Career Silver Bullets

At one point or another, you’ve probably fallen prey to wishful thinking just like anybody else. Heaven knows I have.

“If only I could just ace this test…”

“If only I could get into this school…”

“If only I could just get this job…”

“If only I could get this raise…or this promotion…”

And on and on ad infinitum.

Most of us aren’t delusional – we know most things worth having take time and effort and sacrifice.

But it’s nice to imagine silver bullets are within reach.

Webster defines a silver bullet as “a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem.”

Seemingly magical, huh?

But when it comes to our personal, professional, and financial lives…there are rarely (if ever) silver bullets.

Two-week diets and weight loss pills don’t make up for decades of bad eating and skipping the gym.

Get rich quick schemes don’t work.

And “good jobs” don’t fall out of the sky.

We know this – on a cellular level. But look around and you’ll have no trouble finding people who are wishing and praying for some “seemingly magical” silver bullet to swoop them out of their current situation and into a more desirable state.

In fact, a similar mindset leads many people to chase credential after credential. Hoping that one day, with enough letters after their name, they’ll finally be able to get everything they ever wanted. Or maybe the credentials will bring about validation.

But it’s also wrong-thinking.

Most things in life worth having require a lot of wasted ammo and target practice – there are no one-bullet wonders. 

And instead of wasting precious energy hoping, praying and wishing that one silver bullet will transform your life from what it is into something you’d like it to be, you’ll make a heckuva lot more progress by focusing on root behaviors that contribute to your success.

For instance, pretty much every aspect of your life could be improved by developing behaviors like discipline, work ethic, integrity, intellectual curiosity, and initiative.

And the best part? 

All of those behaviors are perfectly in your control to develop.

You don’t have to wish or hope or pray that some seemingly magical solution falls into your lap.

You can choose to cultivate those behaviors.

When you focus on developing “the right stuff”, you’ll start making progress – real progress. 

In addition to root behaviors, you could also accelerate your progress by layering in other useful assets. Like developing foundational professional skills, the ability to create value, real-world experience, learning through apprenticeship, the ability to write and think, etc.

When you start stacking positive behaviors with actual tangibly valuable assets (like skill and experience), then you’ll also become less reliant on luck, while also increasing your likelihood of getting lucky.

In other words, hoping and wishing and praying for a silver bullet makes you reliant on luck to solve your problems.

But by aiming to become the type of person you need to be in order to achieve what you want to achieve, it will seem like fortunate favors you.

And not because of something outside your control – like a silver bullet.

But because you put in the work to get where you wanted to go.

How to Cope with Career Uncertainty, Boredom, and Professional Angst

Several years ago I reached all the goals I’d been aiming for professionally (at the time).

I’d climbed to the highest possible rank in the company for my respective skillset – a company whose mission I believed in. I had autonomy to choose which big problems to work on in the business. I was making great money. I’d gained respect and confidence and a robust skillset.

In other words, I had achieved everything I thought I’d been working to accomplish. 

Still, something felt off.

In spite of reaching what felt like the pinnacle of my career, I encountered a surprising feeling. 

It was not happiness. It was not excitement. Nor pride. Nor contentment. But boredom.

The feeling surprised me. I thought once I achieved my goals everything would sort itself out. Like the attainment of my goals warranted some kind of enlightenment.

But instead I found myself questioning everything about my station in life.

Should I leave my “dream job” to venture out on my own?

Should I find a new job?

Is it possible to reignite the fire I felt while I was working toward my goals?

Am I in the right place?

Does this make me ungrateful?

Am I missing something?

And on and on the second-guessing and uncertainty was overwhelming.

Because I needed to have certainty. I craved it. Still, I found myself staring down a path obscured by fog.

In the months and years that followed I would learn several big lessons about facing down uncertainty, boredom, ambition and professional angst.

I’ll spare you all the gory details of that journey and instead just get to the hard-earned advice.

If you’ve ever felt uncertainty about what to do next in your career, or uncertainty as a byproduct of boredom, or professional angst springing from impatience…then these tips might hit home with you.

