WorkLife with Adam Grant
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So I was working in real jobs like a grownup human being, going to the office and wearing fancy clothes and doing those kinds of things, having bosses and getting paychecks and things like that. And after a certain time, I couldn't stand it anymore.

Adam Grant: That's Dan Pink. He used to work in the White House as the chief speech writer to Vice President Al Gore. And although Dan liked his boss, he hated having a boss.

DP: I like deciding what I'm going to do, not being assigned something. I like determining when I'm going to come into the office, not having someone else say, "We've got a meeting at 8:30, you have to be there." I like saying, "This weekend, I'm not going to work," rather than "This weekend, you have to work."

AG: So he quit. And since then, Dan has been his own boss.

DP: It's always a struggle. I love having me as a boss; I hate having me as an employee.

AG: Freedom is often a double-edged sword. But it doesn't have to be. There are better ways to be your own boss whether you work for yourself or for someone else.


I'm Adam Grant, and this WorkLife, my podcast with TED. I'm an organizational psychologist. I study how to make work not suck. In this show, I'm inviting myself into some truly unusual places, where they've mastered something I wish everyone knew about work. Today: how to be your own best boss and not your worst employee.

Thanks to Bonobos for sponsoring this episode.


Even if you have a boss, you still have to manage yourself. You make choices every day about which tasks to prioritize, who to invite to a meeting, how to start digging out of your overflowing inbox. But if you're like most people, you've craved even more freedom. It's a theme that runs across centuries of work. In medieval times, mercenaries became freelancers to escape the iron rule of oppressive kingdoms. During the Renaissance, apprentices ditched their mentors to take charge of their own crafts. And now, we have more and more people working for themselves. Across the United States and Western Europe, there are about 150 million independent workers. Dan Pink anticipated that trend back in the late 1990s, long before the gig economy started booming. He quit his job at the White House to study people who are working for themselves, and he ended up writing a book about them, called "Free Agent Nation."

DP: I went around the country. That was my methodology. And I interviewed people all over America who were going out on their own as freelancers, e-lancers, small proprietors, people with small start-ups, and did long, qualitative interviews with them to try to figure out what they were after.

AG: There's something very meta about this. It's like the "Seinfeld" episode with the coffee table book about coffee tables, where you strike out on your own to write a book about people who strike out on their own.

DP: What I found was not so much an economic story, but really a psychology story. And people were seeking something in work. They were seeking a sense of autonomy; they were seeking a sense of authenticity; they were seeking to do their own thing their own way.

AG: You sound like my four-year-old son, who said to me the other day, out of the blue, "I can do what I want."

DP: I actually think that your son is expressing human nature, and that our nature gets beaten out of us by institutions and circumstance. You go anywhere in this world, anywhere on this planet — I defy you to find me a two-year-old who is not self-directed and curious.

AG: When you're your own boss, you get to be self-directed. You can choose what to work on, how and when to do it and who to collaborate with, which is one reason why surveys often suggest that on average, the self-employed are more satisfied with their jobs and one of the happiest occupations is entrepreneur.

DP: I think with entrepreneurs, you have the autonomy, you have the efficacy and you have some degree of purpose.

AG: You also get to choose where you work, and one of the most popular choices is working from home. Take a recent experiment by economists. In call centers, when people were randomly assigned to work from home, they were 13 percent more productive and they were half as likely to quit. That's not just because it saved them commuting time.

DP: I think it's because they can fashion the pieces of their life in a way that works for them that day, and they're not taking off-the-shelf solutions from an HR department, and they're doing it with some amount of liberty, and they're free from the gaze of bosses and colleagues.

AG: If you have a traditional job, being your own boss can sound like a utopian fantasy. It's liberating, but it can also be paralyzing. You lose your safety net. Your livelihood is riding on your own ability to be productive and to produce something of value. And when you struggle, there's no one else to blame. It's on you.

These obstacles exist even if you're really successful. Dan has been is own boss for two decades. He's written six best-selling books. But those challenges he saw in other independent workers — he runs into them, too.

DP: I had a panic attack once, and that was when I was working on a book and I thought I couldn't finish it. It was that feeling of saying, "Holy crap. I am not going to finish this thing. I cannot get it done." I'd never had that kind of experience, ever, in my life, and it was just ... it's like being possessed.

AG: When you're working for yourself, you don't have a built-in team to help you get unstuck, or a boss checking in on you. You have to motivate yourself.

