WARNING: This post is probably going to be rambly. I don’t plan to really check much and am just going to let things go onto the page.
Working from home is awesome. It’s great to have the flexibility to get a few personal things done on the side and I always feel more productive than when I’m at an office. Those water coolers take a bunch of time. Unfortunately, being away from the rest of the team for extended periods of time can make ya feel a little blah about work. Not that the work isn’t fun, but you do lose some of the excitement around what’s going on. This is really true at Trek, which is a fun-as-hell place to go to the office.
I went up to Madison this week with almost everyone from the team. Even some of the folks from our UK and Switzerland offices were there. Lots of new faces on the team, too, because the bookkeeping service has just really exploded…since I’d been there last, the number of cubes has increased by at least 50%, plus they are all full. Of course they’re still excited, because they’re still new. Spring has sprung, at least it had on Monday, so being Wisconsin, people were getting excited about that, too. I got to hit the trails for a mountain bike ride on Monday in absolutely perfect weather. Then it rained for two days and was chilly…I’ve brought that home with me as today’s high here is in the low 50s.
The coolest thing is the excitement I see just by where I work. Folks love to say “We are bike people” all the time, and everyone seems to know that everything they do at work revolves around making cycling better. It’s not just making bikes. Far from it. We make and sell all kinds of bikes for all kinds of people, and those people all work there. We have those heavy-ass bikeshare bikes and our bikeshare business. Lots of folks just ride those around to and from the offices for transport. You don’t see them get off the bikes in a foul mood. The roadie folks get all kitted up to go on rides during lunch and come back all sweaty. People get on mountain bikes and slash through the forest, then come back with grit on their eyes and smiles on their faces. It’s a pretty cool scene.
Exciting things happen when people are excited. It’s not just fun stuff, either….it’s work stuff. We had several continuous improvement type sessions with the team and it was great to see what came of them. I don’t take support calls from our customers, but it was really cool to get to add my perspective on things during the meetings. I have been on a helpdesk and I know how things go, so it was cool to be respected enough to get to make a few points. Folks weren’t just idly sitting there, either…you could see they were excited about working though these things too. In past jobs, you got a sense from about 80% of the people that they were just being forced to be there and that they knew nothing of value would come from the meetings. I don’t think that was the case here. I’ve been in some similar meetings before from other teams and knew that nothing would come from the results, but I’ll be really shocked if this was all for nothing. People just like to work on this team and want things to even get better.
I come back from the office every time with a renewed sense that I’m working in a cool place. I also come back thinking about all the things I should be riding my bike for. I’ve tried riding as “training” and I didn’t really enjoy that. I did my century last year, but never got the same feeling from it as I do my running routine. Maybe it’s that runner’s high or something. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a cyclist, though, and ride my bike for transportation purposes, or maybe I should get a mountain bike and hit some trails for fun. This summer for the National Bike Challenge I’m trying to do more riding for transport. I just throw my laptop in my backpack and go to Starbucks or wherever to work. I’ll even go ride out to get some lunch, too. We have mountain bike trails about 1/2 a mile from my house, too, at Tower Park. They are pretty washed out and technical, with lots of exposed roots and rocks, but I think I’m getting an inexpensive mountain bike later this year and trying to hit the trails with it.
There are definitely some personalities at work that help make this happen. The fellas from UK and Switzerland were awesome to be around. Between them they shred a lot of trails and log a ton of road miles. Great guys. Impossible to be around them and not get excited about bikes. The same is true for tons of other folks in the office…I mean, you see fit people having good times and you have to just want to join in.
If there’s ever a day that I leave Trek, it’ll have to be for a serious pay raise or something. I don’t see how the grass could be greener anywhere else. Trek has internal problems just like every other place. Egos and opinions clash, seemingly good ideas get squashed sometimes, and people make mistakes that have to be fixed. That’s just normal stuff. It does feel that everyone has a sense of what the big goal is, though, and that’s awesome. We are all there to make cycling more fun, safer, more popular, and to make some bucks. Really, it almost feels like that last part is secondary. We have goals just like anyone else does, but it feels that if the choice was to improve cycling or make a few extra bucks, Trek would pass on the bucks. Trek spends a lot of money in the community, on things like the International Mountain Bike Association and People for Bikes. We also have some cool side businesses like B-Cycle and Trek Travel, that make cycling more exciting and useful to everyone.
I’ve only been home for an evening, so these things are still fresh in my mind. Now I’m stoked about my job again. Happens every trip.