To the extent that I have ever been successful at any job, it has been because I have A) been tasked with a green-field, start-from-scratch implementation of something I have little or no experience with, B) I was given wide latitude on how to go about the task, what hours I work, and what technologies I use, and C) the company was very young, and had few rules restricting me from getting things done. Invariably, there wouldn’t be enough employees to do everything, so I would go far outside my job description, picking up the slack. In the several fewer-than-ten-employees companies I’ve worked for, I have always been the default computer system administrator, because nobody else wanted to do it.
I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but what I have just described is the exact characteristics of a startup founder.
In the past, I have foolishly allowed other people to reap the rewards of my work. In the several companies where I’ve been a key employee, I added far more value than I took home in salary. Now it’s my turn. My hard work is going to enrich me for a change.
Actually, it’s not so much about the money. It’s more about the freedom. I am capable of doing an incredible amount of work in a short period of time, but if and only if the people in charge get out of my way and let me do it. This time around, even if I wanted to be oppressed, I would be out of luck. My two cofounders are far too busy working on their parts of the project to micromanage me. They don’t know or care how I’m going about building my part, they are only interested in the results.
I like getting things done. It makes me feel competent and useful.
This is causing me to experience an inner contentment I haven’t felt in years.
It doesn’t matter so much whether this particular startup is successful or not. But it is vitally important to me that I am in control of my own destiny.
I really hope I’m not forced back into a “regular” job again. It would feel like a straitjacket, after this.