Saturday, January 2, 2010

Step 2: Working with Friends

Today I had lunch with Trevin and Blair, two of my friends whom I worked with a number of years ago. During our lunch, I was reminded of how good it feels to work with friends, to be such an integral part of their lives. I've heard some people say that it's best to keep our personal and professional lives separate. I disagree. I'd always prefer to work with friends - it makes work feel like play.

Last year I wrote a blog post that referenced an article in Fast Company about David Kelley, the Founder of IDEO. He left a mediocre management job at an engineering firm to get his MBA at Stanford. Though he had job offers after graduation, he declined them to start his own company with his friends. That company became IDEO. In the article he describes that his one strong inclination for employment was to work with friends. Had he not taken the leap and followed his instinct, he probably would be toiling away in a grey cubicle doing less-than-inspiring work. Instead, he founded a company that is arguably the finest product design firm in the world. And he has fun everyday. Bet well-played, David.

What if we could all follow our gut with David Kelley's creative confidence? What if we could turn down opportunities, as great as they seem, because they just don't jive with how we'd like to live our lives? Perhaps there's an IDEO for each of us, or at the very least a bit more happiness to be had in our careers. In 2010, I'd like to get back to a career of working with friends.

The photo above is not my own. It appears courtesy of IDEO.


COL said...

Christa, this is a fabulous idea, one i think of often too. am fortunate to love the people i work with ... we've become friends but it's still not quite the same as pairing with kindred spirits who share your sensibility. not only do i think it would be fun -- it would be highly successful ... my friends are incredibly bright and talented people. the hard part is getting to a point when the circumstances and timing work out.

good luck ... sounds like you have many fantastic things planned for the year ahead1

Christa said...

Thanks, Col! I love this idea, too. You're right about the timing and circumstances - we have to be in the right place to be ready for this kind of collaboration. However, I'm a firm believer that we have the ability to influence timing and circumstances more than we realize!

Happy New Year, lady!