Substack—the new email newsletter platform—is on fire. You have one, I have one, and he, she, and they all have one too. Yet, not all newsletters are created equally. Some are true acts of labor, where others are more for show.
Rishad Tobaccowala’s Sunday edition is the former. Each Sunday, Tobaccowala’s refined thinking comes to my electronic mailbox, and unlike 99 out of 100 newsletters that come my way, when I see this one pop up, I know I need to read it.
Learning new skills is not easy. It takes time and like starting an exercise routine, it demands commitment and effort.
Naturally, I see myself and some of my peers in this and therefore ask myself, “What new skills have I learned of late?”
This year, I am learning how to speak a tiny bit of Spanish (I have so much more to learn). Also, how to host websites with WP Engine, use Asana for project management, make better client reports inside of SEM Rus, get comfortable in front of the Zoom lens, launch a Patreon campaign, start a new podcast, and hire and manage an intern.
Remote Means “Out There”
“Remote workers” is not a great phrase. Same with “distributed workforce.” We, the information workers of the world, need more accurate descriptions that honor our labor. We also need new spaces for the work we do and updated codes of conduct to guide us.
Let’s listen to Tobaccowala on this:
The future does not fit the containers of the past and the old office tower with open seating or cubicle farms where we did email and edit documents with headphones on to block out distractions is going away like the dodo bird.
Covid has forced every company not only to invest in remote work at scale and see its impact over a one-year period but has broken the inertia and habit that kept us moving our meat-encased brains in carbon-burning, time-wasting, stress-inducing rituals of going back and forth to work like some hamsters on a wheel.
Office Space is a funny film for good reason. Much of office life is, in fact, absurd. However, not all of it. And now, in place of the commute, we have more work hours. That’s not a positive adjustment.
Many people use their commute to prepare for the day and to unwind from a long day at the office. Remove the time and the time to transition, and it’s all work, all the time. Therefore, a new code of conduct for remote teams must include well-defined up-time and down-time. For example, no email or Slacks sent (or read) before or after hours.
Why Do We Work? For Money, Fame, and Power?
Why do we work? Here’s a better question…How do we truly succeed in our careers?
Naturally, Tobaccowala has some good ideas.
When I conducted research for my book a question that I asked is why do people work and who are the most fulfilled people at work? Initially people work for three important motivations: Money, Fame (Recognition), and Power (Autonomy).
The people who succeed in the long run also seek and find three other motivations which are Purpose (alignment with the goals of the company, finding meaning at work), Growth (learning, becoming better, new skills) and Connections ( Connection to people they work with and the communities they work with).
My advice would be to focus on these three latter goals because they are most Human and everlasting.
Purpose, Growth, and Connections. PG&C. It’s a simple, powerful way to see your work.
Why do you or I get up in the morning and go to the machine? For money? Sure. But why else?
When you’re building something—an ad campaign, a company, or a movement—you’re deeply connected to the core purpose. For instance, if you’re building a business, your core purpose might be to provide a place for people to work, including a new generation of people who bring new ideas forward. When this case, your purpose becomes making stronger connections that help you and them grow.