Waiting for 5 O'Clock
The last few months of my formal employment felt brutal. I remember being at the office and constantly checking the time, waiting for my 5 o'clock freedom. It’s not that my job was horrible by any means. I worked with some really great people doing stuff I was pretty interested in like making videos and working on a website. But is was always just a job to me and in the end, I couldn’t help but watch the clock.
Over time I began recognizing the constant feeling of “waiting” I experienced at work and it bothered me. I would think, “Life is too short… why do I spend 3-4 days a week wishing it would just hurry up and go by even faster?” After some contemplation, I realized it was because my job did not provide me with any intrinsic motivation. According to Daniel Pink, the three elements of intrinsic motivation are:
Autonomy – The urge to direct our own lives.
Mastery – The desire to get better and better at something that matters.
Purpose – The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
All of these elements are very important and being deprived of them over time left me feeling kind of empty, unsatisfied, and in a hurry. I needed a change.
Entrepreneurship and startups are not for most people and of the few that do go for it, the numbers show that only a handful actually succeed. And while I am a young co-founder pursuing my first real venture and my future has yet to be seen, I do know that working on a startup is providing me with the three elements my job never did. Autonomy over my daily schedule and the direction of our business, the opportunity to master new subjects and disciplines, and a sense of purpose in trying to change the way people find healthcare online.
When all of these element are present for me on a daily basis, I don’t look at the clock like I used to. Instead, I spend my time working hard, trying to build a tool for the future. The old and bothersome feeling of waiting for 5 o'clock is just a thing of the past and something I don’t have the time to worry about now.