SA: You know, we rail against our bosses, but having a boss, also, is a source of comfort.

AG: That's that's Sue Ashford. She's a management professor at the University of Michigan. She recently published a big study that was inspired by her neighbor who makes ceramics.

SA: And I remember wondering, "How does she do it? How does she get herself up on a dark, rainy day in January and go to her studio and do that work when I'm struggling so much, and yet there's a whole organization waiting for me to come and so forth?

AG: If you work in an organization, you probably take for granted all the simple structures that help you get work done. You have a schedule, you have a workspace, you're surrounded by people who are also working. Sue wanted to figure out how people manage themselves when they don't have those structures. So she studied independent workers like her neighbor, who are their own bosses. She interviewed artists and software developers, consultants and graphic designers, screenwriters and coaches.

SA: The freedom was both wonderful and challenging. So now that I'm free to be anything, what do I want to be? Now that I'm free to work in any way I want to work, how do I want to work? And they also loved having that freedom. Very few of them ever mentioned yearning for an organization or wanting to change it or go back to an organization.

AG: Sue and her colleagues found that independent workers created four structures to help them stay on track. The first structure was place: finding a space where they were productive.

SA: One man who was an executive coach said, "Maybe I'd wear shorts in the summer, but other than that, I'd put on some sort work-type outfit, and I'd go down to my lower-level office, and I was then 'at work.'" Another person — she was a screenwriter, and she said, "I do all of my creative work in my bed."

AG: The second structure was routines: forming habits around a regular schedule. Like a writer who said,

SA: "You need to do something to make sure you're actually getting the work done." And even though his work was very creative, he said, "One way that makes sense to me is to do it like a bricklayer." You know, that you need to lay a certain number of bricks every day. He found he had to put himself into that mode of productivity rather than chasing creativity.

AG: The third structure was ongoing interaction: having conversations with people who offered encouragement and direction.

SA: Everybody talked about creating some sort of connection. If you're a writer, you talk to your editor. If you're a coach, you had a fellow friend who was a coach. But what's interesting about it is what functions those people played. Part of it was affirmation — you know, "I think this actually could work."

AG: And the fourth structure was purpose: reminding themselves why they were doing this work in the first place.

SA: So it's sort of like painting your work on a bigger canvas helped them reframe their struggles when they had them. So for example, this person was a rug designer. And she said, "You know, when you look at it, I work on my hands and knees in my disgusting basement, but I don't care." And she went on to say, "Picasso worked in some paint-strewn studio, and he's who he is. And I know I'm not ever going to be that, but long after I die, people are going to have my rugs. And you know what? I'm not even sure that's important. What's important is the self-fulfilling part of your work."

AG: These structures are especially important for independent work, but they're relevant elsewhere, too.

SA: The most important management in the future is going to be self-management. Any work, even in organizations, if it's work where you have some degree of autonomy, you can structure it how you want — these lessons apply to all of us.

AG: Dan Pink has been studying self-management for years. He gets to test out the lessons in his own work. When he's facing writer's block, one of his favorite steps is to shift his perspective. He doesn't try to solve his problem. Instead, he thinks about what advice he would give to someone else facing that problem.

DP: What would I tell somebody who I cared about, who's a good friend, who's in the situation? I'd say, "You know what? Do one small thing. Wake up the next morning and do one small thing to make some progress."

AG: So when you talk about giving advice to a good friend, psychologists call that "self-distancing," and it seems to help because so often, we're looking at our own problems through a microscope, and we need a wider angle to be able to zoom out and get some perspective. And so, is that what it does for you?

DP: I think it does. In some ways, it gets me out of my own self-absorption. And when I say what I'd tell a friend of mine, I almost always know the answer, too. And that's actually very revealing, too.

AG: When you're grappling with your own problems, you're in the weeds. All you can see is the process of doing the work, which is daunting. When you take a step back, you can see the purpose, which makes it more motivating. Once you've reconnected with the reason you're doing this work in the first place, you can start to design a structure that works for you. There's a name for the way you shape your own work. It's called "job crafting." It's something every independent worker does, but odds are you do it, even if you have a boss.

DP: I think it's essential in any kind of job. The difference is that no one has to give me permission to do job crafting. It's what I do.

AW: It's about redesigning what it is you're actually doing in the job.

AG: This is Amy Wrzesniewski, an organizational psychologist at Yale who coined the term with our colleague, Jane Dutton. You're job crafting whenever you change the tasks or actions in your work, whether you're adding them, subtracting them or revising them.

