Workaholics Aren’t Heroeswith Josh Tsui, Chase Clemons, and Sylvia Maldonado
Being tired isn’t a badge of honor. There, we said it. We’ve been saying this for a while now, because our culture loves to glorify toiling long hours for its own sake and we think that leads to subpar work and general misery. In this episode, we talk to a veteran of the video game industry and a member of Basecamp’s customer support team about workaholism and burnout. We also hear from a new business owner who’s balancing mindfulness with the demands of starting her own meditation-focused company.
- Josh Tsui - 1:07
- Insert Coin documentary about 90s arcade games - 1:17
- Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game - 1:25
- Polygon article about Josh Tsui's career - 1:34
- Chase Clemons - 12:35
- Tennessean retrospective on the 2010 Nashville flood - 15:35
- Breathe Bar - 22:22
- La Criolla - 22:33
- Breathe Bar on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter - 32:04
- Signal v. Noise posts for further reading: Trickle-down workaholism in startups; Being tired isn't a badge of honor
The Full Transcript
Josh [00:00:00] I mean, I suppose, looking back on it now, I probably could have just worked nine-to-five and not told anybody and see if they notice, but… in that culture, people would have really noticed. I mean, it’s—if you weren’t working those crazy hours then you weren’t dedicated to your game like the other people are.
[00:00:17] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Wailin: [00:00:17] Welcome to Rework, a podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. I’m Wailin Wong.
Shaun: [00:00:23] And I’m Shaun Hildner. On today’s show, we’re going to be talking about the myth that you have to work super long hours in order to be successful.
Wailin: [00:00:30] Yeah, there’s a glorification of long hours for its own sake and often working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done, it just means you work more. So, today you’ll be hearing from three people. First we have Josh, a video game developer who figured out how to break the cycle.
Shaun: [00:00:45] Our friend Chase who works on the Basecamp support team is going to talk about working in the restaurant industry and how the customer support team here deals with burnout.
Wailin: [00:00:52] And, finally, we’ll hear from Sylvia who’s mindfully building a start-up that’s all about mindfulness.
Josh: [00:01:07] My name is Josh Tsui. I’ve started a couple of video game development companies and I’m worked in the industry for 20+ years now. Lately, I’ve been working on a feature film documentary about the early video game industry.
Shaun: [00:01:21] Do you play any video games, Wailin?
Wailin: [00:01:23] Does the Kim Kardashian mobile game, count?
Shaun: [00:01:26] I think it does.
Wailin: [00:01:27] It absolutely does.
Shaun: [00:01:27] But I’m not sure that’s the kind of game Josh is talking about. How did he get his start?
Wailin: [00:01:31] Well, Josh started his career in 1993 at Midway Games, a Chicago studio that at the time was making arcade games. So, Josh had studied film in school and they hired him as an artist for WWF Wrestlemania the arcade game because he understood how to shoot video and get those images onto a computer.
Shaun: [00:01:51] And he was also involved with Mortal Kombat, right?
Wailin: [00:01:53] Yeah. Mortal Kombat was one of Midway’s big hits, and Josh not only worked on those games but was also the model for Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 4.
Josh: [00:02:03] It was my first major job after college and so, I didn’t know anything about the video game industry. I just knew that I wanted to be in it. I loved video games, and I went in and it was just non-stop work. Right from the beginning. You know, it’s pulling all-nighters all the time. And a lot of people talk about working crunch in different industries. In the video game industry, it was just constant. There was no letting up. And it wasn’t like it was mandated or anything like that, it’s just that, you know, we were these creative people that really wanted to make fun products and we didn’t care what got in our way.
Wailin: [00:02:42] Wow. And so, when you got there, how did you start to internalize what the culture was in terms of the hours you were expected to be there? Do you remember what it was like feeling your way around and wondering, like, oh, what time should I leave? Like, is it okay for me to leave now, or should I leave when the person next to me leaves? Like, do you remember those kinds of early experiences?
