Why I'll Always Be A Mercenary

I've worked in the startup scene for the better part of a decade. In that time, I've built MVP's, maintained production applications, and generally helped people with ideas turn those ideas into working realities. And in that time, I've logged hours on late nights, weekends, and other time I would have been spending time with my loved ones had I not allowed the pervasive "live to work" startup culture permeate my being.

The sense of urgency when working in a startup can indeed breed excitement and form cohesion. But none of our work is, by definition of the word, urgent. Some of us might be building systems whose reliability and availability does save (or cost) lives. Those excluded (and you deserve kudos for your dedication), we work in an industry of seemingly unending urgency despite the inconsequntial nature of our labor.

That's not to say we're not making great things. Or that the things we make aren't valuable and world-changing. But it is to say that there are more consequential, valuable experiences to be had than manipulating text and images on an expensive pane of painted glass. I've actually heard of startup founders who admitted their company was more important to them than their spouses. It is this brand of irrationality that has turned me into a mercenary.

My life's passion is to be a better human, to cultivate love among those closest to me.

As a mercenary, I'm eager to solve your problems. But they're still your problems. I take responsibility for my mistakes and take credit for my triumphs within your organization. But my life's passion is to be a better human, to cultivate love among those closest to me, and to have time to take the hard-earned fruits of my mercenary labor to solve my own problems. Taking on the brunt of your organization's hardships by working when I could be traveling, loving, making, and playing sucks the soul right out of life. It begs the question: What is it all for?

That's why I'll always be a mercenary.