AW: By the end of a process of job crafting, what somebody ends up with is a job that behaviorally is executed, and sort of looks different than it would have been when they started.

AG: Instead of just accepting a job description that was written for someone else, you customize the job to fit your strengths, values and interests. You become an active architect of your own work.

AW: We were studying people who clean hospital rooms as their job.

AG: The hospital cleaners were working in pretty rigid jobs, but that didn't stop them from taking on tasks that weren't originally part of their roles. There was one cleaner who would go into rooms where patients were comatose and rearrange the paintings on the walls.

AW: Though these patients are unconscious, maybe by changing something in their environment, it could spark something — maybe outside of any awareness we might notice — that could spur on their healing or spur on they recovery in a way that could make a positive difference. We were curious about, "Oh, is that part of your job in this particular unit?" And the response she gave was "No, it's not part of my job, but it's part of me."


AG: If you work independently, you can decide where to bring those core parts of yourself into your job. But that's a lot harder if you have a boss who isn't on board with your image of your job. And even if your boss is supportive, what about everyone else? Could there be a whole organization where people can craft their own jobs? Where they get to be that self-directed?

DP: That's our default setting: autonomous and self-directed. And so I think what we have to do is build organizations that run with the grain of human nature.

AG: There's a workplace that goes to the extreme on giving people freedom. So much freedom that they've run successfully for decades without a single boss. More on that after the break.


This is going to be a different kind of ad. I've played a personal role in selecting the sponsors for this podcast because they all have interesting cultures of their own. Today we're going inside the workplace at Bonobos. Bonobos' co-president Brad Andrews likes to set a high bar.

Brad Andrews: "Fit for every man" is the mantra that we rally around.

AG: Living by that mantra means asking one simple question.

BA: What are customers coming in and asking for that we do not offer?

TK: Oftentimes we wouldn't be able to accommodate those that had really big quads or bigger butts, and even if we put them in our most generously cut pant, they would still be too tight.

AG: Tyler Kantor manages the Bonobos shop on Madison Avenue in New York. He says this wasn't an isolated incident with buff guys.

TK: It would happen weekly — guy after guy come in, really feeling kind of dejected and these guys have grown up and lived their entire lives buying pants that are one, two, three sizes too big for them so that way it can fit their legs, and then they'll have the waist taken in by a tailor.

AG: Yeah, I know you're really feeling sorry for these guys. But remember, the mantra is a "fit for every man," and at many companies, this issue might never reach someone in a position to do something about it. But at Bonobos, before a new collection is released, they hold a special meeting to collect input from employees in every role.

BA: Merchandising, planning, design, production, marketing, tech —

AG: And most importantly, employees like Tyler Kantor, who interact with customers one-on-one.

TK: I remember my regional manager at the time actually nudging me, like, "Hey, Tyler, speak up. You need to share this feedback."

BA: One of the members of the guideshop team said, "For our customers that are really muscular, we can put them in our straight-fit, but it's still too tight up top. And even if it does fit up top, it's way too wide down at the bottom."

AG: And what's important here, Brad says, is to be a boss who actually listens.

BA: It can be hard to hear you're wrong. And I've learned over the years that you have to get used to hearing that, because you're not going to bat a thousand, and you're not going to be perfect as predicting the future.

AG: So they started doing some market research.

BA: We used to have a saying that you listen to anecdotes and you act on data.

AG: After figuring out there was real demand, they decided to develop pants that could fit the super-fit.

BA: And thus the athletic-fit pant was born.

AG: And it's become super popular. Tyler remembers the first time he sold a pair.

TK: His heart, I think, exploded but he didn't cry. It was right then we knew — oh my gosh, we've got something here.

AG: Bonobos makes great clothes that can fit every guy. Ordering on their website is super easy, they ship fast, and if it doesn't fit your giant muscles, they want to know. Try it today at and you'll get 20 percent off your first order. That's for 20 percent off.


AG: Freedom and structure; autonomy and community. Is it possible to get the best of both worlds? If you're not going to work independently, is it possible to build a whole workplace that runs productively on self-management?

I keep hearing about an organization that does. It's called Morning Star. If you've ever eaten ketchup, pizza or spaghetti, you've probably had Morning Star's product. They make tomato paste — a lot of it. And they've taken freedom to a crazy extreme. They've eliminated bosses all together. They've been profitable for decades, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars of annual revenue, and they've done it all without any managers. It's hard for me to imagine a workplace with no hierarchy, so I went to Morning Star to see how it works.