How to Stare Down Uncertainty, Boredom, and Professional Angst

1. Don’t look to your job to satisfy every dimension of your curiosity. 

If you’re relying on your job to provide all of your personal and professional development, then you’re doing it wrong.

We’re all multi-dimensional individuals with ranges of curiosities that would be impossible to satisfy through a single job. Find a way to prioritize your own interests beyond your day-job. Lean into those interests. Cultivate your creatives capacities outside the office.

Reserve a part of you just for yourself and your own passions. This will recharge you; offer you a cathartic outlet; and make you an overall more interesting, well-rounded person.

2. Aim for clarity, then challenge.

Before you know what you want to do, it’s okay to go into information-gathering mode. I called this  “Your Quest for Clarity.”

Try stuff. Eliminate options that don’t seem interesting. Then double-down on the skills / career path / interests that really light your fire. Mainly, don’t do stuff you hate.

If you iterate enough, worst case you’ll find something tolerable and best case you’ll find something that excites the hell out of you – anywhere in between those two poles is still a win. But a word of caution – not long after you “find your thing” you’ll eventually get good enough that the job becomes easy. This is a danger zone.

Continue to seek out challenges that will force you to grow and develop (even if they are outside your job). When things get too easy, it’s an early warning sign of impending stagnation. 

3. Don’t burn down everything you’ve built on an impulse.

It can feel exciting to think about exiting a situation in the name of adventure. You could leave it all behind today to go chasing some other big hairy audacious goal. Maybe you’ll start your own thing. Or land an awesome new job at another cool company, and then everything will be great!

Sadly, the new adventure will probably lead you to the same spot you’re in eventually. Because the truth is, sometimes you will feel bored in your career. We live in a world of in-your-face instant gratification. There’s always a new shiny object that seems like a better path.

Patience and focus can be superpowers in your life and career. If you can find a way to trudge through the boredom, and still do your best work in the meantime, you’ll unlock the true power of uninterrupted compound interest in your career. Which means more options, not fewer. Don’t leave a job you don’t hate just because you think there may be some hypothetical better option out there. The situation you’re in may offer you more upside than you realize. 

4. Give yourself permission to daydream about your options

When you find yourself unsure about what to do next, or bored in your current situation, allow your imagination to go to work. Keep a journal of ideas. Daydream. Allow your creative capacities to run wild.

It’s okay to explore those options mentally. It can offer a release. But the brainstorming time can also lead to actual tangible developments – which can take time, energy, and focus. It’s rarely immediately obvious what steps you should take next. Give yourself some room to visualize the multiple future possibilities.

5. Target universally good actions.

While you’re in the “ugly in-between” of boredom or uncertainty, there are still positive steps you can take to build momentum.

First, you can take universally-good actions. Like saving money, paying off or paying down debt. Expanding your network. Building an audience. Creating content around your areas of interest. Writing regularly and publishing your work. Etc. The list goes on and on.

But these kinds of positive actions will expand your option set as you gain clarity; and ultimately make it easier for you to say yes once you figure out your next step. 

These are just a few suggestions from my own lived experience dealing with uncertainty, professional angst, and boredom.

You owe it to yourself to take your personal and professional development into your own hands. Don’t settle for a life that bores you. Channel your energy into your own interests and creative capacities.

Keep iterating and working hard. Even when you may not know where it’s leading.

Eventually, those positive behaviors will lead you to a place of more clarity than you have today.

Context: The Proper Target For New Adults

Because of the work we do at Praxis, I get the good fortune of speaking with thousands of young adults all over the country each year.

Most of them are at the stage in their journey where they’re still uncertain about who they are – and perhaps more importantly – who they want to become.

It can be a confusing time. I certainly know I was confused at that stage in my life.

But it doesn’t have to be as confusing or stressful as many of us make it.

Missing Context

When we’re just starting out, we still lack a ton of important context about the world around us. So it’s highly unlikely we’ll correctly choose “the one thing” we want to spend the rest of our lives doing.

