When the Valve employee handbook was leaked back in 2012, I was struck by just how bold the ideas were. Sure there's the boss-less workplace structure, but what was truly compelling was the philosophies behind the book.
''This handbook is about the choices you’re going to be making and how to think about them. Mainly, it’s about how not to freak out now that you’re here.''
Strip away words like "financial return" and "game development" and it suddenly sounded as though Valve are giving you advice on life in general. Makes sense for a company that espouses a healthy life/work balance.
"Screwing up is a great way to find out that your assumptions were wrong or that your model of the world was a little bit off. As long as you update your model and move forward with a better picture, you’re doing it right. Look for ways to test your beliefs. Never be afraid to run an experiment or to collect more data."
But my favourite quote is the one just inside the front cover:
"A fearless adventure
in knowing what to do
when no one’s there
telling you what to do"
Now just imagine that being read aloud by Morgan Freeman. Feels nice doesn't it?
Ok, just one more:
"WHAT ABOUT ALL THE THINGS THAT I'M NOT GETTING DONE?
It’s natural in this kind of environment to constantly feel like you’re failing because for every one task you decide to work on, there will be dozens that aren’t getting your attention. Trust us, this is normal. Nobody expects you to devote time to every opportunity that comes your way. Instead, we want you to learn how to choose the most important work to do."
Article photo by Isado. Used under a Creative Commons license.