About a week ago, The New York Times ran a piece titled “Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?”
The piece not only dives into what the Times refers to as “exploitative burnout culture” — a culture “obsessed with striving, relentlessly positive, devoid of humor, and — once you notice it — impossible to escape” — but focuses on the coworking space WeWork as a brand exporting “performative workaholism to 27 countries, with 400,000 tenants, including workers from 30 percent of the Global Fortune 500.”
After reading the article, I had the good luck to speak to someone familiar with WeWork and many of its employees, and he assured me the company is genuinely dedicated to their mission: “Create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living,” and creating places where, “we’re redefining success measured by personal fulfillment, not just the bottom line.”
Still, the Times’ piece is damning, even going so far as to include a picture of a cucumber floating in a water cooler at a WeWork location; “’Don’t stop when you’re tired,’ someone recently carved into the floating vegetables’ flesh. ‘Stop when you are done.’”
“Rise and Grind” or “Dawn Patrol?”
I know many people for whom their work, their career, their profession is the overriding passion in their life. That’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that. More power to them.
But not everyone wants to build our life around their job. There are just as many people who want to build their job around their life. And you can be a success—in every sense of the word—with either approach. For every Elon Musk, there is an Yvon Chouinard.
I’ve never worked out of a WeWork space, but I take it on good faith that the person I spoke to who is familiar with the business represented the company’s mission authentically and honestly. I do, however, work out of a coworking space: BendTECH.
Here, at BendTECH, we have all kinds of people: those who get out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to “rise and grind” at their job, and those who get up at the same time to ensure they snag first tracks in the overnight powder that fell on Mount Bachelor. And then we have people who do both…usually making their decision to work or ski based on how much snow fell the night before.
At BendTECH, there’s no pressure to be here before anyone else is in the office. And nobody raises an eyebrow if you leave at 2 p.m. to sneak in a spin on the local singletrack. On the other hand, if you’re here cranking away in Excel on a Saturday morning, nobody judges you for that, either.
Peer pressure sucks when you’re in middle school, and it sucks just as much when you’re in the office. There’s none of that at BendTECH. In my experience, it’s each to his or her own.
So, if you’re a BendTECH member and you want to skip out for dawn patrol on a powder day, right on. You do you. And if you want to work into the wee hours, our doors are open. Just remember to turn the lights out when you leave.
BendTECH Coworking provides a co-working space within the 1001 Tech Center and located at 1001 SW Emkay Dr. in Bend, Oregon. It is the flagship project of its parent organization, BendTECH. We offer community memberships, drop-in desks, individual dedicated desks, and offices within a community of technically-oriented professionals and entrepreneurs.
Our doors are open for members to work 24/7, if that’s your thing. If you’d rather be skiing, we’re cool with that, too.
Learn about membership options here.
About the Author
Sean Leslie is the President and Chief Content Officer of Cascade Cadence Content Marketing. Sean is a copywriter and storyteller who combines data-proven best practices with optimized, strategically written copy, creating content that attracts, educates, engages and converts. Sean’s a happy and devoted husband and father; an erstwhile runner, mountain biker, backpacker and outdoorsman; and—though English by birth—an adopted and fiercely proud Pacific Northwesterner. He’s also a vocal and passionate proponent of flip-flops in the office. Learn more about Cascade Cadence Content Marketing at www.cascadecadence.com