Work for Two CompaniesChris Riccomini on November 8, 2021
You work for two companies, whether you know it or not. These companies are your “big-C” (as in uppercase-C) and “little-c” (as in lowercase-c) companies. Your Company job is your 9-to-5. Everyone knows they work for a Company and what their job entails. Surprisingly few know that they work for a “little-c” company, let alone how to do the job.
The classic definition of “company” is a commercial business. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Slack, Lyft, Uber, and so on. But “company” has another definition: the fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment. When parents tell kids, “Mind your manners, we have company,” this is the kind of company they’re talking about.
Your “little-c” company is the latter type–the relationships you’ve formed over the years. Friends, co-workers, managers, direct-reports, and so on.
You are the CEO of your company. Your job is to give and to get help, to listen and to talk, and to support one another. Do your job by keeping in touch with ex-coworkers: have zoom calls, coffee meetings, Slack workspaces, Discord servers, Twitter discussions, and LinkedIn messages. Help find jobs, help write blog posts, help source sales. Facilitate connections and discussions. Give thoughts, give and get advice, and act as a sounding board.
This isn’t sleazy “networking”. There’s nothing sleazy about checking in on people you genuinely care about and offering them help. Nor is there anything sleazy about asking your friends for help or advice.
The returns you get for this “work” go beyond good Karma. Everyone needs help to get where they are, and everyone needs help to get where they’re going. Paying it forward is a great way to give back, and it really does feel good. You also get a community of people that you work with through the entire arc of your career; an invaluable asset that will help you find new jobs, projects, opportunities, and still more acquaintances.
Don’t just work for your Company, work for your company.