During Scott Heiferman’s keynote talk at CMX Summit NYC, he said something that has stuck with me ever since: “If you’re building a community for a brand that does not really need a community around it, quit your job. There is plenty more meaningful community to be built.”
We often talk about how employers can determine if a community needs to be built or how to evaluate CMs, but it’s not so often that we talk about community managers evaluating our employers.
So I sat down and thought for a while about what sorts of questions I would ask myself to determine whether or not I felt it was worth building a community for a brand. And I boiled it down to 4 solid queries.
Go ahead, ask yourself these four questions about your work:
- Does it fulfill you?
- Do you pour your heart into your work and get love back (from colleagues as well as from the external community)?
- Do colleagues believe you add value? If so, what value do they think you add?
- Do YOU believe you add value?
If you said yes to those four questions, keep chugging.
If you’re unsure about any of them, these are all fair questions to ask others and to reflect on further. And if you’re unsure about number 3 specifically, you probably need to ask your boss(es) to help you structure your goals in a way that clearly tie into larger missions for the company.
If you said a solid no to these questions and you keep putting off the inevitable: Please, for the love of all that is beautiful and creative and meaningful, quit your job.
Life is far too short to sell your time to your employer if you don’t love what you do and believe in it. Think of all the things you could be doing: working freelance, working with people to build a community from scratch that makes the world a better place, starting side hustles on Etsy (or with Lyft or TaskRabbit or Shyp, etc.), creating a blog, starting a business, traveling the world and working along the way.
You should really leave if you answered no to the above 4 questions (I’d argue that you should leave if you said no to even 1, but I know some people are more risk-averse than others) — even if it means taking time and figuring out what you really love to do. And if you keep telling yourself that you need to save up XX amount of money to do that, read Elle Luna’s piece for courage and know that you’ve got options (Cloudpeeps is one of those).
Let me know how your journey goes or if you’ve been on this journey before. I’d love to hear your story in the comments. Then we can share a story or two while we build something meaningful and true to ourselves.
Now I’ll leave you with this: