Love What You Do

I love to write. Writing is a key component of what I do and what I have always done at Benefitfocus, whether it has been writing for our website, creating our product documentation suite or composing business requirement documents. In my six-year tenure here, I have had great opportunities and have worn many different hats, most of which included putting words on paper. That has been my passion and my talent.

When I was interviewed at Benefitfocus, I remember saying, “I want to make a difference every day.” That may seem simple, but it is important to recognize that in order to be successful at any task, you have to associate a goal with your passion. Think of it this way - If you love to cook but you don’t try new recipes, your dishes may get old and tired. If you set the goal of learning a new recipe every week, you tie your passion to your goal and have a much better chance of success.

So the question is…how do I make a difference every day? I practice. I practice writing every day, both at work and in my spare time outside of the office. I practice by learning more about our software. I practice by reading about healthcare reform, our clients and the latest trends in the industry.

I also think about my audience. To me, audience is essential with any writing or editing task. I have to be able to put myself in someone else’s shoes and see the world from his or her perspective. If I can do that, then I can provide anticipatory service. And if I can do that, I can make a difference every day.

When you love what you do, you think about your work as your career, not as a job. The difference is huge. A job is what you do for someone else when you have to do it. A career is a long-term commitment that shows you are a passionate person who cares about your team, your company, your clients and yourself. Shawn wrote about it recently in his “It’s a Marathon” post.

Here’s another way to look at it. Years ago I saw a great documentary about Dick Schaap a few months before he passed away. Schaap was an incredible writer who published over 50 books, mostly about sports, and he was deeply involved in his work, and it showed. In his autobiography, Schaap said that he met a lot of wonderful people in his life, but he really cared deeply about three sports teams in his lifetime: the Brooklyn Dodgers, Willis Reed’s New York Knicks and Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers. The Green Bay Packers were the first team to care back, and that meant a lot to him.

I think I know what he means. I have worked for other software companies, higher education institutions and government contractors. I’ve been fortunate that I have had a lot of great opportunities and outstanding managers. But I have a career with Benefitfocus, and I love it. I get the sense here that the feeling is mutual.