Not a Boss - Seth O'Byrne

Intro to a book I may or may not write but probably should write.  Originally written circa Winter 2015.  If you or someone you know is "Not A Boss" please click on the link at the end to be a part of the book/series.


 Imagine being 6 months into a new job, having a mental breakdown and telling your new boss, “this is my 3-5 year plan”.  Most bosses would hear something like that and prepare your exit for you. That’s other bosses though, not Seth O’Byrne, who is the exact opposite of what our minds tell us a boss is.  He drinks his coffee out of a cup that reads “this may be vodka”, spills green juice on his Ted Baker shirts almost daily and has a skateboard in his car when he needs to take a mental health day.

This emergence of cool bosses isn’t entirely new but 6 years ago it was something foreign to me.  I was sitting at my corner cubicle desk when my best work friend sent me a Facebook screenshot of a local realtor looking for an assistant.  She came around the corner and said “he’s the one that throws the fun parties”. A few days later I found myself having an hour long phone conversation with Seth and was essentially hired on the spot.  We had an in-person interview a few days later and I handed him my resume but I’m pretty sure that was only to follow standard business operating procedures.

Seth and I both took a chance the day he decided to hire me.  He was a Realtor, both of us coming out of the greatest recession our economy has seen, and taking a chance that we would both make our lives a little better.  He “had a few good months”, some money saved and decided to go all in on an assistant that could potentially help him grow his business. My “all in” was deciding to work for a relatively unknown Realtor that “throws fun parties” without any guarantee that the Real Estate market would bless our hard work with any success.  10 months into it Seth called me before heading home for the holidays, he wouldn’t be able to pay me until our next property closed. Typically one would be freaked out but we were in the midst of closing out 10 properties that month and celebrating the achievement of our biggest month. We went “all in” in April 2012 and both ended up winning December 2012 and every year after that.  He paid me on New Year’s Eve and as a bonus gave me ownership of the work computer I had been using for photography on the side. I remember us saying “we just need to do that every month” and we continued to grow more year after year.

My relationship with Seth has turned into one of the most influential relationships of my life and continues to give beyond the 4 year plan it turned into.  I went from a job that I was generally unhappy with where I felt overworked to a job where I was valued, appreciated and compensated more than appropriately and THEN decided to quit the best job I’ve ever had to clean toilets in Lisbon and decide to write this book.  

I’m not shitting you (pun absolutely intended!), the idea to write this book came to me when I was cleaning a toilet.  It was June 2016, the month of festas in Lisbon, I had been partying until 6 am and was severely hungover...correction, I was definitely still drunk.  The fumes from the cleaning solution in the bathroom must have been getting to me because I thought “I quit my job to clean toilets for free?”. Don’t get me wrong this was my plan, I wanted to travel like a traveler and that included cleaning some toilets in exchange for a place to sleep.  

There are probably plenty of ways to gain perspective and a sense of gratitude for what you have/had but if you want to do it the Alina way then party all night, drink too much, get 2 hours of sleep and clean 6 bathrooms on a hot summer day with no A/C or windows.  Bonus points if you decide to climb up and down 3 flights of stairs in between each bathroom.

    This is essentially meant to be a guide on how to a great boss and even if it falls on deaf ears I’ll never regret spending some time to write about one of my favorite people on the planet.  Maybe you’re a young business owner thinking of making your first hire; maybe you’re a business owner that’s been doing your thing for years and wondering how to shake things up in your business and maybe you’re one of our mutual friends that’s been a supporter of Seth and myself for years; whatever the situation Welcome and Thank you!

To Be Continued...