Social

Why I Quit Being Social

 
 

Lately I’ve been sharing a lot of dreamy things — our extended trip through Europe... an epic hike around the Alps... the upcoming release of an inspired collection of art and chocolate… 

And while it’s been marvelous broadcasting any and all of these endeavors, there’s one adventure I wasn’t able to share until now.


I fired myself from my company.


The decision was a few years in the making but the conversations, negotiations and legalese that made the separation official were completed just before I stepped onto a plane bound for Portugal. And while being on another continent was a welcome distraction for almost two months, I knew I’d have to tell the world once we returned. 

Fortunately, breaking the news went so smoothly that, looking back, there was no reason for a self-respecting, C-level, type-A personality like me to have Googled “How to Write a Farewell Letter When Leaving a Job” in the first place. 

Though I didn’t include warm and fuzzy gems like “I’ve enjoyed my tenure here,” or “Thanks for your support during my time at ABC company,” I’m proud to report that the top-shelf folks in my life eagerly embraced the announcement.

It was, ironically, the dialog with myself that ended up being the most difficult. 

After working tirelessly for more than 13 years to build my utopian version of a design studio, Social was the most stable, capable and creative iteration I have known. Not to mention, I was finally entering a time in my career when I could exit worker bee mode to guide the next generation of talented folks that shared my vision.

So WTF?

In short, being at the helm of Social no longer makes sense for me.

While I am proud of the collaborator, mentor and business owner that Social helped me become, I regret to admit that the years of hustling to fulfill the dreams and demands of others has left me incapable of tending to my own. It would seem I got so caught up in being Social that I forgot how to be my own person.


I crave the freedom to experiment with new ways of making, including the pressure to perform and the potential to fail, uninhibited by feeling responsible for others.


Rather than alter the trajectory of our work by bending projects to my will or redirecting the energy of our team, I learned to finally accept that I would travel this path alone. Of course, “alone” is relative when you exorcise your demons on a blog so I decided to share this here because, who knows, maybe you’re grappling with a major life decision too? (You’re not alone either, but you already knew that, didn’t you?) 

With time, I’ve come to trust that what appears to be a selfish, impetuous decision on the surface is, ultimately, best for everyone. In the event that someone should start a rumor about me entering early retirement (thanks a lot, Dad), know that I remain as curious, insatiable and obstinate as ever and I’m thrilled to be redirecting my creative energy full time into Batch.

So here’s to sometimes quitting in order to never give up. As always, I welcome you to join in the adventure.

Pasta is Social

One Year, 12 Pastas

Unless you count the time Zan tried to master hand-pulled asian noodles while I was away on business (gotta love his the lack of hubris), it’s taken years to work up the courage to try making pasta from scratch.

Ironically, after all the overthinking, we were totally unprepared for our inaugural attempt...

We were just days into our stay in another country, in a stranger’s apartment with access to only basic utensils. Hubris in check, we kept our first shape simple. We chose orecchiette (translation, ‘little ear’), a pasta from the heel-shaped region that completes Italy’s boot. 

We made it a few times then invited our hostess to dinner. It was thrilling! Not only because it was not disgusting, but because it tasted like only made-fresh-with-our-loving-hands-then-delivered-straight-to-your-heart could taste.

It was also a poignant reminder that great meals have less to do with experience or equipment than they do with intention.

In our kitchen, the most prized ingredient is not saffron or truffle — it’s time.

Time to cross reference dozens of drool-inducing recipes, gather fresh ingredients and slow dance between mixing and rolling. And, of course, time to truly savor the meal, meditating on all the lovely things that make it worth the extra effort.

Connected to time, sharing is the other essential. We learned this one years ago when we started Social lunch —a weekly meal where work comes to a halt so we can gather as a team and break bread. It’s still one of my favorite things about Social and, no surprise, our longest running office tradition.

We hosted this past Social lunch at our home and everyone took part in the pasta making. And while we shared the tips and techniques surrounding the making (not to mention calories), we also shared the intangibles that make a meal truly memorable — good company, lively conversation and positive energy.

Time may be limited, but sharing knows no bounds.