Say No to Your Inner Yes-Man

In the final stage of the LeadMD hiring process, I was asked the one question I always hoped someone would ask on an interview–but never expected anyone to ever actually ask.

Why do you want to work here?

I should clarify. I’ve been asked this question many times on interviews. But only once where it was instantly clear the person asking actually knew why this question is one of only two interview questions that actually matter. (The other being, “Why should we choose you over anyone else?”)

Now, because I’ve spent a decade chasing work life parallel, I was ready to answer. It wasn’t anything I’d call a polished response, but it was the unvarnished truth. I told him I wanted resistance training.

Why? Because while I’d launched my own magazine, written for others, blogged, and did online community development for a decade or more–I knew I’d never truly experienced push-back on anything I’d done. And you can achieve greatness at something without resistance.

If I didn’t feel like staying up late to publish something, I didn’t. I seldom looked at site traffic numbers because I didn’t care. I was writing what I wanted, for whom I wanted, when I wanted. I was my own persona. And I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, as broadly or granularly as I wanted.

I told myself, “Anything truly worth paying for sells itself.” In a sense, that’s right, but I’ve been my own yes-man for more than a decade.

Which means I’ve missed learning a lot of valuable lessons.

This post was inspired by having to re-do something as simple as sharing a link with correct UTM parameters three times in front of the entire company this morning.

That’s embarrassing. But embarrassing lessons are carved in mental stone, aren’t they.

Say no to your inner yes-man. If you want what you do for fun to be what you do for a living, you’ve got to step up your game–before anyone else is watching.


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