Core Principle #001: Show Me Who You Are

As a foreword, I will, from time to time, write about a core principle that I use in hiring at my firm. The gestalt of these principles form my studio’s identity. I am building more than just a company, I am building a culture that aims to change the course of the industry. At the moment, I’m a one-gal shop. The core principles I’ll be writing about are brain skimmings; things I’m codifying now so that my little Vive la Revolucion of the engineering industry can be deliberate rather than haphazard. And so, the core principles.

You are not a calculator made of meat. “Computers” are laptops, or workstations, not job descriptions. You are far more than what you do for a living.

Way, way too often, we talk about poor work-life balance. There’s a connotation behind this: that work is work, and there’s a distinct boundary between work and your life, and when we talk about the boundary between work and life becoming more and more blurred, we mean that work bleeds into and pollutes our outside lives.

This is backwards, and it’s a waste of our lives. Open a new browser window and run a Google Image Search for “team” and ponder what you see… This is the gold standard for Corporate America: achieving what’s embodied in this generic image of crisply suited, falsely enthusiastic individuals, uniformly eager and ready to take on the next contrived task. The 99%’ers may not have a clear notion of what they want to achieve with the Occupy movement, but I think it has a lot to do with this idea.

When you work for me, I want for your life to bleed into your work. Your life and what you’re all about should ring forward beyond your home and imbue your professional side with all your unique character. You’re a musician? Have those headphones on, and bring your musical side into my office. Into speech and debate? Bring the hard-hitting negotiating skills into the conference room and let’s see what we can do. Are you an artist? Help us visualize what the architect wants to see. Sketch on my walls; I don’t care.

Bring your joy into your work. When you do that, you’ll fit in with my team, and you’ll be more appealing to our (surprisingly, also human) clients. Show me who you are.

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