The Job Hunt

The Sleep-in-Your-Car Test

Isaac Morehouse
October 2019

We have a simple test for applicants. I call it the sleep-in-your-car test. There are people who are willing to sleep in their car to get what they want and those who aren’t. We’re interested in the former.

No, we don’t actually ask people to sleep in their cars. Yes, we look at intelligence, communication skill, evidence of ability to create value, and other skills and knowledge. But those are relatively common compared to those who pass the sleep-in-your-car test. It’s about effort, grit, determination. It’s about attitude and not being too good or too pampered to roll up your sleeves. It represents that blend of wild, Silicon Valley-idealism with down-to-earth Midwestern work ethic.

The sleep-in-your-car test is our way of identifying quality entrepreneurs and creators. The type who seek autonomy, freedom, responsibility, and growth—both personally and professionally. They don’t need to be only in software or tech.

Self-directed living and entrepreneurial thinking aren’t only for the tech economy, but they can only be had by those who care more about success on their own terms than the pleasure of the crowd.

I get it. It’s easier to do what everyone else does and succeed within the confines of the given system. All the smart people are capable of doing this. But we don’t want just smart people. We want people not afraid to ask why they’re doing it. 

We want people who don’t care what will get them the easy applause of others but only what will help them discover and create a life worth living. You’ve got to have the thing. If you know the journey might require hardships, and you still charge boldly ahead, you’ve got the thing.

The world is awash in guarantees. Those who seek guarantees, and worse those who trust them, are not the sleep-in-your-car type.

The reality is that there are no guarantees. There are only varying degrees of probability. And the things with the highest probability of leading you to a life identical to the crowd’s idea of success are often those with the lowest probability of leading you to being fully alive.

This is a big adventure. You’ve got roads to travel, ideas to explore, people to meet, things to test, challenges to face and overcome, failures to learn and bounce back from, and the kind of sweet success that can only be enjoyed when hard-earned. If sleeping in your car for a dream sounds exciting, that’s a good sign you’re awake. 

It’s hard to define exactly how we identify those who pass the sleep in your car test. But you know it when you see it. It’s visible through attitude and action. There’s something just a little different. It’s not fearlessness—we’re all afraid—but the way in which fear isn’t treated as an insurmountable obstacle, but a game.

Are you willing to sleep in your car?

This post was adapted from a post originally published at isaacmorehouse.com

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