Why You Should Write Your Own Job Description


This is an excerpt I wrote for a new founding team for a company dedicated to Lifestyle Design and creating a muse, not a business to run.

“Every startup should have a culture of learning”. Eric Reis has written a lot, but few things are as simple or as relevant as that statement. How may many of us have ever had a job where one of the only two requirements for getting it and keeping it, was learning? Neither have I. Our rule is simple: everyone in this company is 100% responsible for how they spend their time. Of course we use job descriptions and face time for recruiting and defining key roles & responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean we should take them literally or think of it as a job. I realized that, although I believe in the policy of trusting everyone to know what they are supposed to do, I don’t always take the necessary actions to build that trust into the culture of the company.

Simply put, every person in this company has this job description: In any situation it is your responsibility, using your best judgement, to do what you think is in the best interests of the company, its culture, and the customer. That’s it. Everything else is only marketing. Think Office Space meets the set of SouthPark Studios (where they produce one episode every six days, faster than any other show) meets a traveling caravan of mystic gypsies.

This is why our team prefers potential earnings (e.g. stock, performance bonuses, no-ceiling monthly earnings) over guaranteed earnings (e.g. salary, benefits). We’ve all had a job before that seemed safe and secure, but we’re not here to create a job that feels safe…we are here to create a lifestyle for our own personal journeys. We are here to liberate.

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.” -Seneca

Every new person inducted into this company is Employee # 1. We surround you with access to the best ideas, talent, people, opportunity and an incredible network. We are not just hiring any old designer or expert business mind, we’re hiring employee # 1…every time. Each person helps set the culture of the company using their craftsmanship. This person has to mesh with our personality and values 100%, because there is a high chance that we are going to be putting in long hours together or not speaking at all for months on end — and if we don’t get your jokes, it’s not going to work out. That’s why your job description was the best joke we’ve played on you so far.

*The best advice I could give you is to be authentic, be funny, reflect your personality, reflect the uniqueness of you and incorporate that into the company. See the jobs page or our culture page for a bunch of examples — everything from detailing our culture (“Being transparent about our strengths and weaknesses wins us sales”) to attitude on writing our guides (“You think publishing an eGuide is fun, like a worldwide adventure) to treating customers (“Whether or not you sleep at night is directly proportional to whether you’ve made someone thrilled or pissed off that day”).

‘For the past 20 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something … almost everything— all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.’ – Steve Jobs

If you’re confused about life, you’re not alone. There are almost seven billion of us. This isn’t a problem, of course, once you realize that life is neither a problem to be solved nor a game to be won. If you are too intent on making the pieces of a nonexistent puzzle fit, you miss out on all the real fun, and this company probably won’t be real fun to you. The heaviness of success-chasing can be replaced with a serendipitous lightness when you recognize that the only rules and limits are those we set for ourselves.

So be bold and don’t worry about what people think. They don’t do it that often anyway.

You can find our culture hidden in books (see below), history, practical philosophy, poetry and the liberated spirit in each of us.

The Few That Matter..the recommendations here are restricted to the best of the best for aspiring Lifestyle Designers:

~ The Four Hour Work Week BY TIM FERRIS
~ The Magic of Thinking Big BY DAVID SCHWARTZ
~ The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It BY MICHAEL E. GERBER
~ Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel BY ROLF POTTS
~ How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur’s Guide BY DAN S. KENNEDY
~ Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates BY TOM ROBBINS

* excerpt from 4HWW

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