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Pat Rodina

I just read the fish book and found very motivating for my own life and my work life.Your question makes one question their lifes occupation and role in this small time we are on this earth.I have been an RN for 30 years and lately have been working with geriatric patients.I often look at these elderly people and wonder what they worked for?Life has a natural progression and we have choices in our lives the allows us to say "I am happy or glad I made that decision" or I wish I had..." Myself,I have not regreted a single moment of my professional choice.I don't always see someone get well and go home but when I do,I know I had some part of that success.I also take comfort when I can help a patient and their family thru the dying process.
The answer to your question why do I work? Yes,it is money for my family who I hold as my main priority,but also 1.it is for the patient and their family and 2.It gives me great satisfaction and comfort to be in a profession that can help make a difference in someones life forever.

cindy hoffert

What do I work for? Thankfully, I work for income so my chidren can do extras outside of school, go to college some day if desired and we can all take a vacation occasionally. It also helps that I love being a Registered Nurse! I get to touch others, listen, look into eyes, ears, noses etc., and give full face-to-face attention to real people (usually children). Through the years I have been able to make workplace changes when I needed to do something different. Currently, I am a part time nurse so I can also be the minivan driver soccer/band mom which is another very nice job. Thank you for the positive spin on customer services. When I read about your FISH! philosophy it made me appreciate Pike Place Fish Market even more. PS: I believe you could BLOG with your toes.

Judy Jossi


The question “what do I work for” came front and center for me last week as I talked about disability insurance.

It began as the typical dry discussion -- complete with pie charts, graphs, numbers, pictures and lists of forms. As a self-employed mother of two children I know this is important, but somehow discussing all the myriad ways I could be “disabled” out of the workplace was unsettling to say the least. The agent then asked the BIG question of how long I would need income while I am “re-trained for other suitable work”

Now there’s a question. The thoughts swirl around and begin that wild middle of the night journey. Maybe I am not as smart as I think. What if takes years? What if I’m not really trainable at all? What if I have to paint with my toes? Will I get discovered and make a movie based on my toe art. Maybe PBS would pick it up.

Not only did it make me think deeply about the caring and nurturing of my children – it also made me think deeply about how much I do love to work and why I work. The cynic in me immediately jumps to the answer “ well to pay all the insurance premiums of course!”

But there are certainly other reasons for me. I work with a great team on great work for FISH! I do it because I love it. I thrive mostly on the people – but also on the problem-solving, the creativity, the ego’s, the eccentricities, the tantrums and the ultimate reward of seeing a wonderful, innovative job completed.

So, as I prepare to insure myself against my untimely and unexpected departure from the workforce, I reflect happily on how much I enjoy my work. Hey, I think I could probably type a blog with my toes!

Peggy Hanson

Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs kinda sorta comes to mind, as to Why am I here?..Really, truly and honestly..that is, if we are being honest here.

Because really, I need to be able to support myself- my family...I need to feel safe and secure, I need to feel like I am accomplishing what Ive set out to do, I need personal gratification, I need to help others..I need to have someone say..great job, your awesome..or to recognize my work or myself.

Thankfully, if any of those "needs" ever becomes threatened in anyway...those "crunchy" conversations can just be had.. and life can move along.

So, why am I here...physological needs, emotional needs, psychological needs, they certainly tie in...but there are too many facets to try and ponder.. I am simply here...because I CHOOSE to be.

4 years and counting...and it truly seems like yesterday that I walked through the door.

GO CHARTHOUSE!!

Randy Sims

Hmmm…crunchy conversations, eh? Sounds like food for thought to me. (I’ve also heard that carrots are good for your eyes. Maybe if I do enough thinking about this stuff I can get rid of my contacts!) In all seriousness, I think you’ve asked a pivotal question. “What are you working for?” is a way to get below the surface and examine some of the real nitty-gritty stuff that makes us the people that we are.

Here’s my answer, at least so far: I’m working for many of the same reasons everyone works. I need to make a living, to support myself and my family, to make money to buy the things that I need and/or want in my life. However, there’s a lot more to it than that for me. I worked in management in the transportation industry for almost twenty years. I was good at what I did, and I performed a lot of work-related miracles during that time (it’s amazing what you can do when you’re routinely confronted with time-sensitive deadlines). But over time that situation became toxic for me. I grew to loathe getting up every morning and going to that job because it wasn’t fulfilling what you’ve eloquently described as the “self-trusting, creative spirit within all of us.” I was spiritually and creatively miserable, and I had to get out of there before I caved in completely to despair. And so I left. I didn't even have another job lined up (not that I recommend that to anyone else), but it was the best move I could have made. That decision literally saved me from a soul-killing situation.

