Do You Have to Love What You Do?
Steve Jobs thought so. But Jason Fried, co-founder of 37 Signals, argues it isn't essential.
Here are today’s highlights:
Job listings for remote work are declining.
Wages continued to rise in the third quarter.
Mortgage rates have topped 7 percent for the first time in 20 years.
If you’re worried about the economy, you might want to root for the Astros in the World Series.
It has become conventional wisdom that if you want to do great work, you have to love what you do. Jason Fried doesn’t buy it: “There’s nothing wrong with loving what you do, of course—I just don’t think it’s a prerequisite for starting a business or building a fulfilling career, let alone doing great work. In fact, I think it’s disingenuous for really successful people to put so much of the focus on love, just as it’s disingenuous for really rich people to say money doesn’t matter. People tend to romanticize their own motivations and histories. They value what matters to them now, and forget what really mattered to them when they started. It’s human nature, so it’s an easy thing to do.”
“I talk to entrepreneurs all the time, and many of their companies sprang into existence for similar reasons—because the founder wanted something that didn’t exist or scoped out an opportunity to do something better than it had been done before.”
“Love for their subject matter may or may not play a role in their stories, but hate for the existing options, along with strong opinions about how things could work, does and is a much better predictor of success.”
“Even today I don’t always love what I do. The paperwork, the reporting, the day-to-day minutiae that come along with responsibility for growing a company that's bigger than it's ever been—none of those things make me swoon. Yet I’d still rather be running 37signals than doing anything else.” READ MORE
Remote job listings are declining: “In February 2022, a record one in five jobs advertised on the site in the U.S. offered remote work. By September, this figure had fallen to just 14 percent. Meanwhile, the allure of these opportunities has only grown: Remote job listings attract 52 percent of applications, up from 50 percent in February.”
“While the share of U.S. employees working from home was slowly rising before Covid-19, the pandemic accelerated that trend by about 30 years, according to research by Stanford University professor Nick Bloom, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México professor Jose Maria Barrero, and University of Chicago research associate Steven Davis.”
“These patterns have leveled out, the researchers found, with about 15 percent of all Americans working fully remotely, 30 percent maintaining hybrid schedules and about 55 percent working in-person full-time.” READ MORE
Starting next week, companies in New York City with at least four employees will have to include salary ranges in job listings: “Under a new city law that goes into effect on Tuesday, nearly every company will be required to include salary ranges for job postings, both those shared on public sites and on internal bulletin boards, and even for those jobs that offer a hybrid schedule or can be performed fully remote. Here’s what the law will mean for employers and workers in New York City.”
“The salary ranges must be provided in ‘good faith,’ the city says, which means that they must accurately reflect what the company would be ready to give a new employee.”
“Company executives and business groups were caught off guard, complaining that they were not consulted on the legislation and were unaware of it until just before it was approved.”
“That criticism led the city to delay the start date to November from May and to make some tweaks, including removing the fine for a first-time offense; subsequent offenses, however, can cost up to $250,000.”
“A spokeswoman at Indeed said that an increasing number of openings on its site across the country now included possible salaries provided by employers.” READ MORE
If the Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series, you can expect an economic crisis: “When Philadelphia baseball teams do well, in a pattern that has held for a century, financial markets tend to strike out. It started with the old Philadelphia Athletics (before they left town). Their 1929 championship preceded the stock crash and Great Depression. In 1980, the Phillies won their first World Series, and a recession raged right through 1983, when the team again got to the final round and lost. The Phils won the World Series a second time in 2008, and boom: a home-run financial crisis.”
“Now, the scrappy Phils will be back on the big stage against the favored Houston Astros, and it is as if this struggling economy already knew it was going to be in trouble.”
“Mark Zandi, chief economist at what is now called Moody’s Analytics, speculates that because the Phillies have won the World Series so few times, when they do, ‘It is clear something is off the rails in the cosmos.’”