Josh: [00:03:06] You know, I would get stuck into a cubicle and I would notice that people were there all the time. So I felt, like, okay, I guess I’m going to be here until somebody tells me to leave. And looking back on it now, it seems kind of crazy but it was just one of those things where it seemed normal at the time. Everything was very lax, you know, there wasn’t like, hey, we have core working hours of let’s say, ten-to-four. People would come in at any time of the day. They would get some work done. They would go take a two-hour lunch, come back. But then, they’re there very late. And so, I would see these people and it would just—it just kind of melded into me. I didn’t even really think about it as oh, shoot, I’ve got to go but everyone’s still here. It was more like, okay, everyone’s still here, so I’m just going to hang out even longer until somebody tells me to go.
[00:03:56] We were such, for lack of a better term, we were such like craftsmans in terms of wanting to really dig deep and make a high quality product and we didn’t let anything get in the way. We had no management, I mean all of these teams are very siloed off, so we kind of managed ourselves. Everything was so informal that we just kind of wanted to be these, “artists” that wanted to make it as great as possible. And if it took forever to do, it took forever to do. But a lot of it was our own fault because you know, we just—nobody had a set deadline and we didn’t want to push for a deadline, we just wanted to make a quality product and in some ways that wasn’t the best thing to do.
Wailin: [00:04:34] Right. And what time were you leaving the office? Do you remember what your schedule was like, then?
Josh: [00:04:42] Holy smokes. My schedule, I remember going in probably—getting in probably around 10am and I think, most of the time I would get home probably like nine or ten. 12-hour days were like, the minimum hours. At the time, I thought that there was no way that I was—that I’m going to ask them to allow me to work strictly nine-to-five. It just wasn’t—and nobody asked that. It just wasn’t—it was just unheard of. I mean, I suppose, looking back on it now, I probably could have just worked nine-to-five and not tell anybody and see if they notice. But, you know, in that culture, people would have really noticed. If you weren’t working those crazy hours then you weren’t dedicated to your game like the other people are.
[00:05:24] I was stressed over it, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. And, in my mind, I thought to myself, well, you know what, no matter what I do, if I work in video games I’m going to end up with these crazy hours so it wasn’t like I was trying to solve the number of hours. It was more like, well, there might be better use of all those hours I’m putting in. So that’s what kind of led me to start up my own company.
Wailin: [00:05:47] We’re going to fast-forward a little bit. So, Josh and some of his Midway colleagues did end up leaving to form their own studio where they continued to work with essentially the same culture that they carried over from Midway. That studio ended up closing and then Josh went to work at the Chicago office of Electronic Arts, the big video game publisher. It was there that Josh finally had a manager who would say, if you don’t have anything really pressing to be working on, you should go home. That was something really new for Josh, who, by then, had two children. So, it was a welcome break. Then, after EA Chicago closed, he co-founded an independent studio called Robomodo which became known for their work on the Tony Hawke franchise. At Robomodo, he was able to take some of the lessons he learned from EA and bring them to the new company.
[00:06:32] Did you put any boundaries around working hours? Whether it was explicit in a handbook or HR orientation, or something, or if was a little less formal, just you and your other manager setting the example by leaving at five or leaving when you needed to leave?
Josh: [00:06:48] You know, we set up a lot of different things to make sure people knew what the rules were. A simple thing as just having a printed HR manual that everybody has. It seems so silly, you know, and I literally didn’t have that in my first job. And it really worked wonders. And reminding people what core hours were. And so, we had, you know, core hours of, I believe it was ten-to-four, and you can work eight hours, any work between those, but you had to be there at those times. So, just simple things like that and making sure people understood that on a regular basis really helped a lot.
[00:07:29] I think one of the other things that I think helped a lot was just the fact that at certain times—at a certain time of the day, I would just leave. Or, you know, everybody would just leave. At first, I thought to myself, hey, you know, I’m one of the partners in the studio, I need to show that I’m there all the time. To show the dedication, things like that, and it dawned on me that that actually was not a good thing, and me being around was actually not a good thing at all.