I'm in Northern California, about an hour and a half away from San Jose after driving for a long time on dusty roads. As I walk up to the door, I see someone waiting for me.

If this place has no bosses, how do we get permission to come in?

Sujei Gonzalez: One of us decides you guys can come in.

AG: That's Sujei Gonzalez. She works in organizational development at Morning Star.

So what if somebody disagrees?

SG: They could approach me and ask what you're doing here.

AG: And no one has so far? SG: No one has.

AG: I love the fact that you're an authority figure with no real authority.

SG: Exactly, exactly. So yeah, you guys can come in. We'll see how this goes.

AG: Processing tomatoes is cleaner than I expected, but also a lot louder than I expected. So I suit up with a hard hat and earplugs.

Employee: Let me get you guys set up with bump caps and hairnets —

AG: I'm walking around their main plant. It smells ... well, like if your house was filled with a few million tomatoes. There are a lot of tomatoes here. I think I was unprepared for the full scale of the tomato operation. I see people working on the lines and I keep reminding myself there's no one monitoring them. They're managing themselves.

I'm really curious about how they get anything done without a chain of command. In 2002, Google tried to get rid of managers and the entire company almost fell apart. As much as we'd like to complain about bosses, the evidence suggests that they add value. In a study of video-game companies, managers had three times as much impact on revenue as the innovators who designed the games. Hierarchies exist to bring speed and efficiency. Managers play a bunch of important roles. They make decisions, they coordinate people, they resolve conflicts. So there has to be a boss somewhere at Morning Star.

Employee 1: I don't have a boss. I'm my boss.

Employee 2: Technically, we don't have bosses. I'm my own boss, but my mission is technically my boss.

Employee 3: My mission. My mission is my boss.

AG: Normally, managers set the mission and design your job. When there are no bosses, how does that happen? Morning Star has a cool process for giving people freedom to craft their jobs while making sure they're in sync with their colleagues. You get to create your personal mission every year. You start by writing down how you plan to advance the company's goals. Then you discuss it with the colleagues who are most affected by your work to get their [buy-in]. I'm thinking this is something that could happen in any workplace. Too often, we're in the dark about what our colleagues are actually doing. If we sit down to talk through how we're trying to advance the organization's goals, it might be easier to collaborate. But at Morning Star, I'm wondering how they trust people to follow through on the mission when there are no bosses.

SG: You were able to get here today at the time and date that was prearranged —

AG: Sort of. I was a little late, as usual.


SG: So your colleagues should take that up with you. I would encourage them. Anyhow, so you arrived here, I was able to arrive here, our colleagues are all able to arrive here: who tells you when to fill up your car with gas? Who tells you when to get up in the morning? Who sets your alarm for you? Who told you what to wear today? There's all these decisions that we're making. We're not making them in a vacuum, because you could speak to your significant other —

AG: Or my car says, "If you don't put gas in me, I'm going to not work."

SG: So there are consequences to all our behaviors. That's what happens in our real lives, yet what about crossing that threshold gets us to now need a boss?

Chris Rufer: If you need a manager to manage a truck driver, the assumption is the truck driver can't do the job. If the truck driver can't do the job, do you want to be in the truck with a truck driver who can't do the job?

AG: That's Chris Rufer. Early in his career, he ran a trucking company. Then, he built the tomato factories that Morning Star operates today. He's the owner.

CR: It's not "fire all the managers," but it's fire all the managers in the traditional sense of managing another human being — that a boss is responsible for the human being and the employee is a "subject." That really bugs me, when executives talk about "my people." It just grates me.

AG: When bosses are controlling, employees often rebel.


AG: One of my favorite studies happened in a sawmill. They were losing a million dollars a year due to theft, because employees were stealing huge equipment — even forklifts. The senior management team tried to punish them. They decided to install hidden cameras to catch and prosecute the thieves. So the employees retaliated. They hatched a plan to steal the cameras. Eventually, the company hired a colleague of mine who helped them drop the theft rate to nearly zero, overnight. All they did was introduce a policy giving employees permission to borrow equipment any time they wanted. It turned out the mill employees were bored in their jobs and stealing for the fun of it. Employees took pride in competing to see who could get away with taking home the biggest piece of equipment. Once it wasn't stealing anymore, it killed the thrill. The thieves became good citizens. All it took was to give them a little freedom.

