Start with What, Not Why
Don't Be Fooled By The Empty Promise of "Why"
Do you really understand why you do what you do?
I don’t. And I won’t pretend otherwise.
That’s why as I continue my journey of switching to a career in Web3, I’m not focused on exactly why I do it at this point.
Last week I said it was interesting (that’s true), but I don’t really want to dig into why it’s interesting.
I’m not sure I’ll find anything compelling. And if I do, how will it help me get closer to my goal?
Honestly, the idea of focusing on why sounds to me like a luxury for those who have the time and resources to ponder. Since so many of my readers are focused on building their career from an early stage, I’d much rather focus on something practical.
So I’m going to document here the first step in a better approach to switching careers:
focusing on what.
How I’m Focusing On “What” In My Web3 Career Transition
I’ve been asking myself a few questions since last Thursday about my pursuit of a Web3 career. These are the question I recommend everyone making a career shift in the WFA world ask themselves.
What do I want to experience as a result of switching my career into Web3?
What do I expect will be better as a results of switching my career into Web3?
What kind of job do I want in Web3?
Notice I’m using “what” to create questions with clear and specific answers. Getting to the specific answers will also force me to engage with the industry, and to understand it.
By contrast, “Why” generates a more internally reflective mood. I’ll end up perhaps with some sense of how my values are driving my decision, but I won’t have a set of actionable next steps.
By contrast, each of the 3 “what” questions above creates a feedback loop of action that I’d like to now show you. Let’s take a look at each question in more detail.
What Do I Want To Experience…
This question is another way of answering “What am I seeking more of?”. It will help me (and anyone looking to switch careers) understand specifically what they are looking to add to their lives as a result of switching jobs.
For me, there are many answers when it comes to Web3:
Colleagues who are more aware of how the world is changing
A fast-paced industry
A strong sense of mission
A high level of technical sophistication and curiosity among my colleagues
A desire and ambition in the company to create a new way of living in the world
A fascination with how Web3 technology can change our experience of the world
But I’ll be the first to admit that these are just assumptions about Web3. By making them explicit, I can now ask why they are important to me, if I want. I can also test them by asking others already in the industry how right my assumptions are.
This can also help guide me towards and away from certain jobs and companies in the industry.
What do I expect will be better…
Another way of stating this is “What do I want to get away from?” Most of the time, we don’t just want to experience something new that is net positive. We also are generally looking to have less of certain experiences we have in our current job.
For me, this would be:
Less emphasis on sales
Less emphasis on enabling people who are already wealthy to become wealthier
Less connection to China
Less emphasis on service-based business
And perhaps other points. Whatever the case, these things would be my filters. I would use them to determine which companies I did NOT want to work for, with a clear understanding of why.
What kind of job do I want?
This is the most difficult question to answer, which is why I would encourage you to only explore it AFTER you have answered the other 2.
It’s not obvious at first why it’s difficult: Web3, like any industry, is going to have many preset roles: sales, marketing, product.
So this question isn’t really about that, per se. It’s more about type of company (B2B, B2C), level of responsibility (Manager, individual contributor), and perhaps stage of company (start up, scale up, ect.). These factors matter much more for making decisions than the job role, unless you want to embrace a highly technical role.
This last question doesn’t need a firm answer, because your first priority is changing industry and/or getting a remote job if you don’t have one.
Take time to consider the variables above, and then do your best to get a preliminary answer.
For me, the answer to this last question is to work for a scale up B2C blockchain company focused on either gaming or ed-tech. I am not 100% settled on this answer, but it’s enough to get started with the next step, which is understanding the landscape of Web3.
That’s what I’ll be doing til next Thursday. Thanks for reading, and see you there!