I believe that, sooner or later, we all become vulnerable in our careers.
The reality is that the majority of us are always vulnerable, even if we don’t realize it or admit it to ourselves. Eventually, something will happen that wakes you up to this fact.
If your primary source of income is from one job and you have a single boss who controls your fate, you are vulnerable.
If your cost of living is such that you heavily depend on that single source of income to survive, sometimes paycheck to paycheck, you are vulnerable.
If your industry collapsed and you have no financial cushion to survive as you rebuild your career and change professions, you are vulnerable.
If age discrimination makes it harder and harder to find employment in your chosen profession, you become increasingly vulnerable with every passing year.
So, what is an Invincible Career?
It means that, as much as possible, you have removed single points of failure from every aspect of your overall career ecosystem. No single event can disrupt your life for very long.
In fact, you may even become stronger as you are exposed to adversity. You bounce back from any setback; wiser, tougher, and more prepared for what comes your way. Nassim Nicholas Taleb refers to this as being “Antifragile”, and wrote a book on this phenomenon called Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (affiliate link).
Before you can forge your own invincible career, you need to understand your existing and potential areas of vulnerability. You can then make a plan to eliminate and mitigate points of vulnerability to give you the confidence required to make the best decisions for your career and your life. This is the process that people work through in my Career Accelerator.
In general, the primary benefit of an Invincible Career is that you get to work and live your life on your own terms. You no longer live in fear of upsetting your boss or losing your job. Your work is aligned with your personal values, and leverages your core talents and strengths.
The positive ripple effects of living this way are enormous, with far-reaching impact. I can’t even begin to capture all of the ways your life might change. But, I’ve summarized what it means to have an invincible career in terms of 10 core principles.
The 10 Principles of an Invincible Career
Live where you will truly enjoy your quality of life
Work where you want to spend your days
Become an expert at what you do for a living
Transform your work to be meaningful and satisfying
Take control of how you want to do your work
Work when you want, and as much as you want
Work with people who bring out the best in you
Achieve fulfillment by leveraging your expertise to help others
Take charge of your career and never again feel trapped
Empower yourself to never again feel vulnerable
Of course, this all won’t happen overnight. But if you start today, you’ll be on the path to achieving it.
What I've been reading lately
Evaluating a startup requires a framework. Naval’s is extremely simple—and effective. If you don’t know Naval, he is the founder and CEO of AngelList. He’s a super smart guy who always has excellent advice.
This explains the importance of being more aggressive in your career growth:
You want to rise, early in your career, to a senior position because that position will accrue more compound interest over the 30+ years of your life than if you take your time getting there.
“Some of the most successful people that I’ve seen in Silicon Valley had breakouts very early in their careers,” Naval says. “They got promoted up to VP or Director or CXO or CEO, or started a company that did well, fairly early. If you’re not getting promoted up through the ranks, it gets a lot harder to catch up later in life. It’s good to be in a smaller company early because…there’s less of an infrastructure to prevent early promotion.”