Work Revolution: This is a Mission, Not a Job

Careers. Paychecks. Horrible bosses. If you want a roof over your head, or to make a lasting and meaningful contribution to the world, then work will consume your life. Doesn’t it make sense that work should be self-actualizing? That’s the big idea of the Work Revolution Summit.


Featuring visionaries from some of New York City’s hottest start-ups and VC firms, the Summit kicked off Friday morning in the Center For Social Innovation, appropriately just blocks from The Highline—a living monument to the city’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.

Seth Godin, best-selling author and everybody’s favorite business guru, started the morning with a talk on the Summit’s theme: humanizing company culture in order to reach the full potential of employees and the organization. Here are some of his tips:

Success is “how many people did you raise,” not “how much money did you raise.” Social connections—getting everyone interested in that new exciting thing—creates value.

Leaders galvanize. When it comes to inspiring change in an organization, your challenge is to galvanize the believers, not the nonbelievers—with the nonbelievers, you have no leverage.

How can you change yourself? You change by doing something. Even a simple action will change the way you think. Tweet for the first time. Publish a blog post. Make something, and that action will encourage you to take other actions.

As industries continue to shift, it’s not about “safe jobs.” It’s about being an innovator. If you can do enough innovative work for the right reasons, you should be proud to get fired.

Where does the typical person find the courage to do innovative work? Marathon runners who finish know where to put the tired. Know where to put the fear. Dance with the fear. They call it singing in the rain not singing with the umbrella.

Create a team that looks forward to being afraid, that looks at social connections as the outcome, and then the value will take care of itself.

The Summit included a lively panel discussion about the importance of creating company culture. “Culture is so important. How do you keep people together? How do you keep the inspiration going?  [Especially when] 95% of the companies won't be around a year from now,” said Vipin Goyal, co-founder of Sidetour, a website that lets you shop for unique experiences, from sailing lessons to a French baker teaching you how to make croissants. The company was acquired this past week by Groupon.

Other highlights included Kathryn Minshew, a co-founder of career inspiration and job board site TheMuse. Minshew heard “no” at least 125 times while looking for financing. Some of those meetings surpassed rejection and became impromptu interventions, trying to convince her to give-up, take a steady job. Minshew persevered, got into the prestigious Y Incubator funding program, and went on to raise $1.2 million. TheMuse, co-founded with Alex Cavoulacos and Melissa McCreery, now has 3 million registered users.

If you could give your younger self advice, what would you say? That’s the concept of 40/20 Vision, a mentoring program where 40-something women advise women in their twenties. Career management, including switching careers, is the topic of discussion in their monthly events here in New York. “Every woman needs an advisory board,” says Christina Vuleta, the founder.

Here’s more information on the Work Revolution Summit, and to learn about upcoming events at the Center for Social Innovation, visit their website.

Photo: Kathryn Minshew, TheMuse.com

Credit: Andrea Chalupa

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