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Office Space Cathedrals

I’m going to try something new this week.

I’ve been feeling stuck writing the book lately. I’ll spare you the gory details, but needless to say, the publishers are getting pretty antsy about the project.

Frankly, I think I’m spending more time avoiding writing than actually writing.

So, in the spirit of eating my own dog food, I’m going to practice “living by experiment” and try a new way of writing.

This week I’m going to write it right to you, right here, in your inbox.

And in return, I’d love any feedback you have about the ideas, the framing, the stories, or… anything. If you have thoughts after reading it, I want to hear it. 🙂


Just hit REPLY and tell me what you think: the good, bad, and ugly.


I’m going to start the experiment, illogically, with Chapter 2: Your Relationship To Yourself.



“What would you say… you do here?” – Bob Syldell, Office Space


When Bob says this line, the emphasis is on the second part.

“What would you say… you DO here?”

But I think it’s more useful to place it in the first part.

“What would YOU SAY… you do here?”


Because what “you say you do,” is more important than what anyone else says you do.

Yes, even what your boss says.

Your answer reflects your mental model about what you do, how you measure results, and your ‘real value.’


Let’s turn to the old story of three workers.


In the distant past, a man came upon three men on a construction site.


He asked the first, ”What are you doing?”


“Laying bricks,” said the man.



He approached the second with the same question.


“Building a wall,” replied the second.



Finally, he asked the third man, “What are you doing?”


“Building a cathedral,” beamed the third.


People approach building a cathedral very differently from laying bricks. It impacts how we measure progress, understand our contribution, and even our self-identity.


One is a manual laborer; the other is doing God’s work.


While I suspect none of you lay bricks for a living, you might have written code, designed interfaces, or been an expert maker of some sort. No matter what you were making, you could see the value in your creation.


But when you stop making and start managing, it’s hard to see your value.


You might feel like a “Meeting Monkey” – mindlessly rushing between meetings, living on caffeine and donuts, along with the other meeting monkeys.


Understanding the specific, measurable, tangible value in the work you do is vital.


It focuses you work toward what matters, and away from what doesn’t, and gives you the energy to continue forward.


Tomorrow: How to find your greatest value.

Have a reaction to this? Hit REPLY and give it to me straight. 🙂

Stay curious,


About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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