Sunday night I picked up one of my board members from the airport and on the way to his hotel he asked me, “Pat, what do you love about your job?” Believe it or not, the question actually stumped me. I thought about it for a second, hemmed and hawed a bit, and then pulled up to the hotel and dropped him off. It hit me on the way back to my place how hard of a question that is to answer in less than a minute. I realized then that it’s almost impossible for me to put an answer into just a few words… so naturally, I felt it would be a great topic to blog about.
The easy answer to that question is that I love everything about my job. But that would be a boring blog post, so let me elaborate:
I love being a leader. I love being a positive influence on others. I love creating an environment for people to succeed. I love making a difference. I love helping and improving people. I love having the opportunity to create a great place for people to work. I love working with people smarter than me. I love challenging people. I love working with people that work as hard as me (or at least as smart). I love having the opportunity to build a team that strives to do great things—and does. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get every single day. I love shifting gears all day every day, sometimes a dozen times per hour.
I love technology even though I’m not a technologist. I love being on the cutting edge of a fast paced industry. I love working for a company that truly desires to do great things for its customers—and does. I love competing with million and billion dollar companies on a global scale, all from little old Blacksburg, Virginia (there are more cows en route to our office than there are office buildings).
To be even more specific, I love guiding the strategic vision of our company. I love working with Kevin on the planning of our product strategy… and guys like Mike on the execution. I love working with Manny to design our products, marketing collateral and corporate web site. I love challenging Bill to think through every potential infrastructure design he and his team can come up with. I love working with Adam in our attempt to build a truly great sales force. I love working with the sales team to help them realize their true potential. I love working with Trevor and proving to him that a street smart entrepreneur with a pretty modest background can accomplish the same things if not more than his MBA classmates. I love working with our development staff and challenging them to build great things. I love working with experts in their field like Nell-Marie, our technical writer and my new English teacher—and the reason for all of these em dashes. ;-)
I love working with Kirk, Ben and Brian as we strive to build a world class customer support organization. I love marketing and I love sales even more. I love writing press releases and pitching editors and analysts (or working with public relations folks who can do both of those better than myself—right now they don’t exist in our organization). I love recruiting and I love interviewing people. I loved working with Howard to pitch investors and raise money for our business. I love having shareholders that count on me and a board of directors that can help me to become a better CEO (since both of those groups are new, I’ll be blogging about each very soon). I love looking out my office window after 5:00 p.m. and only seeing cars in the parking lot that belong to Webmailers (we work in a big office building and with the exception of us and a few others this place turns into a ghost town after hours).
I love sitting back with Bill, Kevin, Brian, Ben, Huey and Vinny—the original gang—and thinking about how funny it is that none of these “new people” will ever have a clue what it was like to work out of a basement with a heater that breaks in the winter, an air conditioner that breaks in the summer, two dogs that bark whenever you’re on an important phone call, never enough parking spaces, and neighbors that bitch if you take their spot.
I even love the things I hate—like accounting, finance and legal stuff. I love working with Andrea and Velvet to make sure we’re on the right financial path (especially when we are).
I love all the stuff that comes with running a company—especially the challenges that come with growth—like sharing an office with a sophomore in college (yes Jing, I love you too). As I write this I’m realizing that if that’s a challenge, we must have it made!
I love meeting with other entrepreneurs so I can learn how to best build our business. I love being contacted by other entrepreneurs who want my insight as to how to best build their business. I love challenging my community to think bigger and better—hopefully one day I’ll be successful enough to make them listen.
As you might be able to tell by now, I love being busy—all the time.
I think more than anything, I love being an entrepreneur and a leader. I love being the go-to guy yet the guy who is never afraid to go to someone else. I love working with people—both coworkers and customers. There are all types of entrepreneurs and leaders in this world—many with vastly different goals and objectives. More than anything, I want to build a truly great company with really awesome people. So far, so good.
I’m a big advocate of figuring out what it is you love to do. Life is too short to be spending most of your time doing anything different. If you need help with that, let me know. I’m always willing to listen and who knows, maybe I can even help.
Did I mention that I love Mondays? I don’t know too many people that can say that and mean it as much as I do (and believe me, I love my weekends too).