The Simplest Way to Build A Fulfilling Career
I sat down with a fresh-faced MBA candidate this afternoon, over Zoom, on another ridiculously hot day here in Austin.
It’s not uncommon for the leaders — or, middle managers, at least — of tomorrow to request 30 minutes of face time with “senior” “professionals” to “pick their brain,” and I often try to make myself available to shape the way these kids (can I say kids? are 22 year-olds “kids”?) … ahem, young adults see themselves and their greater role in society for the next few decades.
Or, at least for the afternoon.
He asked me your garden-variety “brain-picking” questions, like “What do you do?” “How did you get started in your career?” “What did you want to be when you were in college?”
I entertained them all, but I really wanted to know what drove this young man. I wanted to know why he chose his field of study, his career path, and this company. His answers were as dull as a rusty spoon. I suspect mine were at that age, too.
Regardless, after nearly 20 years in the professional world, I felt equipped to give him some advice. Now, I’m going give that same advice to you — and hopefully make navigating a career as simple as possible for you.
First, I am going to make two assumptions.
- If you’re reading this, you’re not destitute.
- You’re not already fulfilled in your current gig.
I make these assumptions because, if you’re destitute, your choices and concerns become more immediate. It’s a lot harder to take a 32,000-ft view of your career when you’re in the weeds of student loan payments stacking up, not knowing where your next meal is, or the specter of sleeping on the streets looming overhead.
And, if you are satisfied doing what you already do, maybe click “close tab” and read one of my longwinded treatises on how tech is warping our brains instead.
“Do What You Love” Isn’t Bad Advice
I often do what I love. I get that a lot of people don’t get to say that.