[00:07:57] Besides helping run the company, I was also an art director on the games, and one of the things I learned was that, you know, one of the most annoying things art directors do is being around the artists too much. And so, I kind of took that to another level where, right around, let’s say, anywhere between five and six o’clock, for the most part, I would just leave. And, it sounds like I’m leaving, and I’d tell everyone, hey, go home. But it’s just like, I was just not there. So, at that point, if people see that you’re not there, then they feel like, okay, I don’t need to be here either.
[00:08:33] And, a lot of people will look at that and think, oh, that’s terrible because people are going to—they’re going to be slacking off and things like that. Or, they might hang out playing video games and things. To me, it’s like, after core hours, if they decide they want to slack off and play video games and things like that, that’s fine as long as they got their work done. But also by me not being there the third option is to go home.
[00:08:55] And so, I think, being completely gone and not physically in the space I think, kind of helped out a lot. And a lot of that came with my own thinking of, looking back on my past, when I saw that my managers were there on a constant basis, it felt like these invisible handcuffs, invisible ball and chain for me to stay there.
Wailin: [00:09:15] Yeah. That’s really interesting and I was wondering whether you had to think about the way you did deadlines and kind of allocating work differently in order to maintain a culture where it would be okay to go home after core hours were over, or not work over eight hours a day. Because you talked about this mentality in video games where it’s like, of course it’s like this. It’s always been like this and this is just what’s required to put out the best possible, most beautiful, fun to play games, and did that require a shift in thinking as well? Whereas you’re kind of directing these games, you’re like, well, you know, we’re working maybe fewer hours than the guys down the street and yet we want to put out something that’s still the same quality. Was there some adjusting there, too?
Josh: [00:09:59] You know, I don’t think there was any grand plan or anything. I think it just—things like that just kind of happen organically. Partly because of, I became more mature about that, became smarter about things. My other partners and the managers, they all had real lives outside of work and so because they acted in the same way, it just kind of trickled down. That’s the only way I can kind of explain it. Because at that point, it’s—I think just having people around, especially managers around, that have real lives. And it’s not just being married and having kids. But it’s just, people who have interesting things going on outside of work and they leave work to go do them, I think that acts as kind of a good reference point for other people, for that to happen.
[00:10:56] You know, I’m sure there are ways of being more direct about it, and stuff, but the way it happened for us, was just, hey, you know, I got stuff to do. And the sun’s shining. I’m going to go have some fun, and stuff. You know, maybe a part of it is the fact that we made a point of finding office space that had a lot of windows so people can see outside and see what’s going on in the world. And I know this may sound kind of silly, but when I was working at Midway, and even EA—EA Chicago had a bit of this in the beginning. We were in these dark spaces with no windows and so you just—it’s almost like Stockholm Syndrome where you just think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. And so, all you thought about was work.
[00:11:36] And later on, the first Robomodo space we had, we were in this high rise overlooking the city, and it was just beautiful. And just… seeing what’s—seeing life out there, it’s like, okay, I want to be a part of that. I don’t want to just think about work. Once I’m done with my work stuff, I want to get the hell out of here.
[00:11:53] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:11:56] So, my first job out of college, I didn’t eat lunch for an entire week because nobody told me when I could go.
Wailin: [00:12:03] That makes me really sad.
Shaun: [00:12:05] And, there were no windows.
Wailin: [00:12:07] Ugh.
Shaun: [00:12:09] But Chase on the customer support team here at Basecamp, he had a very different experience than both Josh and myself.
Wailin: [00:12:15] Correct. So, Chase worked in the restaurant industry and unlike Josh’s career in video games where he ended up internalizing these unspoken norms around working long hours, Chase’s bosses were very up front about the kind of time commitment they needed from him. But that didn’t make it any easier or more sustainable.
Chase: [00:12:34] So, I’m Chase. I’m one of the support team leads here at Basecamp. I graduated college and got a job with a deli, like a fast casual deli in Nashville, Tennessee.
