Monday, June 25, 2012

Cruise control can kill you

Twenty years ago I could have died.  I had driven to Lollapalooza in Memphis Tennessee, seven hours away in expectation of having an amazing time.  An amazing time was had.  I caroused with friends.  I heard great music.  And then it was time to head home.  I got on the interstate, set the car to cruise control, and five hours in I fell asleep.

A year ago I feel asleep at work.  I stopped being passionate about my job.  I gradually stopped exercising as well.  I was in a funk.  I gained twenty pounds.  At the time I wasn't aware of the change but in retrospect I can see the trigger clearly.  I was bored.  But it hadn't started out that way.  When we started that company I was on fire, completely and fully engaged.  Everyday was an adventure.  From building the team to developing new technology, to working toward aggressive but achievable goals.  Everything I did was exciting.  Fast forward five years.  We had gone through two purchases and arguably the second, while strategically exciting, created tactical issues that seemed small at first.  Because our team was awesome I assumed these issues would be addressed.  I said my part and waited.  And waited.  And then fell asleep. 

If you've ever fallen asleep at the wheel, waking up is a terrifying experience.  You're disoriented.  You don't know how you got there.  You don't know how long it's been since you fell asleep.  When I was driving back from Memphis that wake up call came when I nudged into the wheel of a semi-trailer in the lane next to me.  The banshee howling of metal-on-metal jolted me awake.  I could have died.  I could have killed someone.  Instead I pulled the car over, got out, shook the weariness off, and drove home ashamed I'd waited so long to take a break... to make a change.

Going into cruise control with your career won't get you killed but it can kill your career.  At the very least it can kill your interest in your job, and the interest those around you have in theirs as well.  I could have been doing more at work to make a change.  I should have been doing something.  Doing anything.  Doing nothing I was guaranteed to fall asleep.  As it was, after some soul searching, I realized what I needed to do was change jobs entirely before I started poisoning the attitudes of those I worked with.

I'm not sure how your brain is wired but for me I'm either driving 90 miles an hour, hyper engaged, or I'm asleep at the wheel, dreaming about what else I could be doing.  People die that way and in a way apathy is a kind of death.  Don't let it kill your job or your love of work.  If what you're doing isn't working, make a change.  If you have to, pull off to the side, or change roads.  

So this week marks an important milestone.  I've started a new job, and a new fitness regimen.  I had become sedentary and both are an effort to cut out the apathy.  I'm on an exciting new road and I couldn't me more awake.


  1. Bravo my friend. Great post, can't wait for more.

  2. Thanks folks. I'll try not to disappoint.