What Are You Working For?

A letter from the founding editors.

Last summer, we put together a cover package that hit a chord with the Fast Company community: Our ”How to Design a Life That Works” issue (July:August 1999) has proven to be the best-seller at the newsstand in Fast Company history. (Okay, it’s a short history, but you get the point.) That reaction got us thinking about the other half of the compact that governs life in the new economy: Can you make your job work — and your work matter?


Here at Fast Company, we tend to take it as a matter of course that work today is personal. But, like any deeply embedded assumption, this one merits a closer look. Does your work inspire you — or has it betrayed you?

We put together a package that offers you a chance to decide for yourself. Start by reading “It’s About Time,” this month’s Unit of One feature. Designed to help you get control of work and time, it brings together 17 hands-on contributions — from such time-tested veterans as the man who saved the Swiss watch industry and the woman who created Day Runner calendars.

Next stop: “The E-Lance Economy,” the opening piece in our Report From the Future. Katharine Mieszkowski visits the emerging digital world — a world where we go from being freelancers to being e-lancers.

From there, go to our cover package, a three-part head-on look at what makes jobs work — and what doesn’t. “Betrayed by Work,” by Pamela Kruger, explores the dark side of the new economy: the side on which work becomes too personal. In “Inspired by Work,” founding editor William C. Taylor interviews Eric S. Raymond, who looks at work from the perspective of those who develop open-source software. Raymond says, “The best people in any field are motivated by passion.” “Great Expectations” offers the findings of the latest Fast Company – Roper Starch Worldwide Survey.

If your job isn’t working for you, read “Reinvent Yourself,” by Ron Lieber. Want to change the way your team works? Read our pieces on how to build “Extreme Teams” and on how to take an “Extreme Off-Site.”

That’s a lot to read. But, given how hard we all work, there may be nothing more important than making sure that your job works — and that your work matters.