Wailin: [00:12:44] So, what were your hours like when you started?
Chase: [00:12:47] So, and to their credit, they were up front on this. They said a full-time work week for them is somewhere between 55 and 60 hours and in the restaurant world that’s not totally unusual. It’s definitely out of the 40 hour work week. You’re working eight to ten hour shifts and you’re working at least five days a week, sometimes more, sometimes, very rarely, less. It was an average run-of-the-mill, nothing goes wrong kind of week, 55 to 60 hours.
Wailin: [00:13:14] And were you on your feet for most of those hours as well?
Chase: [00:13:16] Oh yeah. The only time you get to sit down is if you are checking in produce or if you were eating lunch.
Wailin: [00:13:21] And you were prepared for that—well, not only because they’d told you but you’d worked in restaurants before so you were used to that grind a little bit.
Chase: [00:13:28] Yeah, that was one of those where I’d worked in restaurants in college, before then. My parents had owned restaurants, so I knew from them, pretty being going all the time. Like, it was not a shock. I knew what I was getting into.
Wailin: [00:13:42] And then, was there a point when you were working there where you started to feel less okay about those hours, or about the life that you had, or couldn’t have outside of work?
Chase: [00:13:55] Yeah. It was one of those where it creeps up on you slowly, and I think that’s par for the course most times. It’s never one defining moment. It’s more, you know, you just kind of—you’re driving home from work, and at the time—so, the job was in Nashville, I lived in the suburb. It was—an average day commute was an hour each day, so there’s lots of time to think. And, one day I was just driving home and it was just…this is just not… I don’t want to be doing this in ten years. I don’t want to be doing it in five years. Or even a year from now, because it was just—you look back and you go. I have worked 55-60 hours a week for so long. It just weighs on you. I think for me, it was a mix of, I’m newly married. I need to have a job. This is something I know I can do. This is something I’m good at. Maybe the hours don’t—you’re young. It’s like, I’ve got plenty of time. This is fine. I can do this. And then it just—you get into it and you do it for a couple of months and you realize this is just not what you… That amount of work hours is just not something that I wanted to do. Same thing when I was at—so, I worked at a small mom and pop barbeque joint and the owner there had multiple locations and he was always about, man, if I can just like open another location. If I can just get business up a little bit more, then maybe I can take a day off during the week. And of course that never happened. And he worked, he was there seven days a week. It drains on you.
Shaun: [00:15:26] So, for Chase, what was the eventual turning point?
Wailin: [00:15:29] There was a literal flood.
Chase: [00:15:31] 2010, Nashville had a flood. One of those hundred-year floods where all of downtown was under a couple feet of water. Nashville disaster was declared and resources came in and the Red Cross came in. And, the location that we had was up higher in the city so we stayed relatively dry for the whole thing, so we were able to basically start putting out food for both volunteers who were in the city and the victims of the flood itself. So, we would basically make sandwiches and food all day long, load them up into these Red Cross ambulances and then they would take them down to where it was needed. And during that time, it’s just like—you didn’t leave the restaurant. You were there all the time, just trying to put out as much food as you could because part of it is, you want to help, this is your community. And part of it is like, well, there’s not really a good way to get out of the city anyway, so, you’re here.
[00:16:23] So, we did that and after that all kind of ended and the city got back to normal, I remember driving home and again, it wasn’t one of those wake-up moments. But you’re driving home, and it’s like, man, I’m just exhausted. I’m tired and there’s that little thing at the back of your head that says, maybe it’s time to move on from something like this.
[00:16:46] I get to Basecamp and Jason and David have the 40 hours is enough. You’re going to work Monday through Friday, you’re going to put your 40 hours in and that’s enough. You don’t have to do anything extra beyond that. And it was just a night and day difference.
Wailin: [00:17:00] What kind of difference did you feel in yourself after a certain amount of time working here, whether it was weeks or months, or I don’t know if it took longer than that for you to really feel the effects, whether it was physical or emotional, how did you feel the difference in your life?
