I had coffee with a former colleague last week, and he told me something surprising he learned about himself. His new company has bench desking, and everyone’s space is a little less than three feet wide. At his previous company, he had a large desk with a sweet window view. He told me that “If someone had tried to get me to give up my old desk I would have put up a big fight, but at my new company, it’s not an issue. The space works. When we hire a new person, everyone squeezes together to make room.”
He learned something about himself.
At Fractyl, I recently moved from my river-facing desk to a bench in the lab. Our VP Quality moved from his desk to a bench in our inspection area. Both of us liked our desks. But we both realized that it’s not about our wants, or even our individual needs. It’s about the company’s needs. We needed to make room for new team members, who needed proximity to their colleagues. So we picked up and moved.
I learned long ago to think hard about my true needs, and to separate my needs from my wants. And my biggest need is for my company to be successful. Everything about your job is so much better when you play on a winning team.
I’ve written a lot about star medical device engineers. Star medical device engineers really want to play on a winning team. So they think hard about their true needs, and it shows.