Be comfortable being uncomfortable

I see this slogan popping up in companies, some people even have it upon the wall in their workspace. I don’t believe it’s very healthy.

Sometimes it has been given to them by their managers as a way to work by. That’s even worse.

In endurance sports many people live by the “Be comfortable being uncomfortable” mindset. You cannot choose the circumstances on race day and you will be uncomfortable, so you better get used to uncomfortable situations during training. For those not into endurance sports, being uncomfortable, or even better, suffering, is part of the joy. As an ultrarunner myself, this way of thinking helps me to stay disciplined during training and resilient on race day. 

In your workplace suffering or being uncomfortable should not be part of your daily routine. Of course everybody has their “off day”, or some parts of your job are not all fun, but suffering is something else.

When I start to feel uncomfortable at work it usually means something is wrong. It’s a warning sign. Maybe there’s too much stress, or I’m not comfortable dealing with a person, I’m working too long, that kind of thing. When somethings wrong, you need to change.

I’m not sure why managers would want their colleagues to be uncomfortable. Nobody ever becomes more productive being uncomfortable and it sure as hell doesn’t help the working environment. You won’t win any “Great Place To Work” trophies.

I’m curious. Any other unhealthy slogan’s you’ve seen in your working environment? Let me know!

Pay what it’s Worth

In the last couple of months I have given several talks and workshops next to my freelance assignments. Topics have been Complex Problem Solving, Agile/Scrum for managent and Scrum workshops.

Usually the question of payment comes up. “What’s your fee?” “What do you want for it?” That kind of questions. For these kind of talks or workshops I do the following:

“Pay what it’s worth to you and your organisation.” 

I will do the talk or give the workshop and afterwards you tell me what it was worth and how much you want to pay for it. It’s like the Value for Value Model as described by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak in their podcast No Agenda.

My experiences so far:

  • Everyone really likes the idea. They give back that it made them think on the actual value. It also made them think what (hourly) rates they themselves are using or would use in these cases.
  • I’ve not been let down. I mean, everyone has payed a reasonable fee compared to the time spend (if compared to my rate as a freelancer).
  • I do lose money on it, compared to the total time needed for it. Considering preparation, travel time, taking a day of “normal” work therefore missing what I could have earned in that time.
  • More importantly, I’ve had a lot of fun discussing the concept and seeing the reactions to it! People are really surprised by this!

For me this is really what value is about. As a company you can decide upfront what something is worth or what users should pay for your products or services. At the end, the user decides and should pay what it’s worth. To be fare, there are risks. For me as well. My family and I need to eat :). So, I’m not changing my fee as a freelancer to this model (although I would love to). I am willing to lose money for these kind of talks and workshops, just to make other’s think and see what happens…

What do you think? Could this be something for you? Please let me know!