Why I work
I get tremendous enjoyment out of my work at Faculty. Most of this enjoyment comes from fulfilling two needs.
I need to build things...
I get positive feelings of craftsmanship and pride from imagining something and then bringing it to life. This need to build things predates my interest in software. As a child, I spent days building gigantic castles in Lego. This transitioned into building wood furniture when I became too old for Lego to be socially acceptable. When I discovered programming and, eventually, software, at university, I was set: same positive vibes as woodwork, but less immediate risk I'll cut my fingers off. There's no other craft with the same iteration speed and potential impact as building digital products.
I still get the same pleasure now that I am in more of a technical lead role, and thus less viscerally connected to the construction process. It's less immediate, but equally fulfilling.
... and building things is more fun when it's shared
While building things by myself is fun, it's so much better when I can share the process of building things with thoughtful, open-minded colleagues that share the same goals. One of my great joys at work is collaborating on designing a feature or on solving a problem, getting to a solution together, and then building that solution together. I see work as predominantly social: the pleasure I get is from having positive social interactions and feeling part of a group. The work itself guarantees alignment and trust: I know the people I collaborate with share the same goals as me. It also provides an endless source of topics to collaborate on.
As I moved from an individual contributor into a more managerial role, I did more of the latter and less of the former, but my enjoyment remained the same.
Of course, there are lots of other positive externalities: by building things and building relationships around building things, I inevitably get better at both, so I feel like I'm learning continuously. Obviously, that's important to me too. But when I've learnt something, I get far more pleasure if I can see how it'll fix an impediment to what I'm currently building, and if I can share that with other people in the team.