Cal Newport’s rules for career building. I’ve never read a book that seemed more enlightened on the topic.
Your motivation has nothing to do with making your career better. The way you work is everything.
“Follow your passion” is bad advice for becoming happy with your work.
Instead, get good at working, and you’ll gain passion for the work. There are some jobs where that’s not going to be possible, and Cal provides some ways to identify them. Get out of those jobs and instead find work in a field where you can develop a craft worth developing.
Gain career capital. Do difficult things that most people cannot or will not do, and get good at those things. This career capital makes you valuable. Some industries will require you to become valuable at only one skill: ignore other skills and maximize that one. Other industries will reward more diversity. Identify which approach your market requires, and follow through.
Once you’re working well, and have earned career capital, spend that capital on control. Use that control to make your career fit your life’s mission. Pursue your mission with the craft you’ve painstakingly trained.
This mission, control, and passion comes because you do good work. Not the other way around.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport, part of my 2017 Reading