Workaholics, burnout and the false promise of following your passion

Everyone in my generation has been raised with the idea that all we needed to do was follow our passion and everything would work out just fine in our careers. Finding your passion is the ultimate end goal in the quest for a career (that and paying off student loans).

In all this talk of passion, nobody mentions burnout. Or the fact that jobs come is many different crappy, boring flavors.

If you’re nodding along to the sentence above, watch this video. You’ll appreciate the honesty about careers, and get a small does of history about how we as a society shifted from the notion that a job is a job, to the idea that a job is a career and it should be a calling!

It time for a new career narrative, one that’s more honest and aligns with our new world of work. In my book I write about how telling people to follow their passion is unhelpful. We’re not longer working life long careers. Our passions, interests, needs all shift over the course of a lifetime. So the idea that we will follow a single passion until our dying day is simply outdated. The advice keeps people stuck, especially career changers.

Instead, people need to follow their curiosity, exploring different jobs and paths that align with their needs and interests as they grow.

Looking for a career change? There’s a podcast for that.

Figuring out how to make a career change is a big barrier for many. After all, we were all sold on the idea that we simply needed a college degree and the right major and we’d be set for life. Nobody teaches us how to change careers. But the career ladder is dead, and the world of work has changed. This isn’t your dad’s workplace anymore.

We all need a bit of help when it comes to finding a new career. From how to pick a career path, to learning new skills, to starting a new job, switching careers is a daunting task for many.

How to Change Careers by Podcast

I launched the podcast 50 Conversations to help people change careers. Can you actually learn how to change careers by podcast? Maybe. But you can certainly get a lot of good advice on how to find a new career. The podcast offers 50 stories from people who have changed careers. They cover everything from how they knew it was time to change, how they found a new career path, to how they learned skills to make the jump. And at the end of each episode they give advice to future career changers like you.

Career paths, bootcamps, and career changes in your 30s, oh my

Career changes comes in many shapes and sizes. In my podcast for career changers, you’ll hear stories about people who took many different paths. You’ll hear about people who went back to school in their 30s and 40s. Listen to others explain how they choose a digital bootcamp or why they opted to go to community college. Hear stories from people who were burnt out and started their own business. You’ll also get to hear from people who have changed over and over again, always curious about the next opportunity. With 50 conversations, you’ll hear a variety of career paths, so expected and some less so.

“I need a career change but don’t know what to do”

If that phrase has escaped your mouth recently, the 50 Conversations podcast is definitely for you. The beginning of a career change doesn’t start with having a plan; it starts with exploring your options, commitment free. Listening to a podcast about how to change careers is an excellent start to the career change exploration process.

Free career advice in your pocket

Look, career coaches are fabulously helpful for helping you make a career change but they’re expensive. So consider this podcast for career changers a career coach in your pocket. You’ll learn how to make a career change in many different ways. Plus, I interview other career coaches to get their take on how they’re reshaping their careers.

Curious? Good!

Find 50 Conversations on iTunes, Stitcher, and direct at www.50conversations.com.

Repeat after me: Your college major doesn’t determine your career path

How can we talk about college in a way that doesn’t imply graduates will be set on the path of a lifelong career based on their major?

A college major isn’t the sole factor that determines your career. Our careers are multifacted. They’re shaped by new work experiences and the skills collected along they way, as well as life events, curiosity, people we meet, and more.

If you know a college student who is stressed about which major to choose, share the tweet above. Grant it, that won’t help the stress about which job will pay off students loans (that’s another conversation) but at least we can reframe the conversation that a college degree is only the first step in a life filled with career learning.

Automating all the jobs

Whether you are a grocer, doctor, factory worker, or journalist. All of our jobs will soon be reshaped by automation. Some will benefit from the new work that will emerge. And others will watch their jobs disappear with no clear path to another livelihood. Managing this transition will be the defining challenge for us in the decades ahead. And we need to be ready for it.

Rage click response: Why remote work can be f*cking great for your career

Last month I rage clicked on the article by Suzy Welch, Why working from home can be terrible for your career. I’m so glad I did because I’ve been meaning to write about why remote work is so good for your career.