First off, because the idea that there is “one perfect path” is mostly a myth. 

Second, because we just don’t know what we don’t know. 

Those can be tough things to come to grips with. Both are true.

It’s tough to decide what you want to do and who you want to become against a backdrop of limited knowledge about what’s possible.

I believe this is at the heart of many decisions to default to college. Because it’s almost as scary to not have a plan as it is to admit you don’t know what you’re doing.

I mean no disrespect when I say this. But at 18 years old, most people don’t have enough context to lock themselves into a decision that will cost them years of their lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Without context, it’s difficult to imagine all the possible paths you could go down.

Gaining Context

To no fault of their own, many young adults lack context simply because they lack experience.

So one of the first hurdles to overcome is to gain context about the world around you.

How can you do this? Simple. Try stuff.

In particular, try stuff that allows you to explore in the direction you’re hoping to advance.

Gaining context means enriching your perspective about the topic you’re interested in. You may imagine a path as suitable or exciting. But with a little context, you may quickly discover that a path is not all it’s cracked up to be.

For instance, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. Then I spent half a year as a legal aid for a law firm. Which made me quickly realize being a lawyer wasn’t all I thought it was. 

The missing context enriched my perspective.

Context Clues

You are likely interested in many things. It can feel stressful to pick just one. You don’t want to feel limited – or one dimensional. I get it.

But often, one of the best things you can do to gain context and clarity about the path forward, is to choose one dimension of yourself to cultivate.

As you cultivate one interest, it can enrich your life – by giving you a craft to master, by helping you build momentum and gain experience, and by lead to surprising opportunities.

For instance, when I quit my law firm job, I went all-in on photography. I didn’t know where it would lead. But it was the most interesting thing I had going at the time. Eventually, I landed a job as a photographer. While working that job, I met the founder of Praxis, who later introduced me to another entrepreneur who ended up offering me a job.

What may look like a series of happy accidents was actually the byproduct of cultivating one interest, and allowing it to lead the way. Leaning into one interest (photography) didn’t mean I gave up all the other interests I had. 

Following one dominant interest gave me a path forward, that ultimately led to new, exciting opportunities I could not have anticipated.

This same context clues can help you discover your path forward, too.

Discovering Your Thing

You don’t have to have it all figured out right now. It takes time, context, effort, and courage to discover your thing – or the multiple “things” you’re interested in that can define how you build your life and career.

If you’re not sure what you want to do – or who you want to become – then take inventory of your interests. Ask yourself how you could explore those interests more deeply. Look for opportunities to gain context. 

You don’t have to default to a boring or unfulfilling path just because you’re not sure how things will work out.

There are tons of exciting options out there waiting to be discovered. 

(And it just so happens that our apprenticeship program at Praxis can help you start your own discovery process.)

How (And Why) to Build Social Capital

Let’s talk about social capital – and why it’s one of the most valuable resources you can build for your long-term professional goals.

Social capital is basically the value of “goodwill” you’ve accumulated across your entire network.

In other words, how confident are you that you could pick up the phone and call somebody in your network who could actually help if you were in need of skills, advice, capital, an introduction, etc. ?

I don’t want to imply that the value of social capital is tied to charity. Or that it’s limited to transactional relationships. It’s much more than that.

Social capital is the store of value you’ve created for others.

Similarly to a bank account, it accumulates the more deposits you make. And it dwindles as you make withdrawals.

Here’s why it’s valuable:

As you go through your career, it’s useful to have people you can call on to help you out.

For instance, when you’re trying to win a new opportunity and you need a reference. Or an introduction. 

Or when you launch your own business and need an attorney or banker or CPA or expert marketer but you can’t yet afford to hire out for it.

Or when you’re trying to put a deal together and need one more check to raise the funds to buy a business or property.

And countless other scenarios.

When you’re in need is hardly the time to ask for favors – especially favors you haven’t earned. You can’t expect for people to help you out if you have zero social capital on deposit.

The value of building social capital

The purpose of social capital isn’t about building a list of people who owe you favors. 

