It’s Valentine’s Day, so why not post about love? I’ve titled this post: “I Love (?) My Job!” Yes, I know I should be writing about how much I love my wife (I do! I do!), but how many of us can say the title of this blog (and keep a straight face)?
The Indianapolis Star newspaper recently published an article about my friend, former coworker, and colleague who started a company making chocolate. He became a “chocolate entrepreneur” because his wife, who loves chocolate, was allergic to the ingredients used in typical chocolate bars.
My friend perfected the method of making liquid dark chocolate that is organic, kosher and gluten-free so his wife could enjoy chocolate again. (It’s called SoChatti, and you can purchase it on Amazon or at SoChatti.com)
His love for his wife and her love of chocolate led him to obtain 16 patents, find financing, hire employees and start his own company. (Full disclosure here: I am a minority shareholder. This chocolate is fantastic stuff!)
One could certainly that my friend “loves his job.” Can you say that about yourself? Do you love your job?
I certainly can; I LOVE my job! As an incubator director, I get to see fantastic new inventions and discoveries. I work with fascinating people who are dedicated entrepreneurs and wonderful managers. I get to help small startup companies discover markets, obtain financing, hire new employees and put new, life-saving products on the market.
Some of the companies in my incubator are developing technologies for new markets that only a few years ago were just an idea. I meet incredible mentors and advisors and talk to people who see the vision for creating a new economy from these startups. It’s a job that’s easy to love.
And there’s another side to it, as well, of course. Just as in most relationships, some aspects of my role as incubator director are NOT easy to love! People get frustrated and take it out on you. People can’t develop their product fast enough, and they blame you. People cannot obtain financing, or find the right talent, or build the correct partnerships — and they blame you.
It’s easy to throw rocks, and I’m often the one on the receiving end, not the throwing end. It’s easy to encounter roadblocks and look for someone to blame, rather than look for a way over or under or through the obstacles. On those days, in those moments, it’s not easy to love this job — but, I still do.
Just as in personal relationships, it isn’t sunny every day and I certainly have bad days, people with unrealistic expectations, and difficult situations. But I choose to love it, overall. Why?
I still see the future in what I’m doing and what my clients are doing. I still see the opportunity and see the glass as half full rather than half empty. I understand and have empathy for the challenge entrepreneurs face, and I am patient with them when they become discouraged and discontent.
Again, why? Because I love my job. It’s really that simple. I CHOOSE to love it, even on the days when it’s “unlovable.” I enjoy the challenge, I embrace the difficulties, and I push through the obstacles. I am grateful for this opportunity, so I choose to love it — to relish this opportunity — to smile and continue to assist wherever and whenever I can.
Love your job! After all, you’re spending a lot of time with it and exerting a lot of effort — why not enjoy it? No, it’s never going to be perfect or all “lollipops and rainbows” (old person phrase and part of song lyrics sung by a young person back in 1965). It will get tough.
However, people respond better when you smile, when you encourage, when you lift their spirits. It’s difficult to do when you “don’t like your work” — so take on the day and continue to build the future, get those new technologies to market, add to your local and state economy, and be the best incubator manager you can be.
After all, love conquers all, right? So go out there and conquer your entrepreneurial world! Your clients will love you for it.