I’ve got the coolest job – thanks, Rackspace.

I know – a lot of people are out of work, and a lot of people hate their work.

I have work, and love my work.  So if a “I love my job” post is going to irritate you, you should probably leave now 🙂

25 years ago I though I was a Neonatal Respiratory Therapist – and that I would be for life.

20 years ago I thought I was a Sales guy – and that I would be for life.

10 years ago I thought I was a Developer – and would be for life.

5 years ago I thought I was an independent consultant (and that I would be for life).

Then a vendor of mine hired me.  And I thought I was a “Development Manager”.  Not for life – but I figured for a few years – that lasted less than 6 months.  It just wasn’t me.  Not in a company that loved customers as much as I love customers.  I was better at loving customers than managing developers.  It was more natural to me, and a better value proposition for my employer.

I went to work as the Director of Software Development for Rackspace Cloud (then Mosso) in June of 2008.  I loved the people and the company, but the company and I made a mistake.  I was the right guy in the wrong place – and we both knew that.  It took some time for us to both admit it at the same time.  And then find what really worked for us both.

About a year ago, during SXSW, we announced that Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica had joined Rackspace.  We did this from a hotel room at the Hilton in Austin – on Gillmor Gang (then hosted on Leo Laporte’s channel, and now hosted on building43.com).

Who would have known back then that Robert and Rocky would end up working for me – and that we would build http://building43.com, where Gillmor Gang – the very show that announced them joining our company, would now be hosted and sponsored by us.  Not me.

I DID recommend to Rackspace that we hire Robert and Rocky.  But I never imagined they would work for me.

So it has been just about a year since I went almost overnight from being a “dev guy” to working more in corporate communications, PR, and Marketing.  I’ve sponsored over two dozen events, and we have shot and published 99 HD videos as of today.

It’s been an amazing amount of work.  And very rewarding.  And confusing, and educational.  And challenging.

So I get to run building43, meet some amazing people, enjoy being with Robert and Rocky  – and I still spend most of my time talking to customers.  Which is what I love most of all.

I get paid to talk to people.  Which I love to do.

I work more hours in a week than most people are awake in a week.  Because I truly love what I do – and what I am allowed to do.

And I love the company I work for because they are bright enough to see the value in someone that thinks differently – and is passionate enough that it sometimes gets him into trouble 🙂

Figure out what you love, then figure out how to get paid for it.

Life is really grand once you do!



  1. Paul Claessen says:

    Erik and Kami,

    You both start with saying that you disagree with me, which, of course is fine and makes for interesting discussions, but then you both go on to say basically the same thing I said.
    So … I’m puzzled.

    Before I go into the the similarities of our respective points, maybe a little background and context for my remark help clarify where it came from.

    I started my career as a programmer in 1974. I have always loved the few jobs I have had. I’m not one to ‘job-hop’ .. My ‘longest’ job lasted 23 years!

    I got laid off in 2009 and have been unemployed since then (well, okay, I guess you can now call me self-employed since I recently found some part-time contract work).

    I have FEVERISHLY been looking for a job since I got laid off. I’m not a picky guy and was willing to take on whatever I could find. I tried VERY hard: there was NOTHING!

    THIS is the context in which you should read: “Just find something that pays” .. the context being: “water is at your lips, you’re about the sink, foreclosure and bankruptcy are staring you in the eyes”.

    This is what I contrasted with Rob’s “find something you LOVE” … It sounds wonderful, but in economic times like these where even finding something you HATE doesn’t work out, that’s an advice that sounds a bit like “step 1: find a winning lottery ticket”. It just isn’t there. It doesn’t work that way.

    As for the second part, “Then learn to love it” … how can you say you don’t agree with that?

    In fact Erik says pretty much the same thing, and I quote “You have to find something that pays, and it helps if you can like it” That’s basically what I said! How is that different from my main point? Find something that pays first! And yes, loving it would be good. Erik says you don’t HAVE to love it, but how can he disagree with me that LEARNING to love it would be a positive thing? (Especially since he seems to indicate that currently he doesn’t particularly like his 10 hour a day job. Wouldn’t it be great if he found ways to actually like it?).

    Same for Kami’s reply who says: “Paul, I disagree, I think that one needs to engineer their own happiness. ”
    I don’t see how that is disagreeing with me!
    How is “engineering ones own happiness” different from “learning to love”?
    That’s EXACTLY what I meant (and said).

    In these times, where you don’t get to choose between job opportunities, you have indeed to take what you can get and then engineer your own happiness. I think Kami and Erik and I are in perfect agreement.

    What part did I miss?

  2. Paul, I disagree, I think that one needs to engineer their own happiness. Rob said that he wasn’t happy at first, and felt out of place. But now, it is better because he found a new path in the same company. It is a matter of attitude and fortitude together.

    And another thing, I find that sometimes when what you thought would work out doesn’t, it can leave space for something better. But again, the attitude matters.

  3. Paul,

    Actually, I totally disagree. well, okay, not totally, but with a significant twist.

    You have to find something that pays, and it helps if you can like it, but you don’t have to love it.

    I am amazed at how many people go through life, working for one person, then another, then another, then another, then …. with the mindset that they have to work for someone else and, as a result, can never work for themselves because of the commitment to their paying employer.

    As long you you work for someone else, you will always WORK for someone ELSE. period. You will never find an employer that says “I want my employees to work at their leisure and make a ton of money, maybe more than I make, and i want their personal value to increase every day”. that employer is in it for the employer.

    Now, rarely, you do get a rackspace that empowers their employees to be part of the big picture, and you get lucky and truly love your job, a lot (like Rob does).

    However, here is the real reality. Work your ass off. do your day job, and, when the time is available afterwards, work for yourself.

    Pretty easy to say, right?

    I work 10 hour days for my primary employer, when that is done, I come home and hang with the family until the kids go to bed, then i am in it for me, often times until 2 or 3 in the morning.

    Does it suck? Yup
    Do I miss my kids? More than I can explain (I love you Landon & Natalie)
    Do i miss the connection my wife and I used to have? More than anything
    Do I miss freetime to watch TV? Kinda

    these are all sacrifices. If you know you have it in you to build your own future. If you know you have a solid business idea. If you know you have a solid personal brand worth building out. then do it. stop looking at all the things that are “in the way” and just do it. it will suck for awhile, but eventually you will either have your own gig or you will have a brand (like Robert Scoble) that people are dying to leverage, and you can write your own ticket.

    Once you take the “this sucks” factor out of it, it really isn’t that tough.

    Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan) has a great “overnight success” video series on his blog, located here: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/what-it-takes-to-be-an-overnight-success/

    Thanks to Rob for writing this, excellent post!

    Erik Boles

  4. Paul Claessen says:

    Figure out what you love, then figure out how to get paid for it

    Sounds like wonderful advice. However, in the current economic situation, it’s not something simple to accomplish.

    It’s more like “find something that pays, then learn to love it”.