Work occupies much of our waking lives. Why not spend the time to build a career you love, rather than one which makes you miserable? Below are some of my best ideas on how to build a successful career:
The 5 Best Career Articles
I’ve written a lot about your career, but if you’re looking to get started, here are my best five essays on the topic:
- If You Want to Be an Author Don’t Start Writing (and Other Strangely Useful Career Advice) – Understanding how your career actually works, not just doing what feels good, is the first step to mastering it.
- What Do You Want to Do With Your Life – An older and popular article about trying to decide where to go in your career.
- The Interview Method: Why Our Assumptions About Success are Often Wrong – and why you need to test those assumptions to figure out what actually works.
- Fantasizing About Retirement? Here’s How to Build a Career You Won’t Want to Quit – Many of us dream of escaping, but work isn’t going away, so you ought to make it something great instead.
- You Need to Negotiate Your Lifestyle – Bosses, clients and colleagues aren’t just going to give you the life you dream of, you need to negotiate what you want.
In addition to my free articles on career topics, I teach a course, along with author Cal Newport, on building rare and valuable skills to improve your career. This popular course offers limited sessions, but if you’d like to sign-up to find out about our next one, you can here.
Building Career Skills
As much of my writing focuses on learning, I’ve applied that lens to look at a lot of career problems as well. It’s my belief that mastering rare and valuable skills is the best way to look at your career, and thus I’ve written a lot exploring that topic. Here’s some articles on becoming better at your career:
- How to Figure Out Which Skills You Need to Build to Improve Your Career
- How Much of Your Career is Running to Stay in the Same Spot – Most of the work you do isn’t going to make you much better.
- Capital Trumps Courage – Building skills matters more than being bold, and this boring truth prevents a lot of people from improving.
- Why Most People Get Stuck in Their Career
- Which Skills Should You Master?
- Pick Three Things. Now Do Them Well.
- What’s Your Growth Ratio?
- How Much Specialization?
- Getting Good: How I’m Trying to Become a Better Writer
- Should Future Entrepreneurs Go to College?
- What are You Going to Be Exceptional at in 10 Years?
How to Network, Find Mentors and Build Relationships
Your career isn’t a solitary activity. Every promotion you get, new job you apply to, or clients/customers you gain will be new people to win over. Here’s how to build the relationships that matter:
- Look for Partial Mentors – Finding that perfect mentor who always knows more than you may be impossible. Here’s what to do instead.
- Why You Need Mentors (and Why You Don’t Have Them Yet)
- What Matters More: Your Network or Your Skills? Why being good may also lead to making connections.
- “It’s Who You Know”
- Could You Sell Who You Are in 30 Seconds?
- How to Meet Interesting People
- How to Escape the Toxic Friends Holding You Back
- How to Figure Out What People Want
Designing Your Career and Lifestyle
Work/life balance, enjoying work and making it meaningful matter more than just a paycheck. Here’s how to do it:
- Bored with Your Job? The Recipe for Enjoying Your Work.
- Don’t Follow Your Passion
- The Path to Happiness: Do What You Love, Not What You Like
- Career Planning and the Dao
- How I Became a Full-Time Blogger
- Two Ways to Think About Career Fulfillment
- Is Getting Rich Worth It?
- Should You Pursue Your Dream, Even if You’ll Probably Fail?
- Is Owning Your Own Business Worth It?
- Don’t Follow Your Passion, Do Less to Achieve More and the Magic of the Failed Simulation Effect – My review of Cal Newport’s book.
- How to Find What You’re Passionate About (and Get Paid for It)
- Should You Wander the World or Build a Home?
- Should Your Twenties Be For Work or Play?
More Thoughts on Career
- Know Your Competition – Who you compete against matters a lot for what your expectations ought to be.
- Some Useful Distinctions When Thinking About Your Career
- I Told My Friend Not to Start a Business… Here’s Why
- Why the Risky Option Can Sometimes Be the Safest
- Why Does Most Career Advice Suck?
- What Matters More: Marketing or Mastery?
- Day Jobs vs Side Projects – Why working on projects on the side may be better than trying to transition to a new pursuit all at once.
- Should You Plan to Retire?
- Why I’m Not Trying to Build Passive Income