For media companies looking to stand out in the attention economy, getting a well-known Leadership & Management Expert to write on today’s hottest topic, remote work, is a smart move. Brand name + trendy career topics = clicks. And getting that expert to write that remote work is “terrible for your career” is sure to bring in a few rage clicks.

Telling people that remote work will kill their leadership opportunities feels like a desperate attempt by out of touch leaders to stop a generational shift. Flexible work hours, which includes remote work, are the most sought after perk in the workplace. Millennials are leading the charge for more flexible work policies.

But they aren’t the only ones. Spend any time in a Facebook group for moms, travelers, and anyone other community who’s population is still required to show up for a 9-5, and you’ll see post after post of people asking how to get a remote job. Drop into the #digitalnomad or #remotework hashtag on Insta and you’ll see the cat’s already out of the bag. Remote work is fucking great for your career and those of us doing it know it.

Continue reading →

Didn’t see this coming: Facial recognition at summer camp

I spend a lot of time reading and writing about AI in the workplace which means I spend a lot of time reading about AI in general. But I wasn’t at all prepared for this:

Now hundreds of summer camps across the United States have tethered their rustic lakefronts to facial-recognition software, allowing parents an increasingly omniscient view into their kids’ home away from home.

If you just yelled what the fuckity fuck when you read that quote, than you’re really not going to like the article, As summer camps turn on facial recognition, parents demand: More smiles, please. The article details how summer camps are using facial recognition tech to keep parents up to date on teens often without their kids knowing it.

I spend a lot of time reading about AI products and their impact on society, but using facial recognition on teens at a summer camp (and a phone-free one at that) so companies can sell fear and anxiety to parents who then transfer that anxiety right back onto their kids, really caught me off guard.

If this fires you up, follow @ruchowdh and @hypervisible on Twitter.

Excellent analysis by @drewharwell – “Some of the kids… are so accustomed to constant photography that they barely notice the camera crew.” – we are acclimating the next generation to a surveillance state.— Rumman Chowdhury (@ruchowdh) August 9, 2019

Then read Shoshana Zuboff’s new book surveillance capitalism.

AI as flirt coach?

“It coaches you on what to say on the [first] call,” he says. “Some of it will encourage you to be calm. Some will give you specifics into what kind of person they are, like ‘traditional’ or ‘modern’ lifestyles.”

AI could be your wingman—er, wingbot—on your next first date

Another example of AI teaching people skills. So curious how it feels to be coached by AI. Using AI to coach people on people skills total flattening of the range of ways to interact with people.

And if someone doesn’t know how to engage on the phone, how will they do in person?

Also have they made sure teh person writing the scripts for these interactions actually has people skills? I wonder what that would look like in a job description.

LinkedIn Course Syllabus: How to Upskill Yourself

Let’s address the elephant in the room first: LinkedIn is one of the least exciting places to spend your precious internet time. There’s good reason for that: it’s just a mixed bag of self promotion, #humblebrags, and weird nudges from LinkedIn to congratulate people you don’t know on their new job. There is far more interesting content to explore elsewhere on the interwebs.

I get that. I’m not here to convince you that LinkedIn is great. Instead, I want to make LinkedIn more useful for you. Whether you’re scanning LinkedIn because you need an escape from your job or because someone told you to be on LinkedIn because networking, I want people using LinkedIn to learn something tangible that improves their career situation.

For the month of August I’m teaching people how to upskill. Upskilling is the process of learning new skills to improve your professional life. It’ll also help you stay relevant in a rapidly changing workforce. With so many ways to learn new skills, from digital bootcamps to certificates to online courses to YouTube, figuring out how to make it work for your career can be a challenge. I’ll teach you how from LinkedIn.

This will be an experiment on my part. I wrote a book about upskilling and career changes, so I’m bursting with useful content to share. I’ll be using some content from my book, as well as videos, podcasts, and other media I’ve collected about upskilling and career changes along the way.

There’s no homework for this course. But you can still participate. Follow along and if you have a question or want to share your experience, comment on the posts. I’ll answer your questions.

Below is a syllabus for the themes I’ll cover each week.

