“I am so proud of you and what you all are doing there.”
 
That was how the final conversation with my grandfather ended before he passed.  Neither of us knew it was our last conversation, but my grandmother reminds me how much he enjoyed that last time call.  We share the same birthday, so it was a ritual to call every year if we weren’t spending it together. We had just finished talking about the therapies here at bluebird.  For a man born before we discovered penicillin…. He was always shocked.  Sprinting to middle-age, the influence my grandfather had in my life changed little from 3-year-old me to now
 
“What brought you to bluebird and what has kept you here?”
 
I was interviewing someone for a supply chain role and the interviewee asked me this question.  I had never been asked this question and it took me a few seconds to recover before I had to actually stop and really think it through.  I have a less typical story for how I got to bluebird than most.  I was living in Singapore on an expatriate assignment and a headhunter cold-called me (I still had my US cell phone).  Stars aligned and situations presented themselves – I actually answered the phone for an unknown reason.  A phone call with the headhunter and another with the hiring manager… in a few months I was in 215 First Street in Cambridge, MA meeting what had to be the majority of QA at the time.  What an impression the company made on me.  Passion, drive… you just felt it.  You had no choice.  If you wanted to jump on the boat, do it with both feet and with the conviction that we are building something amazing.  I flew back to Singapore and gave my notice.

Fast-forward two years to the interview question.  How to explain what was “keeping” me at bluebird?  I had an answer which was good enough for the interviewee but not good enough for myself.  I had to take inventory of everything that was going on, every project that was in motion.  I needed to see what impact I was having.  Was it the people management that got me up in the morning and into my car?  Was it the science?  Was it the relationships and comradery that we’re in this together? The amazing QOps team we’d built from the ground up?
 
Then I realized I was looking at it from the wrong angle.  It was all part of the journey but not at the core.  What REALLY, I MEAN REALLY, got me up in the morning?  All the items were interconnected but not one specifically more important than the other nor at the root of it. 
 
For me, it’s about being part of something more than yourself.  The real reason that I stay at bluebird is because of that feeling we’re making history, and not just any history but the kind that people look back at in 25 years and say ‘wow, that was a game-changer, that was amazing’.  Employees are invested.  We have called it a few different things since being my time here: make your mark, why I fly.  The reason these types of activities resonate with us is because there’s no faking it.  These are real genuine people who mean what they say and do – and that’s at all levels of the organization.
 
 So how does my grandfather’s statement and the interviewee’s question end up in the same story?  They both impacted me on a foundational level.  Knowing I show up every day to a job with so much meaning and to have someone I care about so much acknowledge what we’re doing meant was amazing.  Then taking the time for introspection into what it all means to me…
 
I hope you all take a minute to remind yourself and remember what got you so excited during the interview process to become an employee at your current company and what keeps you energized and engaged on a daily basis. It’s not always a simple answer and it can change – but take stock in that answer and nurture it… like a bird – ya dig?