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Start-up of You

Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career

By Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

The Start-Up of You (2012) is a guide to how you can leverage strategies used by start-ups in your own career: being adaptable, building relationships and pursuing breakout opportunities.

In a world where entire industries are being ravaged by global competition and traditional career paths are fast becoming dead-ends, everyone needs to hustle like an entrepreneur.

Key idea 1 of 9

Adopt a start-up mentality to succeed in today’s turbulent professional world.

In the past, the career of an educated person usually followed a fairly predictable trajectory: Much like getting on an escalator, he or she would start with an entry-level position at a large organization, and gradually rise through the ranks, gaining more seniority and income as the years passed.

Today, however, due to macroeconomic forces like globalization and technology, the escalator has come to a standstill at every level. There are fewer people retiring, hardly any entry-level positions opening up and employees in middle management find themselves waiting for promotions which might never come.

If your own career plan has thus far relied on this escalator, alarm bells should be ringing in your head.

Fortunately, you can succeed professionally even without the escalator. Start-up companies have always had to live with unpredictability and change, and hence to succeed professionally today, you must apply a start-up mindset to your professional development.

The most important lesson is to be adaptable and vigilant: always consider yourself in permanent beta, i.e. as a work in progress, eager to learn and develop.

Prioritize learning opportunities. Too often, 20 years of experience really means one year of experience repeated 20 times. In permanent beta each year should be full of new challenges and developments.

Although a cozy corporate job on the escalator may seem low-risk, it actually increases your risks in the long run. If you are used to constantly adapting, even drastic changes cannot hurt you, because you will always land on your feet. If, however, you are used to passively standing on the career escalator, an unexpected event like being fired could be disastrous.

So remember, adopt a start-up mentality to succeed in today’s turbulent professional world.

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