This week a trending article in the New York Times talked about the balance he regained by reading the paper in hard copy. The author referenced the food writer, Michael Pollen, whose advice, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” has become somewhat famous. He created his own version for reading the news: “Get news. Not too quickly. Avoid social.”
It got me thinking of a version for career advice. Like the food business with so many mixed messages, and what technology is doing to how we spend our time and mental energy, building a career today is full of mixed messages. It is confusing at best, and a big energy suck without the desired outcome at worst.
Here we go: “Do work you like. Not too much. Avoid the B.S.”
Do work you like. If you’ve read my newsletters before, this shouldn’t be new. Take time to find out what you like and do well. I find that this shakes out for most of us somewhere in our 30’s. Before that, we are just learning to become professionals. The trick is to start to think about what you really like in your 30’s, and continue to build and take measured risk to pursue it from there.
Not too much. Career is long and as a working mom, I am convinced that career ambition is elastic; it ebbs and flows to fit around life. Learn to pace yourself and take what you need for personal life, even for things other than children. In my 30’s I was a part-time ski instructor and left promptly at 5:00 on Fridays, even though I’m pretty sure my boss didn’t like it.
Avoid the B.S. The cop-out answer here is “avoid politics and others’ bad behavior.” The more relevant answer is twofold: First, understand interpersonal dynamics so that you can be compassionate towards others and feel more influence and control at work. And second, know your own internal gremlins that get in the way of success (more on that next week).
I feel spring in the air! And with it a focus and energy coming back. I hope you feel it too.