Choosing a career

Are you struggling with a career move or lack thereof? Don’t know how to choose a career? Maybe this will help.

Questions are written in positive form so you can kinda keep count of yes vs no answers, though some questions are far more important than others.

Big Important things

Will it provide me with fulfillment and meaning?

Does doing this business automatically get me more business?  Is it inherently viral?

Will I get paid while I sleep, not only when I work?

Will this position inherently provide me with large numbers of valuable contacts and resources for the future?

Will I work for few bosses?

Will many people work below me?

Quality of life

Will someone tell me what to do or will I be free to do as I please?

How many hours will I work?

Will I work at consistent times rather than at all hours?

Can I work from home?

Does this job use my strengths?

Will I have adequate challenge and learning opportunity?

Are the people I will work with highly educated and above average in intelligence?

Is it prestigious?  Will I want to tell my friends about it?

Will I get recognition for my work?

Are rewards closely tied to performance?

Is performance easily measured?

Is the position free from politics and nepotism?

Is there a short commute?

Can you walk or bike to work?

Is it in my ideal geographical location (weather, access to things to do, cost of living, taxes)?


Does this position/company automatically make me more valuable to other companies?

Is there a clear career path from the current position to better and better positions?

How long will it take me to retire or sell?


Is the industry growing rapidly?

Are their large barriers to entry?

Do these barriers protect me from others trying to compete rather than simply make it harder for me to enter?


Does this company pay at the top end of the industry for most positions?

Is the company growing rapidly?

Is turnover low?  Do employees typically stay?

Are they highly rated on glassdoor or other sites?


Is the compensation at the top end for the industry, geography, and position?

Will I own a part of the company?

Will the current valuation of that ownership by high?

Do I expect that valuation to dramatically increase?

Does my ownership give me a great deal of control over the direction of the company?

Am I vested very quickly?

I wrote this for a couple reasons.

First, we all get to choose exactly what we do with our lives.  There’s an unlimited number of great things to do, so why do something that isn’t awesome?

No matter where you are at, you can make the decision to do what it is you want to do.  Getting there may not be easy, but there is really no reason to compromise over the long term.

Second, when I look at these questions and combine them with what I know about what makes people happy, something becomes blatantly obvious to me.

Most people choose careers that have very few positive qualities in exchange for one not so important quality.

Most people

  • work in mature industries in decline.
  • spend almost an hour per day commuting.
  • will never own a significant interest in the profits they work to create.
  • perform work that is unfulfilling.
  • are easily replaced with other workers.
  • are paid just enough to not quit in the short term.
  • have no clear path towards something better.

They choose these qualities in exchange for low barrier to entry.  Jobs that are easy to get and carry no risk aren’t usually great jobs.

This is where I make an argument for starting your own thing.  Even if it’s just something small on the side.

  • You get to choose what qualities your job will have.
  • You have control and the ability to decide if what you do will be in a growth industry with high demand or not.
  • You decide who you will work with.
  • You receive the profits.
  • You may even get paid while sleeping.
  • You can find something fulfilling.

It’s up to you to decide, not someone else.  You control the answer to each of these questions. You get to decide how to choose a career.

~ Allen


Random cool links

I thought it would be fun to post some random stuff I find on the web that provides some good perspective. Hopefully something here is useful to you.


Weight training enhances memory

Baby Tiger

Best version of Meditations by Marcus Aeurelius ($)

James altucher Podcast – I recommend Seth Godin’s episode

Casey Neistat – youtube

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