Earlywork #38: The Framework for Career Fulfilment
Ft. Andy Wetherell (CEO & Co-Founder @ Alto Education), plus roles from Immutable, Fresh Equities & Steppen, and a One Minute Hustle w/ Eugenia Yuan (Co-Founder @ Inspiring Chats)
Ello ello Earlyworkers!
We are back with Earlywork #38, 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:
It’s pretty crazy to think that we’ll spend 90,000 hours working, that’s around one-third of our lifetime. Heck, that’s a lot of hours 😰. Doesn’t it make sense then, that we should be spending all of these hours in a way that’s meaningful to us?
We talk about this a lot here at Earlywork; it’s a big reason why we started Earlywork in the first place! Jono, Dan and I have spent a lot of time talking about what makes a “meaningful career”. And just like that, a newsletter idea was born!
I was lucky enough to chat with Andy Wetherell all about this topic. Andy is the CEO and Co-Founder of Alto Education, an Ed-Tech company that’s all about helping individuals work towards a fulfilling career.
Keep reading for a special deal just for Earlywork readers for Alto Education’s upcoming program, 😉
Over to you, Andy!
Work can be more than a means of making money. This is a belief we strongly hold at Alto Education, where our vision is for every person to have a job they love.
How I got started
I’ve been extremely lucky in my career journey so far, starting with a team of students that wanted to build & launch a satellite which we had to build a company around to achieve. We built this company out of passion, and it was my first insight into what it is like to work with a group of talented individuals focused on a singular goal, commonly shared.
The energy, the fun, and the results of this kind of team are staggering - and it struck us when looking at most of the professional world that this was not the norm, and we believe it should be.
The problem with finding fulfilling careers today
When looking for work, I believe firmly in focusing on work that you will find personally fulfilling as the highest priority. Often we focus on prestige, or money when finding a job. Just think about how many people put “Ex-<insert prestigious consulting company>” on their resumes.
The challenge with this approach is that the definition of success (e.g. how much money I make) is tied to external factors outside your control (such as the state of the economy). What you’ll find is that the people who make the most money or rise up the ranks are those who are best at their jobs, and those who are best at their jobs are the ones who are engaged because they love their work.
My framework, adapted from Ikigai
I like to use a simple Venn Diagram adapted from Ikigai, a Japanese philosophy looking at what makes a purposeful life, to think about what factors to consider when identifying potential work.
This model is based on behavioural science and combines the reality of what we need from work in the modern world in order to thrive personally and professionally.
A Strength is what you are uniquely good at. Strengths often combine a set of behaviours, transferable and interconnected skills, knowledge and specific technical skills. There are valuable assessment tools online like Gallup Clifton Strengths Assessment which can help you identify your top strengths, but asking friends and colleagues is a good insight.
An example of a Strength might be courage, the willingness to be uncomfortable and try something new.
The more scarce the Strength is, the more valuable it is.
When looking for work, consider what type of work and companies will play to your strengths. Work that lets you use your Strengths will be more engaging and you will be able to contribute more. Ideally, you can find a workplace that matches people with work based on Strengths. The easiest way to find out is to start reaching out to people who already work there.
Support is about having the right relationships and environment that lets you work how you want to work. It includes the people you work with, how like-minded you are in terms of values and beliefs with the people and company. The supportive environment helps you to thrive and continue to grow as an individual so that you can achieve more long-term.
The best place to start is to identify your values. What are the behaviours that you believe should be lived by every single day?
For example, a few of my own are: courage – willing to be uncomfortable; curiosity – a thirst to understand the world around me; candour – provide honest, challenging, yet caring feedback.
I look for companies whose values match my own. However, it’s easy for companies to talk the talk about their values. In an interview, I would turn the tables and ask the interviewer for stories that illustrate their values in action. If they can’t tell me a story when they personally showed courage, I know it’s not true.
Impact is about the value you can give back and it’s quite identity-driven. It is intertwined with Strengths; we add the most value when playing to our Strengths, as long as we work on a meaningful goal that will generate Impact. Whatever it is that you identify with, this could be solving problems for your religion, for your country, for humankind, for nature.
This comes from an evolutionary biology argument of genetic competitiveness which stacks up pretty well in explaining behaviour on a micro and macro level. For more on this, check out “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins.
The most straightforward of the lot, Incentives are the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards you desire from your work. Make a list of the extrinsic rewards such as salary, awards, status and other benefits that you desire. There’s no shame in desiring to be wealthy or to have status – just know why you are about these things and check things aren’t a means to an end (because there might be more than one way to achieve that end!).
Intrinsic rewards include challenging work, opportunities to learn and grow, impact, but that should already be covered. Both types of rewards matter, but we need to meet a threshold of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards to maintain motivation.
