Improving your career

Scott Young writes on obvious ways to improve your career:

I’m not a singer, and I don’t even work in the music industry.

So, lacking specifics, I gave the advice that was obvious to me: you need to locate people who are 2-3 steps ahead of you in the kind of career you want to have. You need to talk to these people, not just random people on the internet you admire, to map out how your career actually works.

This seems obvious in retrospect, but it actually happens a lot.

In early pilots for our course, Top Performer, Cal and I had students work through an exercise of interviewing someone in their field for career advice. One person decided he wanted to pick Tim Ferriss, even though he was working an engineering job.

The problem is that Tim Ferriss isn’t an engineer. He’s an author, podcaster and investor. If you’re not in one of those fields, the advice Tim could give (if he was gracious enough for an interview) would have to be restricted to the highly generic.

In fact, even if you are an author, podcaster or investor, it may not be the case that Tim Ferriss will offer super helpful advice. Why? Because Tim Ferriss is incredibly famous! For most people, Tim Ferriss isn’t 2 or 3 steps ahead, but instead more like a dozen or more. His advice for a new podcaster is going to be hampered by the fact that when he launched his podcast, he was already a minor celebrity. A lot of his personal experiences won’t translate to someone just getting started today.

His “strategy and map” concept and “three obvious career mistakes” are worth understanding.