Chase: [00:17:16] Well, you’re not drained at the end of the day, which is nice. You do in, you do the best work that you can for the day. At five o’clock rolls around and you’re done. You close your laptop and you go have dinner at a decent hour. You go out with friends or whatever. Down to the little things, like, you wrap your day up at five o’clock and go outside and play with your dog for a while. Like, those little things. And, when we talk about this idea, this notion of work-life balance, that this really is this balance. That you put in your 40 hours of work and then you have a life outside of that. And Saturday comes and Sunday comes and you’re out doing a barbeque with the family and you don’t have to answer a boss’s call. Somebody doesn’t call out sick and you have to rush in to close a restaurant. We’re very open as far as watching how much work somebody might be doing that day. So one fo things that, especially with support teams is you’re looking at how many customers are they talking to that day? How many phone calls or chats or whatever? And if it’s outside of what is a normal, typical range, then you know, maybe for a day that’s okay. If that’s something that’s happening for weeks on end, then something’s wrong.
[00:18:23] I think for me, the most powerful thing is just actually talking to a team member one-on-one. Being able to have a candid conversation. An open and transparent and not hidden behind whatever kind of conversation with a team mmber and being able to just ask, like, hey, how are you feeling? What’s your workload like. Is there anything going on that might be even remotely connected to burnout? Because, remember, it’s not something that will like, pop up one day and hit you like a two-by-four. It’s a slow creep.
Wailin: [00:18:53] It seems like maybe the customer support team more than even some other teams would need to really keep an eye on this and make sure they’re feeling healthy because it seems like in your job, you absorb a lot of stress from other people, which might not be the case with other teams in the company where the work is maybe more internal. You’re always talking to customers and it seems like, very challenging to be able to absorb that while also making sure you’re okay.
Chase: [00:19:20] One of the things we hire for is empathy. And whenever you hire for that and have somebody that’s empathetic, it means that they can put themselves in the customer’s shoes. But, it means they can put themselves in the customer’s shoes. So, they can feel that anger or frustration, but they can also feel those moments where—those really positive interactions. So, it’s one of those, yeah, when you talk to customers day in and day out, there’s always that possibility of that emotion feeding over into you. And, it’s okay to put up some guard rails or lines of defense and say, I’m still empathetic, I’m still trying to understand the customer but I’m not going to take on all that energy that comes from them, necessarily.
Sylvia: [00:20:12] Now, I would just rest your hands gently on your thighs, either palms up or palms down. You want to be comfortable. Have a straight spine. Imagine kind of a rod going from the base of your spine out through the top of your head. And you can gently close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you, or you can leave them slightly open. And just focus on an object in front of you. And just really, kind of, connect with your breath. Three part breath in. And then release out. And when you’re breathing, it’s nice to breathe from your diaphragm, so belly breaths. So, if that’s something you’re not comfortable with, you can just put your hands on the lower part of your abdomen and actually feel it expanding. And if you have thoughts, that is okay. We are human. We are going to have thoughts. So, just release, then. Like a balloon, into the air. And gently go back to your breath.
[00:21:27] And we can do this, let’s do three more breaths. Just a gentle in and out. And when you’re ready, you can gently open your eyes. And wiggle your toes and your fingers. Rotate your neck. Move your shoulders up and down, just do some light movement here to come out of the meditation.
Wailin: [00:22:18] That’s Sylvia Maldonado. She’s the founder and owner of a business called Breathe Bar which she opened at the end of March. Before that, she had a pretty interesting career as a TV producer and she also worked for her family business which is a spice company her dad started called La Criolla.
Sylvia: [00:22:34] Yeah, so it was started by my dad in 1957. He started with spices. With adobo, which is a seasoning blend, so it has white pepper, garlic, oregano, a bunch of delicious spices and you blend them all together and it makes this rub, basically. And when he moved here to Chicago, there were a lot of Puerto Ricans at the time, living here, and there weren’t a lot of products catered to them and to that palate. And so he started selling adobo out of the trunk of his car, and then to a lot of the independent bodegas.
