Earlywork #40: Derisk Your Career for a Remote Future
Ft. Abi Tyas Tunggal (Co-founder @ Himalayas.app, PM @ Upguard) + Roles from Stake, Airtree Ventures & Zash Ventures!
Baked fresh for you today is Earlywork #40, a careers newsletter providing free career resources, news, jobs & interviews for young Australians in the tech & startup landscape.
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💡Weekly Cheeky Tip
Back in the day, remote work was a cheat code. Imagine staying home & getting paid for it!? Or even better… on holiday.
Fast forward to 2021 and going into the office feels like a privilege. The Zoom fatigue is real.
However, it begs the question, is remote just a COVID-fad or here to stay for good?
COVID-19 caused a permanent shift toward flexible, remote work. Canva now only requires staff to come into the office eight times a year, Twitter and Square have said that staff can work remotely permanently, and Facebook will “aggressively open up remote hiring” and expects half of their employees to be remote by 2030.
The shift toward remote work, accelerated by COVID, has shown us that work doesn’t need to be bound by geographic location. This is a fantastic thing for most of us. There’s an extremely high chance that the job that is best suited for you isn’t within commuting distance.
But competition has never been higher.
Remote work is a game and competition is fierce
Knowledge work already resembles a game. We sit down at our desks, move around our mouse, and manipulate keys on our keyboard. If we do the right set of actions, we get rewarded with a better job, increased salary, a bonus, or just more responsibility.
If knowledge work is a game, remote work is an MMORPG where the best players compete against each other in one big global arena. This is great news for some players and bad news for others.
If you’re a talented young person living in a third-world country, small town, or say an island nation away from the rest of the world...it’s fantastic news. Your career is now only bound by your ambition and you probably don’t need to leave home to excel.
But with increased access comes increased competition. Technology is making the world closer and those who are particularly productive or innovative will earn dramatically more than those who aren’t.
This was true before COVID but has only been accelerated since. The leverage that the Internet provides to all of us is pushing the flywheel to turn ever faster (more on this later).
My advice is to avoid competition entirely. As Peter Thiel says, competition is for losers.
The only way to escape competition is through authenticity. Avoid finite games and instead play the infinite game.
“There are at least two kinds of games: finite and infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play. Finite games are those instrumental activities - from sports to politics to wars - in which the participants obey rules, recognize boundaries and announce winners and losers. The infinite game - there is only one - includes any authentic interaction, from touching to culture, that changes rules, plays with boundaries and exists solely for the purpose of continuing the game.” - James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games
Keep refining what you do until you are the best in the world. Your goal should be to find work, as Naval says, that feels like play to you but work to others. Work that suits your unique set of skills, characteristics, and wiring.
If you’re not sure what that is yet, there’s a tool out there that can help you, and it’s free.
It’s called the Internet. The Internet will match you with your tribe, the people who most value you for you but only if you help it.
You need to fuel the matching engines with content. Every tweet, video, story, and podcast you produce is a lottery ticket. The more you produce, the more likely you’ll reach people who most value what you have to offer. This costs nothing but time.
I think Packy McCormick put it best in The Great Online Game:
“We now live in a world in which, by typing things into your phone or your keyboard, or saying things into a microphone, or snapping pictures or videos, you can marshal resources, support, and opportunities.”
The game is free to play, the rewards are enormous, but the Winner Takes Most:
“The Internet enables each of us to earn more than ever before by matching us with the exact people – fans, customers, employers – who value our unique combination of skills and characters. It enables each of us to become a superstar.”
There are no rules, you can decide how fast you level up, and most people are still dramatically underestimating the impact this has on work itself. If you’re reading this, you are very, very early!
But you must play.
“The game is no longer optional. Everyone must play. We have little to lose because we already lost everything: Stable jobs, affordable homes, education that lasts a lifetime, and worry-free retirement are no longer an option. Even money itself ain’t what it used to be. It loses value by simply sitting in the bank.” – Dror Poleg, No Floor, No Ceiling
Your compensation and career trajectory are no longer tied to location. You can earn far more than what you would have earned in a pre-COVID world. But it’ll largely depends on two things:
Whether you can find the people who most value you
Whether your skills are easily replaceable
The best employees will get paid more to work from wherever they want, whenever they want and everyone else will be stuck competing against a global talent pool. Many of whom are able to take a lower salary because they live in places with lower cost of living.
Remember, you want to find what looks like play to you and work to others and then use that to build specific knowledge. It’s generally some sort of weird hobby or passion that you have that stems from a combination of unique traits from your wiring, your unique upbringing, and your response to it. It’s baked into your personality and identity and then something you hone over time.
Once you’ve developed specific knowledge, think about how you can use to build leverage:
Levers are force multipliers
Leverage is the art of accomplishing more
Technically, this is about changing the effort/impact ratio. (Achieving the same result with less time, or achieving significantly more with the time you have.)
There are other definitions of leverage (financial/negotiation) but these fall under the above definition.
We live in an age of near infinite leverage. A blog post you write can be replicated, spread, and read by millions of people at no cost to you. Code you write on your computer and then host on AWS can be run billions of times and serve hundreds of millions of people. A video you post on TikTok can go viral and the words you speak once can be heard across the world.
What I want you to take from this is that yes, competition has never been fiercer but there is also a far higher chance that you can find the perfect role for you. Most people haven’t realised this yet.
Invest a lot of time in finding a job and employer who most values your unique set of skills, characteristics, and passion then look to build leverage over time. Focus on building, growing, and reinvesting in leverage and you’ll earn far more and have far more impact than people who don’t.
If you’re keen to learn more about this area, Naval Ravikant creates some awesome content on this topic!
What content would you like us to cover next? Anything we missed? Keen to share your own Weekly Cheeky Tip?
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Our favourite reads and resources being discussed in the Earlywork community.
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5. 2022 Engineering: New Graduates & Early Career @ Twitter (Sydney)
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1️⃣ 🕐 💪 One Minute Hustle
We are back once again with One Minute Hustle, a bite-sized interview with an emerging Australian young startup founder or operator.
Emily Bobis, Founder @ IoT Compass
⚙️ What are you working on?
We're using connected vehicle data to improve city planning and road safety. Road safety approaches in Australia are reactive, meaning a death or serious injury has to occur before we know a road is unsafe. Compass wants to enable proactive change, by using car braking, steering, and g-force data to map near-misses to provide insight into areas on our road networks where crashes are likely to happen in the future, without a death needing to occur first.
🌱 How’d you get started?
It sounds cliché but I'm motivated by knowing I am making a tangible difference both inside Compass and outside. Knowing that the tech I've contributed to is potentially saving lives is really cool! Our ultimate goal is to use data to build more sustainable, safer, and smarter cities. What could be more rewarding than knowing you've made a difference?
🤔 Why do you do what you do?
My entry into entrepreneurship was a complete fluke. I went on an exchange program to avoid having to write a 40% essay for uni, and ended up meeting my co-founder on that trip. As for Compass, our starting point wasn't straightforward either; our first idea was tracking cows! The whole reason we pivoted to smart cities was because we met a traffic engineer, who convinced us that traffic engineering was ripe for disruption.
Feel free to add me on LinkedIn. Alternatively, we also produce a podcast called Byte Size that aims to highlight business leaders across the transport, road safety, and smart city industries (www.anchor.fm/compassiot).
Keen to share your story, or know a young startup founder or operator we should feature next?
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