That's the appeal of self-management. You get a lot of freedom. But it's also a huge risk. It takes a ton of work. It's a pretty far cry from how many leaders are used to operating.

Ethan Bernstein: Most people actually like being the boss. They might not like making decisions, especially some of the decisions bosses like to make, but they like sitting in the chair.

AG: That's Ethan Bernstein. He's a Harvard Business School professor who studied self-management at Morning Star, Zappos and a few other companies that have tried it out.

EB: These are organizations that have some things in common. They have a leader — a founder-leader in most cases — who wanted this to happen, and so, ironically, forced self-management from the top. Different organizations are enticed by different aspects of it. Some are attracted to the adaptability; others, quite frankly, want to save costs — both dollars and time — by reducing management layers. Still others are driven by a personal mission. They simply believe in the democratization of management and they push their organizations into self-management almost like a religion.

AG: And the kinds of people who thrive in a self-managed company are similar to the ones who work well independently.

EB: The people who are winning in today's job marketplace, especially the gig marketplace, are those who are better at structuring their own work. The better you can get at structuring — finding the process through which structure is created — structuring your work such that you don't actually have to rely on a structure to do it, the more ultimately valuable you are.

AG: It's not just creating structure and being self-motivated. At Morning Star, the most valuable colleagues are the ones who identify strongly with the company.

Hans Younce: If you cut me, I bleed tomato paste, not blood.

AG: That's Hans Younce. He's been at Morning Star for three decades. He was there at the beginning, with Chris. Today Hans works in evaporator operations and maintenance, and he has a few side gigs, too.

HY: Oh my goodness, yes, I'm a magic clown. I do magic, juggle on the unicycle.

AG: From one magician to another, I respect that.

HY: Magic is cool, isn't it?

AG: We're probably the only two people who think that.

Think about your workplace. Where does power come from? In most organizations, power is positional. It comes from the authority of a title and the ability to dole out rewards and punishments. But when there's no formal hierarchy, power is personal. It comes from you.

HY: Knowledge is power. The person that knows the most is usually the boss.

AG: Power also comes from proving that you represent the group. Psychologists call it prototypicality. The people who rise to informal leadership roles are the ones who most strongly embody the group's core values, which is why Hans has earned so much respect at Morning Star.

Here's the owner, Chris Rufer, again.

CR: Hans' prestige — he is there working — if he takes a day off all summer long, he's calling in: "What's going on? How's it going?" He's really committed to the success of, particularly, his evaporation unit and particularly his factory. So he's very dedicated to getting things done — getting them done right. He puts forth effort and he is competent.


AG: Morning Star may not have managers, but they do have management. Instead of having one boss who's always in charge, they agree on who the right person is to lead in a given situation and grant authority to that person. In too many workplaces, authority is driven by the Peter Principle, coined by sociologist Lawrence Peter. The idea is that people get promoted to their levels of mediocrity, and then they get stuck there. They're not good enough to get promoted again, but they're not bad enough to lose their jobs, which means important decisions are made based on seniority instead of by the people who have proven their capability.

If you're used to power coming from positional authority, it can be tough to adapt to self-management. Chris learned that the hard way when Morning Star hired a guy who'd been an executive at a traditional company.

CR: He burst out of this meeting, and he says, "You can't get anything done in this company." And so I said, "That's interesting. You know, you've got a good point there and in one sense, you can't get anything done real fast, but we just built the largest factory in the industry in about five months. How did that happen? Well, I'll tell you how it happened. A heck of a lot of good people really took their missions, plowed through and made it happen." He was not a team player at all.

AG: Why was it so hard for him to get things done?

CR: He wanted things to happen his way, right now.

AG: Morning Star hired another guy who had been pretty senior at a hierarchical company. In his first week on the job, he turned to the receptionist.

CR: And he says, "Can you get me some coffee?" And she just looks at him and says, "The coffee is around the corner, get it yourself." And he never could get over that kind of a thing.

AG: You've probably seen something like this happen in your workplace. It's the natural reaction we all have to someone who tries to exercise power without status. If they don't have direct authority over you, they actually have to earn your respect. Without that respect, you have a conflict. Managers normally spend a big chunk of their time mediating conflicts — helping people resolve their differences. At Morning Star, there are times when people don't agree with one another's missions. Without managers, how do they handle that conflict? Here's Hans.

