I would make a crap CEO. 🤷♂️
I’m not even kidding.
I look at people I’ve worked for in the
many jobs I’ve had and I just can’t see myself being that kinda person.
I’ve no doubt I could build something. Eventually. I mean shit, give a monkey a typewriter and an infinite amount of time and it’ll eventually type out the entire works of Shakespeare. 🙈
But deal with the shit that comes along with it?
Becoming profitable. Building a team. Constantly thinking about how you can support your customers just to safeguard your employee’s future? Fuck that!
Sure I can be a team lead. Though even that’s something I’ve only recently started to focus on. It’s never been a “career goal” to become a lead in, well, anything!
I know and respect my limits. And I’m content with how things are going right now. I’ll focus on the hiring, and let someone else deal with the firing (Sorry Jake! 😬)
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed while wading through 1137 applications for the Customer Education role (that we still haven’t hired for) it’s that I’m in the minority.
It seems like loads of people have a side hustle. A project they’re building or something they’re studying.
I guess I can relate a little. Since in jobs where I was unhappy my head would be turned and I’d try to go it alone. But the point is, I was unhappy.
In fact the first thing I did when I joined the HelpDocs team was shelve a project I’d been working on. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to dedicate myself to a full-time job.
I guess for many, it’s an ambition thing.
Most people at least wanna be seen as ambitious. Even if the reality is they’re not.
I get it.
In days gone by it was considered a desirable trait. The correct response to
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Leading a successful team that smashed company goals.
It showed a solid work ethic after all.
A candidate who wants to grow would be driven. They’d want to earn more money for the company in the hope and belief it’ll one day result in their reward. Hustling hard for that elusive promotion to middle-management that never comes.
It feels like people talk like they wanna grow exponentially until they have the opportunity to smash through the glass ceiling.
They tell us how they’ll smash all our metrics. Demolish our KPIs and crush our OKRs. They’re a machine that’ll do whatever it takes to get to the next level.
Thing is if there’s no “next level”, they find another way to grow. Taking it upon themselves to work on side-hustles.
Projects and gigs that keep them up until the early hours of the night.
Building. Shipping. Studying. Creating on their terms.
Putting hour after hour into hustle after hustle just to fulfil their internal craving to grow in some way.
Because life without growth is death. 💀
The trouble is, it’s not.
Life without growth is simply a content life.
Time is Precious
These past few weeks of intense hiring have shown me just how difficult it can be to manage the workload of the customer education role.
It’s not a tough job.
Not by any stretch of the imagination.
But everything takes time.
And while there are no KPIs or OKRs to smash, there are deliverables.
Weekly Blog posts. Newsletters. Live sessions. Workshops. Interviewing customers for both research and our Customer Stories. Creating assets for education projects. And exploring new ways to build out our customer’s experiences. All while tackling incoming queries and talking with teammates to foster remote team relationships.
—And yes, I do consider chatting in Slack to be part of the job. And a pretty fucking crucial one at that!
It’s not difficult work, it’s just time consuming.
It’s a full-time gig.
Full-time meaning 40+ hours of actual work, not 40 hours staring at a screen, half of which are spent on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
It can get frustrating when candidates are studying, or working on side-projects and just wanna top up their income.
This role doesn’t support that kinda life.
I’ve no doubt there are people who can balance that much on their workload. I just don’t think I'd be able to handle them on my team.
Because while they might have the ability to do the work, I would constantly worry that they're going to burnout.
'Cause let's face it, if you do a solid work week and a side hustle you’ll die.
The Best Growth Goes Unnoticed
Thing is Growth focused people will struggle at HelpDocs. ‘Cause we’re very much not a growth focused company.
There is no growth trajectory.
We have no goals.
Hell I don’t even check our blog stats on the regular. The only time I do is when I’m curious to know how many people actually read the
drivel posts I put out there.
Because it doesn’t fucking matter.
If 1 person reads a blog post, great. If 10 do, great. If 1000 do, great. Does it make a difference? Not really.
That lack of attention toward growth and metrics doesn’t mean we’re not growing. In fact we’ve doubled our 2018 MRR already and are continuing to grow. And the only reason I know that is cause I checked just now for the purposes of this post.
It’s an unusual environment for the hustlers and Wantrepreneurs with their growth goals and targets. There are no targets to crush. No promotions to hustle for. No ceiling to smash through.
Rewards, pay rises, even basic praise is based on consistently putting 💯 into the work. But nobody gives a shit if that effort increases the company’s bottom line.
When I started in the Customer Education role, I didn’t have my sights set on leadership.
My goal was to help Jake and Jarratt regain control of their time. It had become disproportionately focused on tackling tickets and writing articles instead of building awesome software.
So that’s what I did.
I started out tackling tickets and writing articles. And as the weeks progressed I learned as much as I could about the product and learned about the customers. I wrote the posts and newsletters. Ran the live sessions and workshops.
None of it with a focus on growing the team or the bottom line. All of it focused on doing the best job for our team and customers.
Growth—both of the team and our revenue—is a natural side effect of working hard to do good things. Be it building a good product, doing right by our customers, or writing interesting posts.
Growth is a bonus not the goal.