30 Benefits of “Working”

Random Observation/Comment #762: Instead of retiring, I’ll just work 1 week per month (maybe just 2 days a week with a reverse weekend) and have my passive income be greater than my spend. Personal financial freedom should be this easy.

Why this List?

When you attend enough crypto conferences, you find a lot of smart, passionate developers that have effectively won the crypto lottery. Who knew that reading reddit in 2012 and making dogecoin memes would lead to 1000x returns?

The problem with the lottery (and even getting to a level of financial retirement security in your average 50s) is the mental skew when you don’t work for money. “I can be paid double or paid half and I couldn’t care less.”

  • Careers are less linear and clear.
  • Retirement seems overrated.
  • Fame is an option, but no one wants to be a target.
  • Scrolling Twitter is toxic.
  • Consumerism gets boring.
  • Trading is a trap.
  • Investing is more about de-risking.

So what do you do?

  • You take on less.
  • You read a lot more.
  • You focus on family.
  • You foster relationships.
  • You take a few vacations.
  • You contribute to projects.
  • You build for yourself as a customer.
  • You write.
  • You mentor.
  • You debate less.
  • You care about building your legacy.
  • You optimize.
  • And maybe, you do it all with a company that you treat as a community (and get paid for it).

Greatness is in the agency of others.

  1. Customers – Even though customers never know what they want and they’re super annoying/demanding, the design and interview of users is completely under appreciated. If you want to know the market insight, you need to talk to the customers.
  2. Peer Interactions – It’s not just by age, but by mentality. Smart companies hire smart people. We tend to hire those with the entrepreneurial spirit who often have a great meeting of the minds.
  3. Unified vision – When you align with a vision shared by 100s/1000s of people, you build purpose beyond the paycheck. Maybe it’s world adoption of Web3? Maybe it’s better financial freedom?
  4. Passion is infectious – I get my most energy in brainstorming meetings, and any in-person whiteboard experience will yield incredible results.
  5. Structure brings efficiency – If I didn’t have goals, prioritization and urgency, then nothing would get done. I feel like the extra push to not let a teammate down creates days where weeks of progress pushes forward.
  6. Flow state – I get into the flow state when writing these lists of 30, but that’s because it’s a concrete conclusion. I hit publish and I feel I’ve completed something productive. At work, I feel a similar satisfaction after every webinar or product launch.
  7. Conferences – Especially attending and representing the product or hunting for connections. I love the conference scene (even though they’re all covid superspreading events). I would feel very awkward if I attended without providing a company name or just using it as a personal purpose.
  8. Friendships – A large reason for attending a conference is to meet up with the friendships I’ve made over the years in this space. It’s good seeing people IRL.
  9. Mentors – A company structure gives me access to very experienced and seasoned people in the ecosystem. I often ask them to be my mentor so I can catch up quarterly to get a better idea of where I might be seeing things differently and strategically.
  10. Mentoring – One can learn a lot about oneself when teaching others. I have a few mentees I catch up with quarterly as well. Who knows? Those you train at an early age could surpass you and build great things.
  11. Culture – It’s not just the off-sites, random slack channels, and emojis. I just like the ethos and reliability. There’s an honesty and sense of belongingness with a polite and professional demeanor.
  12. Ecosystem Contributions – If you want to go far, go together. It’s not a product if you’re just building in a vacuum. The scale and ability to deliver in tandem is very rewarding.
  13. Breadth of Knowledge – I wouldn’t use my work colleagues to replace a Google search, but I guarantee someone will know the answer to my question with personal experience.
  14. Depth of knowledge – Not only will they know about the obscurities, but they’ll be experts and spend time discussing the topics and their philosophical overlaps.
  15. Brainstorming sessions – It shouldn’t be surprising that I am really happy to do live solutioning and take notes during meetings.
  16. Company Brand – The brand opens doors and establishes credibility. If you want to get meetings, then you really need that brand for the foot in the door.
  17. Amplification – Most companies with live products have direct access to 1000s of followers to amplify messages and personal reputation in the ecosystem.
  18. User data – Data is super valuable for making decisions and prioritization for a product and insight into the markets.
  19. Completion of a complex project / sticking with a project – I love it when a product comes together. The main joy of building an impactful product is having it scale and usable. I can make POCs all day, but the teamwork coordination is incredibly fun.
  20. Receiving feedback – Feedback is a gift and leads to continuous improvement.
  21. Less of a focus on sales – Entrepreneurs are always selling. The angle covers hiring teammates, growing users/sign-ups, building partnerships, and raising money from investors. All of these are basically sales and narrative creation.
  22. Salary and benefits – Pay wouldn’t be a big driver, but insurance and consistency is important. Hustlers need to find the next client while salaries remove that stress for jumping between opportunities.
  23. Challenging problems – If you’re the only one building something, you might yet caught in some of the engineering weeds without seeing the vision. You may need a team to help with conqueroring those hard tasks. I find the engineering problems to be educational and also super annoying.
  24. Code review – It’s always good to have at least 2 devs working together to make sure the code is clean and approach makes sense.
  25. Lead or follow – It’s always possible to lead from the ground and follow a broader vision rather than always thinking 3 steps ahead from above
  26. Perspective – Sales thinks in quarters, product thinks in years, and CSuite thinks in decades. It’s hard to analyze your own projects and skills with the same zooming of detail.
  27. Team Building – A good team has a fun operations manager that makes your whole team coordination and morale boosting better. I whole-heartedly appreciate event planning.
  28. Focus on Delivery – Rather than sales and bureaucracy, I feel that as an individual contributor, I can really think about the problems and work on attaining the vision with each project.
  29. “Safe Space” – I like sharing photos on Instagram, but that’s about it. I tend to spend most of my time resharing material and news to smaller groups like slack and telegram channels. There’s a bit of dopamine boost joy when I get some emoji reactions and threads forming from sharing good content.
  30. Collaboration – Greatness is in the agency of others and it’s just nice to feel something. It’s a feeling of being needed.

~See Lemons Love “Working”