Jesus said before you build a house, understand the cost. Four years into Tomfoolery, I think I know what He means. People who build homes often say, “It always costs more and take twice the time”. I think that would probably highlight the naivety we all face when working out a dream from our mind to reality. I started Tomfoolery because I wanted to experiment. I was frustrated with the working system. I was a slave to deadlines, budgets, overheads, commitments, and lived under a constant sense of impending of doom. I naively figured if I started my own business I would be able to control those variables and therein shape the life I wanted to live.
Four years down the line, I am working harder with more deadlines, greater overheads and more responsibility. I have severely missed the mark of my own expectations and have paid a huge cost financially, socially, family-wise and emotionally. But here’s the interesting thing. I have been a part of building something that means something: something of value, a business, an asset, a brand. We have shaped culture and set standards; we have pioneered, failed dismally and pissed people off; we have ruffled feathers and received applause. We have dared greatly. Maybe the problem like the aforementioned house-builder is around my expectation, the goal-post of what I set out to achieve, the naivety in my plans and what it would take.
Interestingly, I don’t fully get this because with all my heart I want to believe that work should be fun and that we shouldn't have to kak off; but from what I have experienced a part of work is just work. It costs the customer, the business and the employee all something in the value chain, and no matter what packaging you place on it at the end of the day it seems that is the gig. I think what makes it more difficult is our expectation and the ideals we bring to the task; it is the naive belief that work should be fun all the time and we shouldn't have to pay a price when in reality neither of those can ever be true. This would make my team’s commitment to changing “work” from the inside either a life-long cross, or a cross we must bear until others feel given permission to bravely live in the tension instead of existing solely for profit or “fun”.