Thursday, October 22, 2009

About Passion, II

People who love what they do—for work or pleasure—are a joy to be around. Sure, if you're a landlubber with no interest in boats and you have to spend hours on end with someone who constantly talks about boating, eventually you'd want to run screaming from the room. But the hit you get from a conversation with someone who's totally jazzed is pretty darned wonderful.

One of the things I love about my job is how passionate the people I work with are, from the people at the highest levels of the company to the production editors I argue about commas with, the designers who fuss if something is one point (that's 1/72nd of an inch) out of alignment on a layout, and the sys admins who take care of problems of all sizes and all urgencies, every day.

The people I work with care. They care about punctuation and customer service and sales figures and marketing copy and book bindings and the food we serve at conferences and the new products we develop. I'd wager that there's nothing we do that someone in the company isn't passionate about, one way or another—someone who sees it as their mission to ensure that we do that piece of our business properly and well. (In fact, some of us are rather relentless about it, although I'd like to think that I've mellowed a bit over the years.)

Without that level of engagement, working at O'Reilly would be like working the assembly line at a cannery, all of us passively waiting for the conveyor belt to bring us the next item and the next and the one after that, rarely looking up to see what's coming toward us and never trying to get further upstream, where the decisions are made.

Instead, even after 30 years, the company still feels like a startup in many ways. From my perspective, it's all about passion. And that's what keeps me here.

1 comment:

Kathleen Dames said...

I loved the passion of O'Reilly folk when I worked there.