Today I’m still confronted with challenges, but I’m excited about the opportunity to address and overcome them. I’m fortunate enough to work on projects that make a profound difference in people’s lives. Though I still have my struggles (which I understand to be part of the human condition), I’m learning to trust my talents and my inner strength to a greater degree than ever before. I'm on an exciting personal journey of discovery, an expedition informed by The FISH! Philosophy’s optimistic view of infinite possibilities.

I don’t mean to sound overly religious here, but I’m convinced that answering one’s calling is a holy thing. Rilke’s poem speaks volumes to me, and I’ve decided that I don’t want to remain in my house, inside the dishes and the glasses. I don’t want to deprive myself or my children of the opportunity to pursue dreams and turn them into reality. I don’t want to lie on my deathbed and wonder about what might have been. I want to be alive and engaged in what I do and in how I do it. I want to consciously choose who I’m going to be at every moment, no matter what I may be doing. I want to purposely decide how I’m going to show up in the world, and a big part of that personal “showing up” involves responding the question, “What are you working for?” I’m working because it brings meaning and significance to my life. I work because it fulfills and energizes me to learn and grow and further develop my skills. I work because when I do my job to the best of my ability it makes me a better person and it helps make the world a little bit better place. Those seem like pretty sound reasons to me.

Thanks, John, for provoking this little filibuster. I look forward to more of your blogging. If subsequent posts are as provocative and mentally stimulating as your first one, we're all in for a treat.

Hip Deep Halper

Who said "the medium is the message?" It might be useful to think of "real content" as ideas that stick to the ribs. Real content always plays an equal part with the way the content is presented. Without both ying-yanging back-and-forth, dancing salsa with one another, content is predicatable, goes in one ear and oth the other, fails to stick to the ribs.

Who said, "You have to laugh with us, at us, and take us seriously, all at the same time, or you going to miss the point."
It's all a big confluence, blending high playfullness with soulful seriousness. Nothing is prescribed, the path unclear, but the result is always known. It's participation with content that leads to things that stick to the ribs.

Mark Thompson

Fish is a simple and deep set of basic ideas that yield meaning for a remarkable diversity of folks, particularly in the helping professions like schools and health care where people had come to the cause for meaning over money. John brings uncommon heart and thoughtfulness to mission of marketing. It was a privilege to meet him in Napa yesterday. m

Josh Hawkins

Wow, this is a little intimidating. Mainly because of the question: "What are you working for"? It forces some uncomfortable, and exhilarating, introspection. I mean, I work to pay bills, "get ahead," take vacations, buy presents, take in some entertainment, cough up a little cash for some non-profits - usually around Christmas time ;-) But, when you strip off all this stuff, you have to look yourself in the mirror and ask that scary question - "What are you working for"? For me, it sure aint ideology, and it's not religion.

I feel pretty darn lucky, and privileged, to even be able to ask the question. I have managed to surround myself with very smart, very engaging people who pursue excellence, and are passionate about work. I think it boils down to genuine curiosity and interpersonal creativity.

I was at a conference a couple months ago where Guy Kawasaki asked everyone in the room to work for companies with remarkable products - something you can believe in. And I think when you do this professionally, it just rubs off on absolutely everything.

Hugh Macleod posted some great thoughts on his blog - he hits the nail on the head. "The market for something to believe in is infinite... We are here to find meaning. We are here to help other people do the same. Everything else is secondary. We humans want to believe in our own species. And we want people, companies and products in our lives that make it easier to do so. That is human nature. Product benefit doesn't excite us. Belief in humanity and human potential excites us.

He goes on: "People are not just getting more demanding as consumers, they are getting more demanding as spiritual entities. Branding is a spiritual exercise. These are The New Realities, this is the Spiritual Republic we now live in.

The soul cannot be outsourced. Either get with the program or hire a consultant in Extinction Management. No vision, no business. Your life from now on pivots squarely on your vision of human potential."

Hmm. Maybe it is religion :-)

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