Category: Commentary

The Best Way to Get a Better Job…

Be the best employee at your current job.

Seriously.

If you half-ass one opportunity, no one will want to hire you for another.

Don’t stress that your current work isn’t your life’s dream.  (Nothing will be, because it shifts and changes all the time).  You won’t get stuck there if you’re so good everyone notices and wants to hire you elsewhere!

Me and TK take on this and a few other career and life questions in today’s episode of Office Hours.

Check it out.

Be Careful of Epic Victories

Last year, the Detroit Lions broke an NFL record.  Of their 9 wins, 8 were fourth quarter comebacks.

They just kept making epic comebacks an delivering in the clutch.

Much praise was (rightly) heaped on the team, and QB Matt Stafford.  No matter the spot, Stafford worked magic and pulled a win out of the hat.  His skill delivered.

It was fun to watch as a fan, but it also revealed a major flaw.  You don’t win Super Bowls (or even playoff games) with magic fixes.  You win them by being the kind of team that doesn’t need magic…at least not every week.

Building a business is like this.  The problem with all-nighters and trench warfare to pull victory from the jaws of defeat is that it doesn’t produce consistency or scale.  The real growth curve starts when you can turn magic into a system.

The book, “The E-Myth” is sort of a classic blueprint for how a small business can turn into an empire by taking what they do best – and what the founders and leaders do best – and turning it into a system.

It’s the Bill Belichikification of business.

If you don’t know anything about coach Belichick and his New England Patriots, you’ve been sleeping under a rock and need to wake up.  They are a winning machine.  Sure, they get great play out of amazing players like Tom Brady, and they enjoy a little magic once in a while.  They’ve also lost two Super Bowls at the hands of pure, unsystematic magic.

Then again, they’ve been seven times and won five of them in a decade and a half.  An unprecedented feat in a sport with massive incentives to keep teams equal.

They have less raw talent and fewer high draft picks on their roster than anyone.  But it doesn’t matter.  They don’t need magic talent or magic plays.  They have a system that has turned magic into a repeatable, scalable process.

It feels good to get a big win.  When you jump on the field of battle and slay the dragon with great aplomb everybody feels great.  Every so often, it’s needed.  But what kind of Kingdom is so situated as to face dragons only the great Knights can defeat every single day, week, or month?

Turning an all-star, magical performer into a system is the real alchemy.

At Praxis, our team is amazing.  They perform unreal feats daily, and overdeliver in the clutch for customers and business partners all the time.  That’s a constant source of excitement and concern for me.  I want them to win, but I don’t want company success dependent on individual magic.  I want magic baked into the very bones of the place.

When you perform magic for the win, take a minute to enjoy.  Then step back and ask what made it possible, and how you could achieve the same results, or even avoid the necessity for magical intervention, by building a system that embodies those traits day in day out without even thinking about it.

Markets in Everything

I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to the burgeoning world of cryptocurrency.

One of the coolest parts is the ease with which crypto enables markets in areas previously difficult to monetize.  True, many of these applications don’t technically necessitate the blockchain, but it makes them easier and faster in many cases. (Plus, “tokenizing” things just feels kinda fun).

Micropayments alone – the ability to exchange fractions of a cent since fees are so low – open a world of possibility.  Ideas I’ve dreamed about are being launched and beta tested now.  Things like paying people to open/respond to emails, paying to post/share/comment on content or getting paid for the same, paying sites you visit directly instead of paying in the form of suffering through ads that lag pages and are generally terrible, etc.

Really, there are already markets in all these things, they’re just less efficient because they have to ration with things like time, availability, and random luck.  Monetizing these markets means gaps between supply and demand can adjust faster for more value all around.  If you can put a price on something, you can make it more efficient!

If you want to test a few of these out, you can check out Yours.org, a content platform I’ve been playing with and posting to.  Or you can email me via Earn, where a $1 payment guarantees a response (I normally respond anyway, but fun to play with this).

Who knows which versions of these applications will succeed and in what ways, but there’s no denying that markets in everything are getting better every day!

A Quick Tip for Kids and Parents

Parents: don’t contact employers to put in a good word or fight for your kids to get a job. You’ll decrease their chances of getting that job and every other job.

Young people: don’t let your parents contact employers to put in a word for you or to complain if you don’t get the gig.

People want to hire you, not your family.

How to State Your Salary, Quit a Job, and Followup with Emails

In this episode, TK and Isaac break down three common professional challenges–how to talk with your employer about the salary you want, sending follow-up emails, and the professional way to move on from a job.

Questions:

  • My employer wants to hire me full time and is asking me for a salary requirement, how do I answer?
  • I have two podcast guests, that have agreed to interviews, but aren’t following up on my messages about scheduling, should I take the hint, or keep following up?
  • I’m not satisfied with my job and I plan on leaving as soon as I find a better opportunity. Since I know I’m ready to move on, I was set to inform my employer of my plans. Do you think that is the best way? Is it unprofessional to tell your employer that you’re leaving?

Check out the new episode of Office Hours now on iTunesYouTubedirect download and all major podcast platforms.

Topics Discussed:

  • Learning Spanish
  • Working out loud
  • Why are people only afraid to share learning stories and success stories
  • How to answer a question about your ralary requirement
  • Following up to get what you want
  • How to leave your job in a professional manner
  • Thinking about how you want to tell your story when you are making decisions
  • Making the transition as easy as possible for your employer when you leave

Some Praxis Reflections…

Sara Morrison, our Director of Operations at Praxis, recently reflected on her first year working with us in this awesome blog post.

It got me all nostalgiclike.  Plus, it’s fall, and something about the cold snap and smell of dead leaves always makes me reflective.

I realized just how much Praxis and the people involved change in a single year!  It feels like my life’s work, yet we’re only in our fourth year.

Sara is getting started on a summary report for 2017, something we like to do each year to remind ourselves all we’ve done.  I sent her the reports for 2014, 2015, and 2016, and I couldn’t resist flipping through them again myself.

Wow.

We’ve come a long way.

I won’t give any spoilers, but just wait until you see our 2017 report!  The growth, the product upgrades, and most of all the alumni and participant stories are off the charts from our humble beginnings.

And we’re just getting started.

For the curious…

2014 Praxis Year in Review
2015 Praxis Year in Review
2016 Praxis Year in Review

(Just wait for 2017…and 2018, ’19, and beyond!)

The Thing About Experiments

Few things are more useful than an experimental approach to life.

It’s hard to adopt.  The thoroughly schooled mind makes it much harder.  Conditioning breeds a firmly tracked mind, where decisions are all treated with great weight, as if once-for-all.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“What’s your major?”

Etc.

Approaching opportunities as experiments, and even creating your own regular experiments in personal growth is a key to success.

But there’s a hitch.

When most people think “experiment”, they imagine sort of timidly dipping their toe in the water.  The Goldilocks approach of a dab of this, a smidge of that to see what suits me.

That might work at the buffet, but it won’t work with bigger stuff and professional opportunities.

Yes, treat everything not as your forever life path but as an experiment.  BUT, you can’t learn or gain or leverage an experiment into something awesome if you half-ass it.  You have to engage each experiment as if it is your one true calling.  Live it.  Own it.  Dive in head first.

Every job or project you do, go all in.  Be the best at it.  Become it.  Then when you find a new opportunity, quit and go all in on that!

You won’t find those new opportunities or learn from your experiments if you half-heartedly engage.

Don’t worry so much about whether something is the “right” thing.  If it looks interesting, experiment with it.  But REALLY experiment with it.  Work your butt off at it.  Be awesome at it.

That’s how you win an experiment and let it take you to the next cool thing.