In 2000, I was working as a salesman for a great company, selling vinyl fencing, railing and decking across the Midwest. I had many ideas about how to do my job better and approached my boss about them. I remember leaving that meeting and saying to myself, I need to quit this job. What precipitated that response? After all, I was making six figures, had a company car and good benefits, why would I want to leave? In the meeting, my boss stated a poignant fact that many businesses have when it comes to their employees; he said, “We pay you to do the job we want you to do, not the job you want to do.” Huh?
I was frustrated. Was this really how businesses thought? Are employees squelched and not heard across America? Surely, this had to be an anomaly, it couldn’t be the norm. Sadly, I have to say that based on ten more years of talking to business owners, and employees, I think it is a standard practice in business today. Think about it, what business would want a bunch of employees running around thinking they know what’s best for a business they don’t own, that they didn’t create?
One of my passions in starting my own company was that I wanted to have the exact opposite approach. My goal as a business owner is to find employees that can do a better job for me than the one I hired them for. Let me explain…
Let’s say I hire a graphic designer, of course to design things. Now is that all I expect of them? I always say if that’s all I wanted, I would hire a monkey and teach it design (tongue and check as we all know monkey’s would never work for money). I want to hire a graphic designer that will grow, expand my companies horizons, push the envelop, learn new tricks and create better designs and have bigger ideas than I could ever imagine. I don’t want to tell them how to design things, I want them to tell me!
The same goes for programmers, developers and support staff. We hire more people at Fat Atom that have the ability/passion to learn and grow rather than those that have a degree or pedigree. It is our philosophy that if you hire only people to do the job you want them to do… that what you’ll get is a lesser employee. Everyone has more potential than they are currently utilizing, if you are the company that helps someone grow into their potential, you’ll get the benefits from that philosophy.