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because i enjoy electric lights & running water

I think there is a certain thread of entrepreneurial "inspo" that likes to ask everybody to essentially perform their awesome origin story while it is still very much a work-in-progress.

The hell with that.

There are parts of all of my (several) jobs that I enjoy and find deeply meaningful. I love walking students through progressively less-guided explorations of their reading materials. I love working with someone to get a turn of phrase exactly right. I love "hacking" an online audience so that a small business owner with a rad idea can find the people who will appreciate what she has to offer.

But let's be real: I absolutely, 100%, would not enter attendance reports anywhere, EVER, if I were not getting paid for it.

I would never again write up a single research analysis for a client I knew was going to chunk it in her "opened emails" folder, ignore everything it said that she didn't like, and ask me four months later why the plan she followed about 28% of didn't work ... except that I really like having lights that come on at the flick of a switch, and I even entertain wild ambitions of someday being able to sort my running shoes without reference to their patches of duct tape.

These seem like reasonable goals, if you ask me.

In fact, they are SUCH reasonable goals that I think they would make a good damn "why" even if there were not other compelling reasons to do much of what I do. And I furthermore think that YOUR reasons for doing mundane, unglamorous, somebody's-gotta-do-it tasks are good enough even if they really amount to "I'd like to buy my kids the GOOD mac'n'cheese" or "I don't want to ration second helpings of tuna salad this month."

Those are sane, worthwhile, and valid reasons –– and they are just as sane, worthwhile, and valid for entrepreneurship, for self-employment, for small brands and businesses you actually own and operate yourself, as they are for "working for the man."

It is, of course, also perfectly okay if you really do have a fabulous dream you are following, or if –– like me, although more with my beloved digital linguistics research than with anything people have recently paid me for –– you just can't help telling anybody who doesn't escape fast enough all about your pet project.

But you don't NEED to showcase an "inspirational" narrative to have a product or service that offers value, and you don't need to feel "inspired" every time you start your workday to have a good reason for cranking up the coffeemaker anyway.

So here's to us.

And coffee.

And Meryl Streep, obviously.


Got a why? Got a why-not? 👇 Crank up those comments, and let's see 'em!

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