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Trying to figure out what’s next for you in your career?

I’ve had a number of people reach out recently for advice on just how to do this. My first suggestion is always the same:

  1. Make a list of everything you want in your next role. That includes things like title, responsibilities, characteristics like autonomy, company size, ownership model, comp, benefits, location–whatever matters to you. All of it. Brainstorm a list in no particular order. Whatever comes to mind.
  2. Force rank it. What is most important for you at this point in your life and career? This is the hard part and will take some time. You might want to do it, let it sit for a bit, look at it again and make some changes. At some point, call it done.
  3. Draw a line under the top 3 items. These are your non-negotiables. Everything else … there’s room for flex.
  4. As you evaluate jobs, companies, opportunities, whatever is next, keep coming back to your list and your non-negotiables.

I didn’t come up with this practice: I was given this incredibly wide guidance by Kari Ziemer ages ago on a walk around Normandale Lake as she was helping me figure out what was next for me.

This little practice made crystal clear to me what I wanted next, and it changed my life.

I’ve given this guidance to many, many people over the years, always with credit to Kari. With so many people today asking the question “What do I want next?”, it seemed like the right time to share this wisdom more broadly.

Kari, thank you so much for your guidance that day. I have so much gratitude for your friendship and wisdom and owe you more than you know.

If you take the time for this exercise, I’d love to hear from you: what are your 3 non-negotiables?

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