But if you focus on creating value for other people, social capital will be a natural byproduct. People you’ve been valuable to will want to be valuable in exchange.

It’s not a given. Social capital isn’t exactly a debt to be repaid. (And if you treat it this way, you’ll surely find yourself running low on people who can help you out when you need it most.)

Personally, I like to think of social capital as a warehouse of value stored in my personal network. And when I have a particular need, I know I can turn to my network first.

For example, currently I have a variety of “social capital” on deposit across my network:

Everything from graphic designers, copywriters, and sales people whose careers I helped launch; investment bankers I’ve made introductions for; founders and CEOs I’ve built sweat equity with; and hundreds of former co-workers with plenty of unique skill sets with whom I’ve built a strong reputation.

At any point in time, I know I could reach out (or those people could reach out to me) and we’d help one another out. 

That’s the value of social capital.

How to build social capital

The best way to build social capital is by offering value to other people (whether or not you get anything tangible in return).

Social capital isn’t something you have to build for free, though. It’s possible to accumulate it even on-the-job.

For instance, you could build social capital with a boss or your peers – even though you’re being paid to perform a job. You could do that by going above and beyond in your role, always exceeding expectations, always being the first person to volunteer to help, and so on.

In short, you can start building social capital wherever you are today by becoming reliable and indispensable.

Over time, that “excess value” you create above and beyond your pay will begin to accumulate. First in the form of your reputation among others, and eventually in the form of social capital – that you can draw on down the road, should you need a letter of recommendation or the like.

Another useful and easy way to build social capital is by helping people reach their own goals.

For example, you could help someone promote a new book or product they’ve launched. Or make an introduction between two mutual connections. Or create marketing collateral for an entrepreneur or business owner.

There are countless ways you can be valuable to other people. And if you focus on being valuable first, eventually, that value will accumulate across the network you build.

Go be valuable today.

The First Part of Your Career as a Tour of Duty

I read this quote the other day, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

In a word, it’s one of the best summaries about the value of apprenticeship. Especially if you’re still unsure what you want to do.

Here it goes:

“Working for others is a reconnaissance expedition; a means and not an end unto itself. It is an apprenticeship and not a goal.

You should have no long-term, or even medium-term, requirements of the first two or three companies you work for. Promotion is always welcome and brings with it the opportunity to learn more, but you are there to be sure you take every opportunity to suck out the marrow of what you need to know, to understand it and place it within a greater context for a future purpose.”

– Felix Dennis, How to Get Rich

If you’re not sure what you want out of your career, then your first priority should be the discovery process itself.

Go out and explore. Try things. Test different types of jobs in different industries. Take notes about what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what you can’t bear. 

But don’t get caught in the trap of a safe job.

You’re not on a mission to be employed. You’re on an expedition – to discover what makes you come alive.

That’s hard work. And it might require a few failed attempts along the way as you narrow down options.

But, as Felix suggested, think of it as a reconnaissance expedition, not just the daily grind. You’re in your present job to gather strategic information. For yourself.

It’s not a job. It’s a reconnaissance expedition.

Reframe your thinking about the early part of your career as an expedition to gain clarity and context, rather than as a series of jobs you can access now. This allows you to keep the broader goal in mind.

It’s not about climbing the ladder. Or getting a raise. Or landing a job at a company so well known it’ll make your friends and family blush.

The early part of your career is about equipping you with the foundational knowledge, skills, experience, and context so that once you do find your thing, you can go all in on it.

And that’s exactly what apprenticeships are all about – helping you make the strongest possible start while you undergo your discovery process.

Running Experiments in the Real World

As much as I felt like I had my entire life planned out from age six, from ages 17 – 25, the older I got the less certain I became.

During that stretch of time my plan changed at least a couple dozen times.

My first dozen-ish years of jobs.

I tried a bunch of different things. Mostly with no particular aim in mind. Other than to avoid staying too long at jobs that made me feel dead inside.

From age 6-20, I thought I wanted to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. No other goal mattered. But by the time I spent a couple years in college, I had a complete identity crisis.

