The following is an excerpt from The Muse founders’ new book, The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career, which hits the shelves April 18, 2017.
We believe you should love your job. In fact, we believe that you should be thrilled with your job. And more than thrilled—fulfilled by it.
We believe that you can find a career that gives you purpose, one that lets you use a set of skills that give you pride, and enjoy a day-to-day that gives you meaning. We believe that your work can—and should—be a part of who you are, what you value, and what you want for the future of the world.
And we truly believe that you—yes, you—can achieve all of this.
Decades ago, this would have been a revolutionary, even ridiculous, idea. For the majority of workers, a job was at best a means to a paycheck and at worst total drudgery. Work paid for your “real life,” the one outside of a 9-to-5: your hobbies and pastimes, your families and friendships, your weekends. Free time was where you anchored your identity. Work itself was never a source of fulfillment.
You may still feel very much like this now. But you should also know there’s another way.
We’re not the first to say it, but the world of work is changing. The last 20 years have seen a massive shift both in terms of what work means to us, and in what it demands from us. Gone are the days when your clients or your boss couldn’t reach you unless you were in the same room or at your desk next to a landline phone. Now not only can you take work home with you, but you’re often expected to be in constant contact, available around the clock.
This dramatic shift is exactly what makes it so crucial that your work is something that inspires and fulfills you. But luckily, these very same shifts also mean there is more opportunity for you to find a perfect fit between the things that fulfill you and how you make a living. That’s in large part because the same internet that connects you to work long after 5 PM has also democratized access to information and people, meaning it is easier than ever to explore and pursue new career opportunities, acquire new skills, and connect with an ever-expanding network of individuals across the globe. Today, it’s more feasible than ever to take control of your future and pave the way for change.
It also means that you have options your parents never dreamed of. The traditional paths—go to medical school, become a doctor; go to law school, become a lawyer—are giving way to an increasingly broad set of choices: a menu of options that actually expands as we gain new experience and new skills and access to new networks over the course of our careers. For example, a med school grad today may be weighing private practice against a consulting opportunity in the healthcare space, a chief medical officer role at a healthcare startup, or a position advising hospital staff on safety and reducing medical errors.
Our menu of options has expanded in this way largely because of the explosion of new jobs and fields that didn’t even exist as recently as a decade ago. Today there are countless jobs that have only recently become viable career paths: social media manager, cybersecurity analyst, UX (user experience) designer, to name just a few.
With this expanded set of options comes the opportunity to find not just a “good on paper” job, but a job that is the perfect fit for you. Today you’re able to weigh your choices not just in terms of the work itself—though that’s important—but also in terms of many other factors. You can (and should) factor in a company’s culture and mission, and whether that aligns with your values. You can (and should) take into account workplace culture, flexibility, and opportunities for learning. For you have your own dreams, needs, and motivations, and finding a job or career path that best aligns with them will not only make you much happier getting up to go to work, but also help you thrive once you get there.
This isn’t to say that you will love every job you have, or that you will love your job every day. But we believe that, with the right tools and perspective, you can find a job that fills you with meaning and purpose more days than not, and moves you toward a goal that is resonant and rich.
To get there, though, you need to throw out all the old, traditional advice about what it takes to find, land, and thrive in the perfect job. And that’s exactly why we wrote our new book, The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career.
The New Rules will help you navigate the changing landscape of work and the unique path you will build, not follow. The New Rules will help you build a career that you truly love. And The New Rules will give you everything you need to succeed at work today.
So buckle up for a great ride. We’re going to take the future by storm, together.