Objective: build a career that is long-lasting and enjoyable - rather than get rich quick or quickly make your CV impressive.
This takes research and introspection. You have to know yourself, because if you don’t know what makes you happy how do you find a job that makes you happy?
Three components of sustainable careers
- the role
- the industry
- the company
Certain roles can work in a variety of industries and vice versa. However, companies can determine the structure and culture of your role. Therefore, we can argue that the company is one of the most important elements to finding a sustainable career.
- What is it about the role that appeals to you? Is it about the role or the industry?
- Can you see yourself doing this 10 years from now?
- Will it be hard to stay current and relevant in this role?
- How is this role evolving? Is it changing in a direction you like? Will it become automated? Are people becoming dissatisfied in this role?
- What is the trend in demand for this role? Will there be a lot of competition?
If you are unsure on answers to these questions, you can always speak to people who are in these roles. There may also be some articles or blogs on this, so go out and do your research.
- What products does your company sell and who do they sell to?
- How ripe is it for disruption? Are changes in the landscape changing things in this industry?
- Is there consolidation happening? How strong can your career be in the industry you choose?
- What are the external forces on it? Regulation? Political change?
- Is it growing or slowing? Where is it on the Product Life Cycle?
- What is the business model? Is it working? Is it sustainable?
- How fast are they growing? Is revenue growing proportionally?
- Who owns the company? What is their intention with it? Are they committed to it?
- What “flavor” or remote do they offer? Remote-first? Hybrid? Are they sync or async? Are they pushing for a return to office?
- What is the turnover rate? Do people leave because they are bored? or burned out? Why do they stay?
- How hard is the product’s value to replicate? How strong is its differentiator?
This article from the founder of Gumroad talks about all the things that went ‘wrong’ that were in his control and out of his control, and how this impacted his company’s successes. You can read this to understand what kinds of things impact a company. You can be mindful about these things when doing your research.
A note on Venture Capital funded companies
Venture Capital - if you are working for a venture capital company and you need to survive, you need to generate a huge amount of money. It is a useful lens to understand how successful a company needs to be to break free from venture capital. Bear in mind that if your company takes Venture Capital money, they are spending it before they make it. What is your tolerance for risk?
If a job is directed at growth - remember that this company is feeling pressure to grow audience and user base, and is likely on the Venture Capital clock. Think about this in terms of the role.
A note on the size of the company
Balsamiq’s article Every Software Company Has a ‘Natural Size’ explains how the problem that the company is trying to solve will dictate how big a company becomes. Think about this in relation to the company you are working for or want to work for. Are there enough people out there to support your goals?
- Optimize your resume for robots - most companies use resume reading tools, you have to learn what to write so it suits this. Open resume helps you to create a resume that does well in the resume reading systems that may be used.
- Saying you want the job just because its remote is not compelling.
- Remote experience is not required, being able to communicate effectively or over-communicate is required for a remote job. Craft some stories to show that you have those skills.
- Think about what you can say to show that you are the best candidate - not just that you are good for the job what makes you better than everybody else. Even if you don’t believe it, be sure to try and do this.
- Focus on talking points that you can say that you think will help you get the job. Interview like a politician and go in with a plan. You won’t necessarily get asked questions about being a good leader or empathetic, you have to make talking points about this, which you can bring up even if they don’t ask.
Open resume helps you to create a resume that does well in the resume reading systems that may be used.
People First Jobs is a jobs board that vets companies for sustainable business models - this can be a good place to start.