Here’s a checklist to get started
Here’s a checklist from Andy that summarises some of the key considerations when looking for a job with this new framework:
What content would you like us to cover next? Anything we missed? Keen to share your own Weekly Cheeky Tip?
🌏 Earlywork Community
Finding meaningful careers has also been a hot topic in the Earlywork Community, perfect timing right! The thread was so good to keep to ourselves, check it out below 👇
Anonymous: Hey, EWs! I’m feeling a bit lost in life, more specifically in my career. I only have a (veeeeery) general idea of what space/role I want to be in, but I’d love to further define this so I can create myself some milestones/roadmap. I thought of doing an introspection e.g. what I’m good at vs what I’m bad at, what I like vs what I don’t. Does anyone have a tool or framework that can help me do this in a more structured manner?
Penny T: Definitely use the IKIGAI tool.
Bree F: I don't have a silver bullet framework, but I’d start with thinking about:
What kind of work do you find yourself doing after hours or on weekends? Are you writing, playing around in no-code tools, or making up a thesis for a personal investment? Pay attention to where you choose to spend your time - it's generally on things you enjoy. Think about the skills you're using when doing the things you enjoy and map them to potential roles.
What problems do you care about solving? IMO, there's nothing more miserable than working for a company whose mission and values don't align with yours. In any role, there are less exciting tasks you have to do, but you'll be more inclined to do them (and a good job of them!) if you believe in the big picture.
If you're thinking about the type of company you'd like to join, e.g. an early-stage startup vs a corporate, figure out what's important to you career-wise. Are you happy being an individual contributor or do you like working in a team? How comfortable are you with ambiguity? What does career progression mean to you, e.g. promotions, increased responsibility, opportunity to learn? Are you in a position to take a salary cut for equity?
Andy W: If you like to read, a couple of useful books will be:
Leading from purpose - Nick Craig
Grit - Angela Duckworth
I've heard there is a book 'What colour is your parachute' I think it's called, meant to be pretty good - can't personally recommend it because I haven't read it myself but I was sent it by a behavioural scientist who enjoyed it last year and recommended it.
Also, 80,000 hours is a pretty popular resource for impact-driven thinking around career choices
📚 Trending Topics
Our favourite reads and resources being discussed in the Earlywork community.
Top 0.1% of marketing mental models. A top-notch Twitter thread on mental models around marketing, customer life cycle and brand.
TEN13 - Clipchamp Acquired by Microsoft. This one is written by one of our own Earlywork Community members!
How CultureAmp doubled its engineering team. The best part of this: 50% of new hires were women. This Twitter thread goes into how the team achieved all of that in 6 months.
💼 Top Gigs
Some of our favourite roles shared in the community recently. Join here to access our job channels.
Anyone @ Immutable (Sydney) - yep you heard right. They are looking for people that might have been “missed” in the list of open roles.
Product Designer @ Fresh Equities (Melbourne)
Community Lead @ Steppen. Join the community to reach out to Cara Davies.
Software Engineer @ GridCognition (Remote/Perth)
If you’re not already a member, hop on over to join in on discussions with other young Aussies in tech & startups, stay up to date with industry news & events, and find/share job opportunities.
Keen to have an opportunity at your company shared with the Earlywork community?
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.
This week, let’s get inside the noggin of a young entrepreneur who's making it easier to connect with like-minded people.
Eugenia Yuan, Co-Founder @ Inspiring Chats
⚙️ What are you working on?
I'm working on Inspiring Chats, an online platform to help people create meaningful connections, one chat at a time 🤗
🌱 How’d you get started?
I started by reaching out to fellow founders on LinkedIn, asking them about their experiences in networking and meeting new people. 😊
I noticed that almost everyone I spoke to are happy to share some of their knowledge and skills (at no cost), and many are looking to learn and grow in other aspects of their businesses.
So I proposed to my partner the idea of building a database of profiles with searchable skills and industries, where people can connect and help each other, and it started evolving from there!
🤔 Why do you do what you do?
While most of us are aware of the importance of having strong, meaningful relationships, it's often not so easy finding like-minded people and building a support network, especially in the COVID environment.
There are no shortcuts to building great connections, but I want to make it easier for people to get started. 🙌
Keen to share your story, or know a young startup founder or operator we should feature next?
Share your deets and we’ll get in touch!
One more thing to wrap things up!
If you liked what Andy had to say, make sure you check out the Alto Forge Program run by his company, Alto Education
Forge is a six-week online innovation training program that teaches you a systematic way of identifying and solving meaningful problems. The program starts on October 11th, co-created with industry leaders in the innovation space including 2 Q&A sessions with Google’s Head of Innovation for Customer Engineering - responsible for Google’s global B2B efforts in helping companies build their innovation capability.
There’s a 15% discount for the first 10 readers to use this promo code EARLYWORK15 here: