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Burn All The Boats - How one sole breadwinner transformed his career
By David Harder on October, 14, 2019

Burn All The Boats – How one sole breadwinner transformed his career

Four years ago, Dave Roth walked into the Inspired Work Program. He was confident, handsome, a father, and a marketing executive with a significant digital brand. One of his colleagues told him how the Inspired Work Program impacted his career. Early on, he said 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 beautiful family, and wasn’t really planning on making a career change. His narrative went downhill from there.


We ask questions. As Dave answered those questions, it became clear that his work created great conflict in his life. As a father, he is absolutely passionate about his son and daughter. And yet, Dave 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 families. All too often, that pressure removes any emotional room to make a career change or take a risk. Later 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’m finding that embarrassing.”


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, nonprofits, 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 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 significant compensation only two miles from his home. But, he was so enthused about the 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 dangerous 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 time, his newest 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 with work. Dave Roth 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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