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The Heretic is a free dispatch delivering insights into what it takes to lead into & in the unknown. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Jul 21st, 2023 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Don’t Be a Career

As so many of my posts start with, “Recently, I spoke with a friend of mine…” this one does too. The other day, a friend reached out and asked for some “career advice” – he recently moved on from his old job and is currently in the exciting-yet-dreaded phase of “figuring it out.”

After my usual disclaimer of “don’t follow any of my advice as I never had a grand plan for my career and always just ended up doing what seemed fun and challenging in the moment,” we got to discuss the concept of a “career” in and of itself.

Which reminded me of a comment from Steve Jobs:

Don’t be a career. The enemy of most dreams and intuitions, and one of the most dangerous and stifling concepts ever invented by humans, is the “Career.” A career is a concept for how one is supposed to progress through stages during the training for and practicing of your working life.

The emphasis here is on “supposed to progress through stages.” Life isn’t a video game (despite some people vehemently believing we do live in one) where you move from level to level, fight the boss at the end of each one, and then face the ultimate test when you meet the final boss. Some crafty moves, impeccable timing, and a lot of game controller button smashing later, and you’re done: the princess is free.

That is not what life is about – and it surely is not how life works. Especially not today – in a world which is ever more uncertain, where change is exponential, and timeframes have become compressed (Weissman score greater than 5).

So… the best I can tell (that’s me – and I am not a career counselor), the best thing you can do is to lean into the future and enjoy the ride.

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