Wailin: [00:23:09] Was there ever talk of managing stress and burnout or did you feel like those are conversations that didn’t take place. Maybe it’s that immigrant mentality of, well, you’re—I feel like with a lot of immigrant-owned businesses, talking about things like are you feeling stressed or overworked, they seem like luxuries. Like, they don’t… it’s very keep your head down and work. So, I don’t know if those conversations ever came up, or if generationally it just wasn’t something that was on the table.
Sylvia: [00:23:35] You know, I would say all of that. But I think it was also in terms of the nature of work and business. This was before email. And as a society, I think we’ve sort of thrust this on ourselves, where, you’re always checking email. You’re always on your phone. If you have a family, the kids go to bed, you go back online to finish your work. So, it’s kind of like this 24/7 where when I was growing up, even my dad had a business, he wasn’t online plugged in 24/7. It was much easier to disconnect.
Shaun: [00:24:07] Have you ever tried meditating?
Wailin: [00:24:09] I have not. I take an exercise class where at the end, we’re supposed to lie in savasana, you know, like flat on your back with your palms up and your eyes closed and we’re supposed to release our thoughts and take a quiet moment. I always spend that time thinking about everything I need to get done that day, because I’m basically the worst.
Shaun: [00:24:25] I completely understand. But Sylvia’s whole thing is that she teaches others how to meditate.
Wailin: [00:24:31] Yes. So, Breathe Bar has a studio and used to offer classes, but Sylvia’s turned her focus to business customers. She had a really big demand from corporations who wanted people to come in and teach meditation. Either workshops or short classes. So, now, she sends her teachers out to visit offices.
Sylvia: [00:24:51] Everyone’s so busy. They want us to go to them. So whether it’s the meditation, or… this is, I think, why these mail-delivery services are so. People want the food delivered to them. They want the groceries delivered to them. It’s the same thing with meditation. They want it delivered to them. So, whether it’s the app on the phone, or having the actual teacher, they want it delivered to them at their location and kind of have that at their convenience, which I totally get.
Wailin: [00:25:18] When you go into these big corporations and you’re talking to lawyers or consultants or people working in agencies and they have fairly high-stress, long-hour type jobs. Do you find that it does make a difference even if you’re only able to go in for a special event here and there?
Sylvia: [00:25:34] People want this instant zen, and they want these instant results and I guess it’s a sign of our times. People are impatient, there’s lack of attention. And they want results right now. And it’s like, well, it’s like a practice, and you have to practice. And you actually have to kind of meditate in order to see the benefits. You can’t just go from A to Z. You need to go from A to B, and I feel like sometimes with corporate, when it is high stress and they want that return, that ROI, right here, right now. And I get it. I want the return, too. I used to be a TV producer. I’m super high strung and—but sometimes it comes with time. And it’s not something that you can measure so easily and you can’t just learn mindfulness now. It’s a process.
Wailin: [00:26:24] Right, it’s almost like you have to train people to see this as different than their work, where you maybe deliver an assignment and it gets checked off.
Sylvia: [00:26:32] Exactly. Exactly. And to me, that’s the beautiful part of it. Because everything else we do in our life, it’s like, this is the deliverable. I check it off the list and it’s done. And meditation isn’t like that. It’s like this process and it looks different for everybody. It’s like, very fluid… and I appreciate that. But most people like a very structured—the fluid is anxiety-producing instead of anxiety-quashing.
Wailin: [00:27:01] During the process of getting the business off the ground, did you have to be really deliberate about drawing some either physical boundaries or mental boundaries around this is the time I’m spending on my business but this is me making myself step away. Because I feel like, in those early stages, you could just be working on it all the time, unceasingly, because there’s probably always something you need to do, right?