Week 1

  • Upskilling: Nailing down a definition
  • Not just the robots: Why upskilling matters (hint: it’s less about robots and more about changing business models)
  • How to upskill: Bootcamps, online courses, and DIY learning, oh my!
  • Upskilling for career changers

Week 2

  • Power Skills: The skills employers want most
  • Evaluating upskill options: Online Courses
  • Evaluating upskill options: Bootcamps
  • Evaluating upskill options: DIY Learning
  • Evaluating upskill options: Workplace Learning

Week 3

  • Upskill now: Highlighting interesting courses and opportunities to get you to upskill this year
  • Skill-building bootcamp showcase
  • Online courses showcase
  • Open learning resources
  • How to find workplace upskilling opportunities

Week 4

  • Crafting a personal learning syllabus
  • Using the 2×2 method to keep you relevant in your workplace
  • Embracing career changes and skill building as the new model for career success
  • Wrap up and next steps

I encourage you to send me questions, ideas, programs you like, and more LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with me with a message letting me know you’re interested in following the Upskill Yourself experiment.

And if you’re curious about how to upskill and change careers, I’ve got just the book for you.

Could LinkedIn be a teaching platform?

In my last post, I wondered if people considered LinkedIn a learning platform given their immense collection of online training for the workplace.

Now I’m thinking about the flip side: is LinkedIn a teaching platform? Could it be?

One of my LinkedIn contacts frequently teaches in his updates. He stands out from the rest of my contacts in that he’s not just promoting himself (or sharing those terrible #humblebrag stories.) Instead, he teaches and when he does, I learn things.

Most of his content is related to data analytics, a subject I’m super interested in. I’m currently studying Python for data analysis and contract for an AI startup. So I found it mighty helpful when he shared this:


And I really enjoyed learning new vocabulary and concepts from the post below, even though it’s still quite advanced for me.

He also shared a helpful tip for job seekers:

His content stands out from everyone else in my network.

I thought about him as I was writing the post on LinkedIn as a learning platform. When I asked in a Facebook group whether or not LinkedIn is a learning platform, two responses reminded me of him:

I learn a lot from my connections on LinkedIn but it’s their content, not the platform, that initiates this. LinkedIn needs a lot of work!

You can find people from which you can learn but it’s not the main focus of the platform

I wondered: could LinkedIn be a teaching platform? And would it be a more valuable place to spend your internet time if it were?

I’m not referring to teaching a course on LinkedIn learning. I’m interested in using LinkedIn to teach a subject using updates, videos, and shared content. What would it look like? Would people engage? How would they engage? I teach a variety of subject in workshops, webinars, and online courses. I’m curious what it’d look like to teach using LinkedIn.

This isn’t a new concept. I see career coaches occasionally teaching on LinkedIn.

I’ve just never tried it. I’m a power user on LinkedIn and I share articles of interest frequently. But I’ve never tried using it as a teaching tool. I’m interested in intentionally tried teaching a subject, planning a curriculum, and seek out diverse resources for people to explore on a given topic.

So I’m going to try an experiment on LinkedIn. For the month of August, I’m teaching people how to upskill.

The term upskilling is a phrase thrown around casually in organizational development and future of work circles. Upskilling is mostly focused on managers who are deciding between hiring new people or training existing employees to adapt to new business models. However, there isn’t much coaching for the actual workers who are trying to figure out how to reskill. From evaluating bootcamps, to selecting online courses that build digital skills, to finding ways to up your skills at work, upskilling is still a relatively new concept to many.

So I’m going to teach it. I spent a third of my book teaching people how to upskill. I’ll use that as my framework and content for teaching the subject on LinkedIn.

Since this is an experiment, I’ll document along the way. If you’re curious, follow me on LinkedIn and participate.

You can check out the syllabus for Upskill Yourself here.

Is LinkedIn a Learning Platform?

Full confession: I spend more time on LinkedIn than Instagram. My friends make fun of me when I tell them this. It’s embarrassing because LinkedIn is easily the least exciting social platform to spend your precious internet time on. But I speak and write about emerging careers and trends in upskilling, so LinkedIn is part of my daily internet consumption routine and embrace the awkwardness of it.

This week LinkedIn popped a recommended course into the top my feed.

That action reminded me that LinkedIn has an entire catalogue of courses on offer, a fact that I’d totally forgotten. Clearly this was the intent of the designers. They wanted to remind users like me that LinkedIn isn’t just a place to read professional #inspo stories of people you don’t know.

Continue reading →