When I meet people from other startups, the normal response I get to “How’s it going?” is some combination of “killing it”, “crushing it”, “awesome”, “so crazy right now”, and so on — regardless of how it’s actually going.
Even within our own office, “How was your weekend?” is usually met with a vague, positive answer regardless of how it actually was. In a professional setting, rarely do any of us accurately talk about our actual, non-work lives, that of course are happening every day all day.
In my six and half years at MAZ, I’ve seen amazing life events happen in my own life and in the lives of my co-workers: engagements, weddings, personal achievements, children being born.
I’ve also seen the worst imaginable: illness, disease, way too much cancer, chronic health conditions, divorce, the deaths of parents and grandparents and tragically even of children.
After each and every time, what do we do? We come to work. We code, we pitch, we help our customers. We carry on, sit at our desks, drink our coffee, and do the work.
Is this admirable or dishonest? The facade we impose upon on ourselves — the compartmentalization — it ignores the reality of us as a group of human beings with real pain, real suffering, and real joy, hopes, and desires.
What if we started answering with something true: Today is hard. My weekend sucked. I am preoccupied with something at home. I am tired.
What harm would really come, and what potential benefit, if we were honest?