I felt like I only ever wanted to achieve “that goal” because it was the most prestigious sounding goal I could imagine. That would surely impress others.

Except when I had this realization, it was earth shattering to say the least. In part because I’d tied my identity up in this goal. But probably more so because I realized I didn’t know what the hell to do if not that.

I didn’t have a framework for figuring out what to do, either.

So I rolled my sleeves up and got to work. I said yes to a ton of opportunities. And the more I said yes to, the more opportunities came my way.

I’ll be honest, several of those early jobs were brutal. But each one taught me an important lesson + gave me useful experience to carry me forward.

Over time, I found a groove.

Me, finding my groove.

Eventually, all those experiments delivered some semblance clarity. Each new opportunity became a bit more recognizable as a distinct step on a path – rather than just one more job in an erratic indeterminate sequence.

Over time, the path emerged – by trying things, identifying what worked and what didn’t, leaning into the things I had a knack for (and away from things I didn’t.

It’s not always clear how the story will play out. But if you’re unsure, just get started. You can always adapt as you gain more information.

A Zoom University Diploma

If I was 18 years old all over again, I would not go to college this fall. 

You couldn’t convince me online college offers the same social experience. Just like you couldn’t convince me the price tag makes sense. Not to mention mandatory attendance at one-sided online lectures sounds like an incredible drag.

But let’s put all those arguments aside for a minute. Because there’s a more important reason why I wouldn’t go. It involves a more fundamental question than the “features” of college. It’s a simple question. Really. 

What is the point?

  • There are better, faster, and cheaper alternatives to learn.
  • There are safer, healthier, more deliberate ways to build a professional network. 
  • There are more direct, practical routes to a meaningful career and financial success.
  • There are more effective methods to discover your life purpose.
  • There are less financially risky opportunities to gain independence, escape your parents’ nest, transition into adulthood, or leave your hometown. 

Most (if not all) of the tangible benefits of college could be had by anyone willing to work hard, get creative, and take their future into their own hands.

So what’s the point again?

The point is that the alternatives won’t include a credential you can hang on your wall or put on a résumé. 

Choosing an alternate route means foregoing a third-party institution’s stamp of approval. It means that in order to convince other people you’re worth hiring or taking a risk on, you’ve got to show them something else. Something better.

Fortunately, with the technology that’s at our fingertips today, it’s never been easier to build a better signal.

And that’s why I wouldn’t go to college today. But I can only choose for myself. 

Originally published in a weekly newsletter where I cover the latest on the changing landscape of higher education and how to build a self-directed career (without college).

Success vs. Fulfillment

I think it’s difficult to find real success unless you prioritize fulfillment.

Sure. You can get rich. Gain status. And win the praise of others. But if you’re unfulfilled, does it even matter?

When I think about my own life and how I’ve defined success over the years one thing seems constant – the goal posts always move.

Each achievement challenges further achievement. Incomes goals, career goals, status goal…you name it. Anytime I’ve been prioritized “success” over fulfillment, I’ve found it fleeting.

On the flip side, when I’ve prioritized fulfillment, I’ve found something altogether different to be true – an ability to be content without sacrificing future ambition.

A Personal Tale

When I graduated college I set a pretty ambitious goal for myself: double my income every year.

It was easy at first. Year one. Year two. Even year three. But as you can imagine it became more difficult in time. Through my first five years in the real world, I almost succeeded too. But then I discovered something I didn’t anticipate. More money did not make me happier.

As obvious as this might sound to you, it was actually difficult for me to understand. Because I had a wrong notion about success. I believed success was a function of keeping score.

That belief really led me astray for quite some time. It had me looking out into the world at what others were doing. Comparing myself. And then beating myself up over all that I had not yet accomplished by my age. Which honestly got pretty exhausting after awhile.

Two Steps Back, One Leap Forward

A few years back I left an awesome job at a company I loved. I’d been there awhile. I’d climbed the ranks. And I was making great money.

But something had gone missing. I’d lost the fire for my work.

