After graduating from college, my first job was as an engineer in the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab. The mission of this group was to build and integrate web services that would improve the driving experience for our customers. I joined Volkswagen because I was excited about this mission, and I worked hard with like-minded people to help usher in the age of internet-connected vehicles.
I loved every day of work at Volkswagen because of the mission that I was on with my team. But 2 years later, I decided to leave to start my own company. On my last day of work, a feeling of sadness overwhelmed me as I was packing my desk. I probably even cried a little. But it wasn’t just because I would not be there to see the mission I signed up for through to completion. It was more because my colleagues had become my friends and I had to say goodbye to all the wonderful people I had created so many memories with.
Looking back, I realized a very interesting thing happened: I joined a company to be a part of its mission. But over time, the people I worked with became a bigger and bigger part of what kept me there. By the end of it, I came to the realization that while I still very much loved the mission we were on, the people that I interacted with every day were even bigger factors of why I loved coming into work.
If the environment is just right, the lines between work and life can sometimes blur over time. We join companies and initially get put in teams with complete strangers. We solve problems and celebrate our wins together. We chit-chat in the hall, have a drink together, laugh, fight, and become friends. We sometimes even fall in and out of love with each other.
Though we may still call it “work”, the people we see every day gradually seeps into our lives. Of course, a lot of life happens outside of work as well, but the boundaries of work and life are not as clear as the hours on our time sheets.
I’m excited to come into work every day. It’s because of the mission I’m on, but it’s more because I love the people I get to be around.
Much of life happens at work. Much of life happens outside of work.
It happens everywhere.