Let me set the scene for you: I'm 29 years old, and I'm working for a very good company, making very good money. More money than I thought I'd ever make. I have health insurance and a company car. My cell phone and gas are paid for.
I like my job. I work with great people and a great company. It's one of the most ethical, fair companies I know. The higher-ups in the company like my work and see a lot of potential in me.
So, a month ago I do the thing I know needs to be done: I tell my boss I'm quitting.
Oh, and I'm going to work for a start-up founded by two of my closest friends. It doesn't pay much.
And we give away a good chunk of our revenue.
Go ahead, take a moment to let that sink in. My mom needed a week.
The fact is, I've known this day would come for over a year now. I knew it the first time Patrick and Bianca told me about Bed Bandits. They asked me for a little help here and there, just to get things off the ground. What they didn't know was that I was hooked from the beginning. As soon as I learned about the foundation of Bed Bandits and its mission of giving back and helping make the world a little bit better, I wanted in.
And so I waited.
I continued to pitch in, working the Bed Bandits booth at trade shows and college orientations, contributing to this blog a few times ... I even spent my 29th birthday delivering toppers to the Elizabeth House in Oakland.
By this time, Patrick and Bianca knew how badly I wanted to be a part of Bed Bandits, and I was thrilled that they wanted to find a place for me. I was literally losing sleep at night because I couldn't stop thinking about this little mattress topper start-up.
Then, more waiting.
And then, an opportunity. No need to bore you with the details. But I knew it was time. In baseball, when you're at the plate and you get the pitch you've been looking for, you don't let it go by and hope another one comes along. You're holding a bat for a reason.
It would have been a lot easier if the company I was leaving were an evil conglomerate filled with a bunch of faceless suits doing the devil's bidding. Instead I had an office full of good, honest people who were sad to see me go. And they took me out for pizza on my last day, something faceless suits rarely do.
So who in their right mind would walk away from that?
It wasn't easy. It took a lot of thought and introspection. At the end of the day, though, it was pretty simple: I didn't want to look back thirty years from now, regardless of financial standing, and think I never took a chance on something about which I am so passionate.
I'm not a business man; it's just not how my brain works. But I know what I believe.
I believe in the idea that all of us on this floating blue ball in space are connected, regardless of race, religion, orientation, social class or whatever else we foolishly let ourselves think divides us. I believe one of the best things we can do is lend a hand to those who feel disconnected from the rest of us.
I believe Bed Bandits, in its own little way, tries to do that.
Yes, it's a business, and we want to be successful just like any other. We've got financial goals and marketing strategies and all sorts of stuff. Bianca and Patrick have an amazing knack for all that. And, truthfully, that's exciting too. We're offering a high-quality product that people love and we think a lot more people are going to love. Nothing wrong with a little entrepreneurial spirit, right?
But the backbone of this company--the true life force--is its commitment to giving back. We want to positively impact a lot of lives. It's a part of the business plan (seriously). That's what is most exciting about working for Bed Bandits.
It's not going to be a cake walk by any means. I left one job for Bed Bandits, yes. But I also took another job with more flexible hours while we grow Bed Bandits. (Quick peek behind the curtain: all three of us have second jobs in addition to this. And my other new job is pretty cool too.)
Are we going to make it? Are we going to help impact the world the way we hope? Are we going to fall flat on our faces like so many well-meaning businesses before us?
It would be foolish to deny that failure is a possibility. Statistically speaking, it's more than a possibility. But that's alright; it's a risk I'm willing to take. Because I believe in Bed Bandits.
So, finally, it's time to get to work. Wait time's over.