Breaking bread with another person is a sacred ritual. Many of my relationships have burgeoned or solidified over lovingly prepared food; during the kind of slow, meandering conversations that can only occur over a long meal.
This experience has afforded a very simple rule that protects me from thousands of hours of work I do not enjoy.
If the mere thought of having a meal with someone is taxing, can I expect to be happy working with them? It is hard enough in ideal conditions to overcome the countless – and I do mean countless – inherent obstacles to producing work that is meaningful and creates moments of clarity – or better still – sublime beauty. If I do not want to eat with someone, chances are we do not share enough philosophical common ground to spend months together struggling with difficult problems. It has been a very good litmus test. The flip side of the lesson: try to eat with all those who introduce joy into my work.
The ritual good meal at a table set with intention has pushed many of my logged hours in to the happy column.
Clients become collaborators. Collaborators become friends. Friends share mutual respect, finding joy in their mutual work.
Next installment posted Wednesday, June 22:
I Never Do a Job for the Money