On being a Numad

Patrick recently began working with The Numad Group to investigate, plan and implement successful fundraising and communications programs. While working from a remote location, he wrote this reflection on his work as a Numad. 

I have been sitting at Starbucks in Rockford, Illinois since 7:00 this morning; it is now 9:37. After driving three and a half hours last night, the Tall White Chocolate Mocha was a great way to start the morning. Employees are hustling about – one is taking orders, while the others are fixing drinks for the customers beginning their own busy days. I can see the line from where I am sitting, and though there are only a few people in it, it has been a virtual revolving door and the line has been a constant. There is the casual customer in shorts and a t-shirt, a Nurse in her scrubs, and a rushed businessman who apparently has somewhere to be.

I have been working on developing a campaign plan for one of our clients in South Dakota, and though there has been a lot of work going on, it hardly feels like it – work that is. There are always times of stress no doubt, but there is something more to this all. I don’t think it is the anticipation of a paycheck, no matter how nice that may be. I think this euphoric gratification is something else entirely.

A young woman, whose name suddenly escapes me, stopped by to ask me a few questions. She is in training for store management, and wanted to know three reasons why I was here today. The quality of the product, the history of corporate social responsibility at Starbucks, and the general environment were my answers. I had to add a fourth reason for future visits though, the fact that she was sitting here talking to me face to face, having a real human interaction - an idea that seems to be lost on so many people and organizations. I did not tell her that I was working from here because I was leaving later this afternoon with my girlfriend to go visit her parents and friends at their Wisconsin lake house immediately after work. Talk about work-life flexibility!

There is something truly special about this. Not the working from Starbucks – though I am not going to lie - that is pretty neat. It is the work that I am doing, though the term “work” does not do this ritual justice. At The Numad Group, what we do is really something else entirely, and for the first time I feel like I have a greater understand of what it means to be a Numad – the ability to step back from the daily grind and recognize the value of working towards the common good, and the sacredness with which such an endeavor is filled. The name of that sacredness – relationship – is what makes us tick, and it is what makes a Numad. There are no motives or hidden agendas, no utilitarian shallowness - merely genuine, unadulterated, authentic relationship. I believe that “the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”[1] This is the source of the euphoria I feel. It is from more than doing work.  It is from more than having a vocation.  It is from getting to be me.

Patrick Schmadeke
The Numad Group