Thoughts on a Career Worth Having

"How can we explain this? Certainly factors like the sluggish economic recovery and stuck wages play a role, but I think the real answer is even more straightforward: It’s not clear how one designs a satisfying career in today’s professional culture, especially if lasting fulfillment (as opposed to salary maximization) is the goal." - Nathanial Koloc

The quotation above is one of the main ideas that's driving my research efforts as a Ph.D student. People move jobs more than ever nowadays and the traditional plan of getting a "good job" and working your way up an organization over 40 years is largely a relic of the past. There needs to be new ways to think about what a successful career looks like in today's more fluid job market.

Koloc argues that we should seek legacy, mastery, and freedom (in that order). I have qualms with that order, but fully support those concepts otherwise. I think mastery often drives freedom and legacy but I'll leave my quibbles with the specific order for another time. I'm particularly interested in the idea of freedom and how more and more people are consciously choosing careers as freelancers to fulfill this need. A career of conscious freelancing or solopreneurship is becoming more and more viable and I want to understand the forces that preduct and support success in this kind of work.

The final point of the article is one that I predictably throw my full weight behind: treat your career like a grand experiment. 

"I use the word “grand” to describe this experiment because the reality is that your career is not just a way to earn a living. It’s your chance to discover what you’re here for and what you love."

It can be easy to lose sight of this in the quest to make enough money to keep food on the table but I think we do so at our own peril. I think work should be more than a transaction where you shut off your brain and emotion and dreams for 8 hours a day in exchange for a modicum of security. 

We can do better than that.