Is great work worth $1 million…$20 million?

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, relays a story in his autobiography about his first company (not Zappos).  He was offered $1 million.  He was in his early twenties.  He turned it down.  Why?  At the time, he thought the company could grow a lot more.  But he also was enjoying his work.  A year later, Yahoo offered $20 million.  This time he was certain that the price was right.  Yet, he did not immediately grab the money.  Why?  He loved what he was doing.  He was building something he cared about with people that he liked. For his lifestyle, he had enough money (even though he was not a millionaire yet.)

I’m sure some people reading the book cannot in any way relate to Tony’s story.  I can.  If you like your work so much that you don’t dream of cashing out, then you are in the correct career.  Picture a craftsman or a musician or a priest or a health care worker immersed in their careers.  These people do not come to Career Counseling Connecticut.  They have no interest in changing their careers.  I’m sure there would be some price that would make them stop their work but I’m also sure they would do so only because they could use the money for affirmative reasons like helping family as opposed to escapist reasons like “I can’t wait to stop working.”

We help people everyday change their careers.  Our greatest successes occur when we get notes a few years later: I found happiness in my career.