“As a Philadelphia native, he says he will cheer a Phillies championship, ‘but I will also be buckling in.’” READ MORE
Wages are still rising: “Worker pay and benefits rose rapidly in the third quarter from a year before, maintaining pressure on inflation. The employment-cost index, a measure of what employers pay for wages and benefits, rose 5 percent in the third quarter from the same period a year earlier, the Labor Department said Friday. That was a slightly slower pace than in the second quarter but still well above gains prior to the pandemic. On a quarterly basis, wages and benefits rose a seasonally-adjusted 1.2 percent in the third quarter from a 1.3 percent increase in the second quarter. The third-quarter gain matched economists’ expectations.”
“Wages and benefits have been increasing rapidly since the middle of last year as employers competed for workers in a tight labor market.”
“Recruiters report that the intense competition for workers earlier this year has declined recently and employers have become pickier about whom they hire or whether they decide to fill a position.”
“‘Many clients are becoming more selective and requesting to see more candidates for their open positions,’ said M. Keith Waddell, chief executive of Robert Half International, a recruiting firm, on an earnings call last week.” READ MORE
Mortgage rates pass another milestone: “Mortgage rates topped 7 percent this week, the highest level in 20 years — and the latest sign that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive moves to slow the broader economy are hitting the housing market hard already. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage, the most popular home-loan product, reached 7.08 percent, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac. The last time mortgage rates climbed so high was April 2002, and they are slated to keep climbing as the Fed moves swiftly to tame a red-hot housing market, a key step in lowering rent costs and ultimately quelling inflation in the broader economy.”
“The average mortgage rate has gone up dizzyingly fast. A year ago, it was 3.09 percent; even as late as March, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was below 4 percent.”
“Demand for mortgages has also plummeted as quickly as rates have spiked. Total application volume is at its lowest level since 1997, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.”
“Refinances are down 86 percent from where they were a year ago, and mortgage lenders nationwide, including at major banks, have let employees go as the market slows.” READ MORE
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The New York Times offers a somewhat bleak view of economic life in the city: “America’s downtowns faced hard times long before the coronavirus pandemic — troubles brought on by suburban flight, economic dislocation and freeway-construction projects that gutted neighborhoods, among other things. But the blast waves of Covid posed a threat that was new, and even existential, for places where density is part of the DNA. The virus upended where we work and live and play, and confronted cities with rising crime, crisis-level housing shortages and racial and class inequities that raise the question of who it is, exactly, that downtowns are meant to serve.”
“The major companies that once secured Hartford’s claim to be the ‘insurance capital of the world’ have drastically reduced their footprints downtown, as employees opt for remote work. In the past year alone, Travelers Insurance, UnitedHealthcare, Prudential Financial and others have relinquished hundreds of thousands of square feet of downtown office space. ‘I worry about it every day,’ said David Griggs, chief executive of the MetroHartford Alliance, the region’s chamber of commerce.”
“In this part of the Loop, the heart of Chicago, the scene on Friday afternoons resembles that of the dark, spooky days early in the pandemic, when people rarely ventured out of their homes and office buildings were barely functioning. Restaurants are quiet now, especially on Mondays and Fridays when working from home is most common, and Mr. Bruno said he was constantly watchful for pickpockets who prey on his few customers. Many nearby storefronts are vacant, with real estate brokers’ signs in the windows offering leases. One real estate company estimated earlier this year that one-third of Chicago’s downtown storefronts were empty.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
A Founder’s Year: Successful Raise, Fast Growth, and Mental Health Issues: This week, Hans Schrei tells Shawn Busse this has been a difficult year at Wunderkeks—despite many outward signs of success. It has to do with buying into the need to raise money and shoot the moon. It has to do with accepting the accolades that come with entrepreneurial achievement and then questioning your own self-worth when those accolades stop coming. It’s what Hans calls, “the miracle worker complex.”
You can subscribe to the 21 Hats Podcast wherever you get podcasts.
Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren