The sky was pretty the other day so I decided to stop and look at it. I felt like sharing a quick video on my Instagram story about something I re-realized after one of the shortest work calls of my life. Seriously, it lasted like three minutes max. Then I remembered. You have a website. That people love to read! So write about it in your forever space instead, just in case it’s helpful or reassuring for someone to read months after.
Switching careers? Looking for a new job?
If you’re not in retirement (according to Google Analytics, at least 3.14% of my readers are- if that’s you, hi!), make sure your job is providing at least one of these three factors.
Let’s call it the Three Lot-s Framework.
This is in the employee spectrum, but applies to you if you’re a founder/self-employed dealing with clients.
#1- You’re learning a lot
“There are four-letter words you should never use in business. They’re not fuck or shit. They’re need, must, can’t, easy, just, only, and fast.”Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Basecamp founders
Well, fuck! I said it just for the sake of it.
Basecamp has been running for 22 years. They’ve created one of the world’s first SaaS web app and invented the popular coding language Ruby on Rails. The founders have written influential books and run a popular 25-year-old podcast about doing honest business and how it doesn’t have to be crazy at work (that’s literally the name of the book).
A lot of people agree that they’ve been at the forefront of building a remote-first culture and focusing on business 101 rather than trends or hyper-growth. They heard Jeff Bezos say “Find the things that won’t change in your business and invest heavily in those things.” and did just that.
I don’t like romanticizing things, people, or companies I haven’t worked for. Things usually look better from the outside in. That being said, I’m healthily obsessed with Basecamp and their culture.
If you get a job offer from a company, where either your job description implies you’ll learn a lot, or your teammates are absolute pros at what they do, take the job. The pay doesn’t matter.
Take Basecamp, I’m sure hundreds of people (especially those early in their career) would love to get an unpaid internship with them.
Take Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. In the movie, we follow him through his struggles to find a proper job to provide for his family. He’s determined though and waits for months to get a chance to interview for an internship in a bank. When he finally gets a chance to interview, even after a Murphy’s Law disaster where “every possible bad thing that can happen, happens”, he still gets the job.
But he only then finds out the internship would be unpaid. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should, but if you have, you know what happens next. It’s a story as old as time, about the resilience of the human spirit.
There is a lot of debate about unpaid internships and how they’re inherently biased to benefit rich and privileged people.
Would I prefer that all internships be paid? Yes. Do I believe there is a lot to gain in working for certain companies, even if for free? Yes.
Just to be near brilliance and getting to learn how the brains of people you look up to professionally work is invaluable.
If you’re in your 20s, I’d highly, highly recommend reading this. Career-wise, I like to think of things very, very long term.
We’re in this for at least a few other decades, right?
I’d rather learn as much as I possibly can, especially in the beginning, even if my time and effort aren’t compensated fairly than spend my 30s and 40s being mediocre.
“When you start asking questions, you often discover that there’s a simple solution, a Web site that handles it, or a professional who takes care of it for a reasonable fee. Keep in mind that every time you wonder how to do something, a few hundred million people have probably wondered the same thing.”How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip
Being around the type of people who have the answers, don’t get weird when they don’t have the answers, and ask the right questions is more important than any paycheck.
#2- You’re getting paid a lot
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”Zig Ziglar
This point is pretty self-explanatory, but just like motivation and bathing don’t last, neither does our memory. We could all use reminders from time to time.
You should get that well-paying job, even when:
- it’s not your thing,
- your friends don’t seem supportive,
- it’s not exactly what you envision yourself doing for the rest of your life.
We’re reluctant to get a job we’re under-qualified for, micro-managed, not appreciated enough. We’re reluctant to work with a “hard” client whose values don’t reallly match ours. As long as you’re not harming others or to your mental health, get.that.money.
Recently, I got myself in a similar position with a company. There wasn’t a learning opportunity in sight. As I met them, I immediately knew the only scenario where I would work with these people was if they paid me a lot of money, like 200% above market rate.
So that’s the number I went for. I didn’t feel like an impostor like I thought I would. I just kept this framework in mind and my worth in mind. Their offer didn’t match my number. I had no regrets. Yolo.
Hustle-culture makes it seem like we’re all working hard on our passion and getting a shit ton of money for it.
“There are many complex reasons for workplace satisfaction, but the reductive notion of matching your job to a pre-existing passion is not among them.”So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, Cal Newport
During our lives, it often makes sense for passion to take the backseat. I hope you don’t (or won’t) feel guilty to get a job that pays well, even if it’s beneath you.
#3- You’re helping a lot of people
- If you’re working for a company, organization, or non-profit, where you’re directly or indirectly saving stray animals, fighting hunger, eradicating homelessness, providing free mental health support, reducing food waste, supporting female leaders in politics, improving the quality of trans lives, or anything similar
Last year, after virtually meeting with the founder of a non-profit focused on increasing gender equity in the workplace in a very special way, I had to send a proposal outlining the projected statistics timeline, including deliverables, outcome, and of course, the estimated cost. I asked for less than half of my usual rate.
Of course, maybe in the future, these reduced rates won’t be doable without me losing money or my sanity, but as long as this is a way I can give back in, I’ll do it.
I’ve changed my money mindset a lot in the past few years.
Now, I really come from a place of abundance in all my business and life decisions, which allows me to be generous with money. As I’m sure many rappers have said, “there’s more where that came from.”
By the way, here are three ways to make a difference and have a positive impact, no matter what industry you’re in or what your position entails.
Any last words?
“In other words, working right trumps finding the right work.”So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, Cal Newport
I got this admittedly simple, potentially unnecessary, and overdone framework idea looking at the pretty sky, after the shortest “it’s not you, it’s me” work call ever earlier this week. Then, I went on Twitter. Someone had tweeted something very similar to this “framework” in less than 280 characters. He said something like, “I’m not working for someone unless I’m getting paid well or learning quickly.” In another instant, I would’ve started thinking how obvious this was, how I didn’t need to write it, how it had already been said, how I’m not adding anything of value… Then, I remembered How I Stopped Comparing Myself to Others and Questioning My Voice (It’s Because of an Article on Hangovers).
Now I’d like to hear from you! Have you chosen jobs that met one of these requirements, but not the rest? How did it go? Would you include any other deciding factor to accepting a job?