HY: We've got ways to settle conflict. And he first one would be talking to you and just working it out. The second one would be we'd get someone else involved and they could referee it, and then hopefully we'd all agree. You want everyone to say, "Yeah, that's right, good, let's go." And now, we can start rolling in the right direction again.

AG: One of the worst parts of a manager's job is having to fire people. At Morning Star, firing is everyone's responsibility. If you think I need to be fired, you can just ask me to leave, but I have the right to say no. And if I do, we need to agree on a third party to mediate. But I ultimately still have the freedom to choose whether to accept or reject the request. If we're not on the same page after mediation, we bring it to a larger panel of colleagues.

SG: You and I have to gain agreement. So if you still say it could be unanimous that everyone — and this has happened, actually, fairly recently — unanimous that everyone else says, "Adam, we all think you should leave," and you say, "I don't agree."

AG: Then what?

SG: Then it goes to Chris, and that's the last step in the process.

AG: So Chris is in charge.

SG: For this particular — you caught us. So for this particular thing, yeah.

HY: See, I didn't bring that up because I don't like that part.

AG: You don't, why not?

HY: Why should he have to be involved at all, right?

AG: I'm starting to think there is a formal hierarchy at Morning Star. If people still haven't gained agreement after a panel weighs in, it goes to Chris. He has the option to make a decision himself, delegate the decision to someone else, or bring the people together to gather more information. But as the owner, Chris has the final authority. So is this really self-management? I asked Chris about it.

When I think about these examples, like personnel decisions, if they at some point have to get escalated all the way to you, I can't help but think, are you the boss?

CR: Give me the definition of a "boss" then, so I can answer that properly.

AG: When I think of a boss, I think that's the person who's in charge.

CR: Yeah, OK. So the answer would be yes, I'm the boss, OK?

AG: Wow.

CR: Think about that. my definition of boss is somebody who has unilateral and absolute authority over another person's actions in the enterprise. That's how I define "boss." So the way I'm saying yes is not quite like that. I'm saying yes in the sense that my mission is to operate this enterprise as best as we possibly can. Bottom line is if it's unilateral authority over another person and their actions within the enterprise, then I say, no, I'm not the boss. I don't prefer to be that, But when it comes to the point where nobody can decide on something, then yes, I have to make the decision.

AG: You're the line of last defense.

CR: Yeah, the last one.

AG: Got it. And so if I work at Morning Star, can I fire you?

CR: You can request. So here's the thing: you can request anything. So the point is nobody has unilateral authority over another person — as a person, OK?

AG: That's what self-management is really about. It's not whether you have a boss. It's whether you have freedom from constraints imposed unilaterally by an authority figure and freedom to make choices about your own work. This extreme form of self-management at Morning Star is not for everyone, but I think there are pieces of it that we could bring into any job or any workplace. If you're a manager, you can probably give your team more freedom than you realize. You could start with a conversation you're already having. Exit interviews. When great performers are leaving, you sit down with them to find out what would have kept them. But that's the last possible time you should be asking. Why wait until they're on their way out the door? Instead, try entry interviews. When new people join, sit down with them in their first week to find out what their favorite projects have been in the past and what aspirations they have for the future. Then you can begin working with them to craft their jobs in ways that align with your goals as well as theirs. If you have a boss, you might try initiating that conversation. Ask your manager for advice on how you can incorporate your strengths into your job or develop new skills, and on how to make the job you want one that's good for the organization. And if you're your own boss, working for yourself doesn't mean you have to work by yourself. You can choose new people, new places, new projects, new routines. If you have a vision of a better job, you have the freedom to create it.


WorkLife is hosted by me, Adam Grant. The show is produced by TED with Transmitter Media and Pineapple Street Media. Our team includes Colin Helms, Gretta Cohn, Dan O'Donnell, Angela Cheng and Janet Lee. This episode was produced by Gabrielle Lewis. Our show is mixed by David Herman with help from Dan Dzula. Original music by Hahnsdale Hsu. Special thanks to our sponsors: Bonobos, Accenture, JPMorgan Chase and Warby Parker.

Next time on WorkLife: how to prevent work from taking over your life. Woman: I have diagnosed you with civilization's disease: burnout, and there's nothing the medical profession can do for you. You have to change your life.

AG: That's next time on WorkLife. Thanks for listening. If you liked what your heard, please rate and review the show. It helps people find us. See you next week.

AG: Has anyone ever requested to fire you?

CR: I'm sure they have, under their breath.


But not formally.