Sylvia: [00:27:26] Right. Right, right. And that’s—I mean, that’s the beauty and also the challenge, because when it is your passion and when it is something you love, it’s like, well, is this work, or is this not work. Even if it’s your passion, you still definitely need to step away because it’s very easy, because it’s very isolating running your own business, especially if you don’t have partners. It’s very, very isolating. So, you really need to make a concerted effort to take care of yourself, really. To continue with like, the working out, seeing friends and family and just devoting time to your personal life, otherwise it will, as much as you love it, it will overtake you and at the end of the day, as much as businesses are great and I feel like Breathe Bar is my baby. It’s not a baby. But, you know, you definitely need to prioritize it accordingly. Because at the end of the day, no one’s going to say, like, oh, I wish I worked more. Or, I wish I missed that communion because… no. It’s like, you really need to still make sure that you have your values in check.
Wailin: [00:28:38] Right. I really liked what you said about how it’s not actually a baby and needing to remind yourself of that because I feel like it is really easy with these kinds of metaphors and clichés that got thrown around. Like, if you say it enough, maybe you believe it, right? So, even taking that extra second to be like, wait, this is not a baby. It’s a business. Right, and even being careful about your language probably does something in your brain in terms of how you approach your work.
Sylvia: [00:29:07] Yes. I think once I referred to it as my baby, like, yes, my baby. And I got so much positive reinforcement, it’s like, yeah, this is your baby. And I think it’s—you know, I’m single. I don’t have kids. And I think some people are like oh yes, this is your baby. They think, like, oh, this is where you can kind of channel all of your like, energy. So, people reinforce that schema, which… you know, I understand, I understand it. Because, it does keep you up at night, it does—I mean, there are a lot of similarities to, I think, having a baby. But it’s not the same thing. It’s not the same thing. At the end of the day, it’s a business. It’s work. And yes, it can be your passion, but it cannot be the end-all be-all. Because that will do a huge—even if your business, which, I think my business… It’s meditation and it’s helping people and it’s making such a big difference. At the end of the day, it’s still a business and it can overrun other parts of your life.
Wailin: [00:30:08] Setting boundaries can be useful for all kinds of work. Like, right now, Josh Tsui, who you heard at the beginning of the program is working full-time on a documentary about Midway Games in the ‘90s. But he’s carrying with him the lessons he learned from his career in video game development. Josh: [00:30:22] I’ve been making sure that I manage myself and make sure that right at six o’clock, I’m done, no matter what state I’m in. And I literally just walk away from the computer. I don’t—I have to make sure I save the files, obviously. But yeah, I just gotta walk away and it took me a while to get to that point, also. And mainly because it’s such a new thing for me.
Wailin: [00:30:46] And Chase has developed some good habits, too.
Chase: [00:30:48] With me, my work happens either in my office or at the kitchen table, and that’s it. If it’s nice outside, I’ll go outside and sit on the back porch. But that’s it. There’s no work in the bedroom. There’s no work in the living room on the couch. Those kind of places are off-limits for even my laptop to be there. So, having the option to, if I’m working in my office, my home office, and five o’clock rolls around, you shut the laptop. I walk out of the door and I don’t come back in until the next day. So, having that physical boundary almost has been really big. And being able to translate into this mental on-off switch.
[00:31:28] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Wailin: [00:31:34] Rework is produced by Shaun Hildner and me, Wailin Wong. Our theme song is Broken By Design by Clip Art. Thanks to Josh, Chase, and Sylvia for coming on the show to talk about their experiences. You can find Josh on Twitter at @JOSHYTSUI and the website for his upcoming documentary is insertcoindoc.com. Sylvia’s business is at mybreathebar.com and it’s also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @mybreathebar. You can find these links on our website, Rework.fm
Shaun: [00:32:09] We’re collecting stories for future episodes of Rework and want to hear from you. If you want to tell us about how you found a better way to run your business, or if you have a question about how Basecamp works, leave us a message at (708) 628-7850. Or you can tweet us at @reworkpodcast.
Wailin: [00:32:26] If you like this show, please help us out by telling a friend or leaving a rating/review at Apple Podcasts so we can be discovered by new listeners. Thanks, and see you in two weeks.