For awhile I tried to rediscover it. I tried working harder. I tried working less. I tried journaling. I tried therapy. I tried changing up my schedule. I tried changing up what I was working on.

But the more I searched the less vigor I felt for my work.

After months of battling with this, I found a new outlet – an opportunity to go work on something entirely different. To leave behind one opportunity and pursue the next. A new challenge, if you will.

It scared me. But (thankfully) after some prodding from a friend, I made the leap.

I went from big fish in big pond to a small pond where status had no bearing. I took a +40% pay cut. I left a team where I’d been around longer than almost everybody to a team where I was very much the new guy. I went from a role where I knew exactly what it took to succeed to a role that I was larger learning everything on the fly.

And a surprising thing happened – I rediscovered my fire for my work.

Somehow my status and income had both declined but my happiness increased. Who knew, right?

How To Find Fulfilling Work

Roman Krznarick has an awesome book on this topic you should check out. It’s called How To Find Fulfilling Work.

In the book he highlights five dimensions of fulfilling work. Here they are:

  • Earning Money (Extrinsic)
  • Achieving Status (Extrinsic)
  • Making a Difference (Intrinsic)
  • Following Your Passions (Intrinsic)
  • Using Your Talents (Intrinsic)

Basically, we all have our own motives for doing what we do. Krznarick explains how some of those motives originate by watching people – see also mimetic desire. Krznarick called these extrinsic motives. These are the things we all usually think about when we define success – like money, titles, where we work, who we know, etc.

But in the stories Krznarick researched, in most cases, people who pursued extrinsic factors actually ended up less happy. They were missing something.

Krznarick argued that the motives that come from within – which he calls intrinsic factors – are actually the key to unlocking fulfillment in our work and lives.

He tells stories about people who left 6-figure consulting jobs to work in non-profits. Or left their high-status jobs to pursue their art. And a whole collection of other examples where people “traded down” (lower income and status) to become happier.

People became happier as the moved closer to roles that used their talents, made them feel like they were making a difference, and stuff they were passionate about. In most cases, they made less money and did less glamorous-sounding work (at least at first).

As surprising as it might sound, Krznarick’s theory suggests it’s actually not the money or status that makes us happy. Rather, it’s the stuff that makes us come alive that leads to real success – success from fulfillment.

Searching For Your Own Answers

It’s nothing new for people to be searching for answers. What’s the meaning of life? How can I be successful? How can I live a happy life?

Questions like this have challenged people centuries. Thankfully a lot of people have kept good notes. And there’s so much we can learn from exploring other people’s struggles on these same topics.

I’m very much still on my own journey of personal development. But I’ve found a lot of answers – and a ton more questions – by digging deep into how other people have approached questions like these in their own lives and careers.

Here are a few resources I’ve found useful throughout the years:

How to Find Fulfilling Work By Roman Krznarick

How Will You Measure Your Life? By Clayton Christensen

Outwitting the Devil By Napolean Hill

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World By René Girard

Start with Why By Simon Sinek

Do What You Are By Paul & Kelly Tieger & Barbara Barron

The War of Art By Steven Pressfield

You Don’t Need a Job – You Need Guts By Ash Ambirge

There are countless other good resources out there for exploring questions about success, happiness, fulfillment and the like. It’s a personal journey. And these are tough questions to wrestle with. But it’s worth it.

How Will You Measure Your Life?

A decade ago, legendary thinker Clayton Christensen delivered a powerful commencement to Harvard Business School grads. His speech came only months after overcoming the same type of cancer that had taken his father’s life — which gave extra pause for reflection.

Sadly, Christensen lost his battle with cancer earlier this year.

But he left behind a rich legacy of insight through writings like The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Prosperity Paradox, and many other best-sellers. Christensen spent the better part of his career asking important questions about how we can build better businesses and more fulfilling lives.

The past months, our team at Praxis has written about big changes impacting the future of education and careers — like ballooning student debt, degree inflationchanges in job requirements, the rise of online learningno-code tools, and more.

