when it comes to the combination of work and pornography, pornography is not your friend.) Now there is hustle porn.
Near as I can tell, hustle porn is watching others work every hour of every day on Instagram or hearing a message from the workaholics on LinkedIn that unless you are obsessed with a huge goal you are a loser. Or, if you want to be rich and famous, pay attention to work habits that will turn you into an ambition driven crazy person. Like other types of porn, hustle porn can make you feel guilty for what you are not doing or achieving.
Hustle porn is a byproduct of the tech world where people grind through insanely long working hours in the hopes of becoming the next young billionaire while making the world a better place at the same time. Is it a toxic concept or a lifestyle that suits your aspirations? It depends.
One thing you can be sure of is that watching others work hard doesn’t mean you will be successful. In fact, watching others work hard might make you less successful because you are wasting your time watching them. Copying the habits of Elon Musk or Steve Jobs will guarantee only that you are tired all the time. Working the most hours is probably not the contest you want to win either.
At least a positive and subliminal message one can derive from hustle porn is that it’s ok if life is a mess. It’s ok if things aren’t working and you should expect struggles as part of your journey. Learn from them and move on.
Hustle porn aside, what matters now and always has is results. If hours lead to results, the hours are worth it. What matters now and always has is purpose. If hours help you and the organization meet the mission, the hours are worth it. If the hustle is the part of your work from which you derive satisfaction, do it.
Hustle porn is a new social media label for motivation and one must decide to accept or reject the idea working crazy hours and struggling toward a lofty goal. If hustle porn helps you to define your own idea of success and work hard to achieve your goals, maybe it’s a good thing.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone left you real operating instructions when you start a new job? In that spirit, here is a note that can be left on the chair of 99% of the people starting a new job or assignment.
Hello new person and welcome to my former chair and workspace. Leaders often leave notes for their successor so why not us? We are leaders of this domain! I always liked working in this spot and doing the best I could. I hope you do too. Since you are new and we probably won’t meet, I thought I would leave you some advice and suggestions to be successful from this very spot. In no particular order…
Noise cancelling headphones are your best friend. It doesn’t get that loud here but the headphones will drown out all the annoying habits of your neighbors like the guy who trims his fingernails or the woman who smacks her lips on the red licorice.
Treat your time in this spot like someone is paying for you to be here. Someone is. Try to make the place a little better every day. As the new person, you will notice things that everyone else is now used to. Play the “new person” card.
Responsiveness is a skill that is highly valued here (and in most places). Respond to any email or text even if all you say is “Got it, stay tuned.” Be thoughtful in subsequent responses.
Don’t be late for meetings. Don’t call meetings unless you have something to talk about. Have an agenda for your meetings. Not every meeting needs a Power Point presentation or spreadsheets. Sometimes you can just talk.
People only sort of care what you used to do or where you went to school. Everyone is more interested in what you are going to do now and in the future. Don’t be the person who makes it routine to talk about, “When I was at ________.” No one is that interested.
Use lunch to get to know your coworkers and be aggressive about it. If no one asks you to lunch, ask others. Eating reheated leftover fish burritos in your workspace will not help with your integration.
Implementation is a skill that gets noticed here. Try to be known as the “new person” who gets things done.
The chair you are inheriting is impossible to adjust. If it doesn’t fit I suggest you call someone from engineering or swap chairs with someone to get the chair more your size.
Make friends. Nice people are all around you although it may not seem like it on your first day when you can’t find the lavatory and your temporary ID doesn’t work. The relationships you build at work can last a lifetime and build the network that will always support you.
Volunteer for projects. You will gain more experience and get you out of this chair that refuses to be adjusted.
OK, that’s enough advice for your first day. You might want to keep this list handy. Don’t be compared to what I did in the job, do your own thing. Good luck, I know you will do great things.
Some jobs are so enjoyable that you might consider showing up even if you weren’t on the payroll. It’s a rare occurrence but such jobs should be enjoyed because one like it may never happen again.
Example One: An early job for me in my career mosaic was as a lifeguard on the ocean. I was perched on the beach all day in an elevated stand enjoying the sun and water and all things beach related. There were rescues and emergencies but those situations only enhanced the job because in those cases I was helping others. I was surrounded by lifeguard partners, friends and special people that made the experience even more exceptional. And I was paid.
Any one who works as a taster in a candy factory, in animal rescue facilities or in the ski patrol might identify with the “getting paid for this?” question.
Example Two, and the other dimension to the “getting paid for this…” question is from the dark side. Amanda was a longtime employee of a government agency. Her job was to verify signatures and file documents for future reference. After twenty-five years on the job no one had ever asked for her to pull or verify a document. Not one.
Amanda’s job is an example of a situation where you are getting paid although you know you are really not doing anything. You are not adding value, you are bored, you are not being productive, or helping the organization in any way you can discern. In short, you can’t believe no one knows that you are hanging out being sort of busy, drawing a paycheck and being a drag on the success of the organization. And you are getting paid for it.
People who work in civil service, in the bowels of large corporations or unsuccessful organizations might identify with this conundrum.
If you have an Example One job you are lucky. If you have an Example Two job you should either look for another job or hope you are never discovered. Most jobs fall between the two examples given but the point is, someone is paying you to do something. The more closely aligned to the core of the business, the more likely it is that you will feel like your efforts make a difference and that you will be well compensated. Ask yourself, who is paying you and for what activity.
What you do should be related to what the organization says they do. If you work for FEDEX, one would hope you are doing something that help with deliveries. If you work for Chipotle you should be doing something that relates to food. If you work in a professional service business you should be doing something that serves clients in a way that makes them want to pay for it.
It’s not a mystery. A truly special organization will try to create roles that will make people say, “I can’t believe I am getting paid for this”. On the way to “special” the least one should expect is a line of sight to feeling great about making a contribution because you are being paid to do just that.