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By David Harder on July, 7, 2018

Burn All The Boats – How a sole breadwinner reinvented his career

Four years ago, Dave Roth walked into the Inspired Work Program. He was confident, handsome, a father and marketing executive with a major digital brand. One of his colleagues strongly suggested that he come participate in the program. Early on, he told us he didn’t know what to expect and was questioning why he had given up a weekend to be with us. Dave had a great career, a wonderful family, and wasn’t really planning on making a career change. His narrative went downhill from there.


We ask questions. As he answered those questions it became clear that his work created great conflict in his life. Dave is absolutely passionate about his son and daughter. And yet, he spent four hours a day commuting to and from his job. To varying degrees, he felt they were growing up without him. Sole breadwinners often have a syndrome. Their number one mission is to take care of their family. All too often, that pressure removes any emotional room for making a career change or to take any apparent risks.


Later during that first morning, he had another evaluation that he didn’t like. He told us, “I have been sitting here trying to find the meaning and purpose in my job. All that I can come up with is that my role is about increasing shareholder value and nothing else. As a role model to my children, I don’t like that.”


Shortly after the program, Dave Roth founded Emergent Digital, an advertising agency that serves “good news” organizations. In other words, his firm supports social entrepreneurs, education, green energy, non profits, and other businesses that make our world a better place to live. I had the privilege of helping him launch the firm. We spent quite a bit of time together working on the business plan and connecting him to client opportunities. One day, he called. The moment I heard the tone in his voice I said, “You’ve been offered the perfect job, haven’t you?” A marketing firm in San Diego had just offered him an executive role with great compensation just two miles from his home. But, he was so enthused about his new business that he declined the offer. The company CEO said,”You’re burning all the boats.” He told Dave of Julius Caesar invading Britain almost 2,000 years ago. After making a long and perilous trip from Rome, his men were exhausted. The enemy soldiers were standing across the cliffs of Dover. Upon landing, Caesar ordered everyone to burn the boats. Dave was giving himself no alternative but to succeed.


Today, Emergent Digital is a thriving and growing business. Good news organizations tend to have great stories to share with the world. In a relatively short period of time, his newesst challenge is in scaling the business. More importantly, Dave Roth has been spending far more time with his children and is showing them that you can make a good living and love your work.


Our curriculum drives each participant to their ideal relationship towards work. Dave Roth is an ideal example of someone who applied a little bit of courage to what he wanted and came home – a winner.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.


Schedule 15-Minutes to Discuss Your Workplace or Career with David (Here)


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