Today, I want to share why we believe changes like these matter for young people thinking about their futures. And how the ideas Clayton Christensen left behind offer a roadmap for approaching our lives and careers in light of many major shifts happening in the world.

In his book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, Christensen describes two types of strategies people use in planning: deliberate and emergent.

  • A deliberate strategy, Christensen described as the process of planning for anticipated opportunities. In other words, a deliberate strategy involves planning for a specific outcome. (Like going to college to pursue a particular occupation.)
  • An emergent strategy, on the other hand, continuously evolves as new, unanticipated problems and opportunities arise — more of a “work hard and play it by ear” approach.

Ultimately, Christensen suggested the best way to approach our careers is by following an emergent strategy — continuously experimenting with new opportunities — until we discover a path that both fulfills us and meets our needs.

Christensen’s advice aligns well with our philosophy at Praxis.

As we think about the future, we continue to aim to design an experience that enables young people to approach their futures emergently. By rapidly experimenting with new types of work, gaining context for their skills, and increasing their exposure to different opportunities, Praxis participants expedite their discovery process.

Our world is being reshaped rapidly. Computing power continues to expand exponentially. The growth of data continues to climb. Starting a business is becoming ever more affordable. Technological shifts are creating, eliminating, and changing our jobs (and how we do them) at an unprecedented rate.

These changes have dramatically increased the opportunity cost of waiting to gain experience in the real world (especially if waiting also involves accumulating debt). And in many cases, delaying experience means gaining theoretical knowledge or skills that may no longer be relevant once you enter the real world.

At Praxis, we recognize the pressure many young people feel to have their entire lives planned out before they get started. And we want to change the narrative.

We believe the most effective way to discover the kind of work that makes you come alive is by running experiments in the real world — until things click. But until then, don’t stress about having it all figured out.

Christensen said, “What’s important is to get out there and try stuff until you learn where your talents, interests, and priorities begin to pay off. When you find out what really works for you, then it’s time to flip from an emergent strategy to a deliberate one.”

If you’re still in school or early in your career and feel the pressure to have it all figured out, take a breath. Everything will be just fine. And if you want help coming up with a strategy — don’t hesitate to reach out.



This post was originally published in our Praxis weekly newsletter, and has also appeared on the Medium publication: On Breaking The Mold.

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Imagine yourself at the bottom of a set of stairs. This is you at the beginning of your career.

Your ideal career scenario stands at the top of the staircase.

For me, it’s the freedom to create a life on my own terms and a reputation strong enough to unlock the opportunities I aspire for.

The stairs represent the challenges and steps you must take to get there.

Each step gets you closer to your goal. Each step unlocks a little more of what you’re after.

The idea of the “company man” – where you work the duration of your professional life at one corporation – has long timed out. Today, the average tenure has dropped significantly – roughly 4.2 years.

The cost of information has dropped significantly, too. Meaning, it’s much easier to discover new opportunities, for companies to learn about you, or for you to start your own business – even if that’s as a freelance service provider.


This means you have more leverage today as an individual than your parents or grandparents had.

You’re not beholden to one organization. The more skills you have and the stronger the reputation you have at signaling those skills, the more leverage you have.

Your journey isn’t limited to climbing one corporate ladder. It also means you’re not limited to climbing steps one at a time.

In the world we live in, focus on doing good work and the reputation you build will open opportunities for you.

Many of the best opportunities aren’t things you apply for – but the types of things that allow you to skips steps and get closer to your end goals.

Don’t worry about whether you’re staying at a company too long or moving around too quickly. Instead focus on

  • Adding value where you’re at however long you’re there.
  • Learning and engaging in meaningful work.
  • Refining your option set – by removing or avoiding the kinds of work you hate.
  • Documenting your work and learning – by building a digital portfolio or body of work.
  • Creating lasting relationships with people who push you to be better.

Your career is a discovery process. Go out and do what you need to do to discover and build a career and life that brings you fulfillment.


*This post was originally published on Quora in response to the question Is staying at one organization for a long time good or bad for one’s career? Why? It’s received over 110,000 views in the past month.