Most of us spend more than half of our waking hours working or doing work-related activities. That’s a lot of time! As Tony often says, your time is your most valuable resource – and if you’re unhappy at work, where you spend at least 50% of your time, then it will be very difficult to find fulfillment in your life. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to create careers that bring us wealth or happiness – let alone both.
This is because the way we have been taught to think about careers through the lens of “The Ladder Model,” where you start on one rung, on one track, and keep climbing until retirement. This model has long passed its expiration date.
There is a much more effective way to construct a career as disruptions of all kinds increase the level of uncertainty most of us face. This new model is the Mosaic Career. With the Mosaic model, we shift our working worlds from a singularly focused track, based on a central skill set, to a composition of talents, creativity, skills, and values that center around a common theme or series of themes.
If you’re reluctant to give up the Ladder model, let me show you why you should:
- The ladder is gone. There are no more one-track careers. Long gone are the days when we could expect to enter one company, and climb a singular ladder to retirement with a Rolex 35 years later. The average number of expected jobs in a lifetime has jumped from one to twelve to well over twenty, according to some research.
- A “job” is no longer a job. The trend toward freelance work has been increasing immensely in the last decade and a half. In Europe, since 2010, more than half of the new jobs created have been freelance or contract work. It is expected that in the U.S., by 2020, freelance and contract workers will make up 40% of the economy.
- We are not happy at work. In the United States in 2018, 66% of people were disengaged or highly disengaged at work. That number aggregates up to 85% globally. These numbers have been reasonably consistent since the early 2000s. The ladder model is leading most peopleo one destination: unfulfilled.
So, how do we build the Mosaic Career? There are five simple steps, rooted in the framework of Mindset, Education, and Collaboration.
- SNIPER V. SCIENTIST. Creating a Mosaic Career requires a shift in thinking about our professional lives from the point of view of a “Sniper” to that of “Scientist.”
Most of us are taught that we need to find the one right career or passion, the one right job, the one right company – and if we don’t, we have failed. We are doomed to mediocrity.
For a Mosaic Career, we need to think like scientists. For example, let’s assume that we are going on an expedition to the South Pole. We’re talented, so we get a lot of research funding. We have all the equipment we need. We may even have some hypotheses about what we will discover once we get down there. However, once we’re there, we are simply observing what happens. There is no right or wrong, only information.
When we extrapolate this idea to build a Mosaic Career, we no longer need to choose the one right thing. We set out on a path, learn, and move on.
- OR V. AND. The old model of thinking meant that most of us sought one job, or kind of job, that could fulfill any of our professional desires – in most cases, a paycheck. If we were doing one job, that job precluded us from doing anything else. You did one job, OR the other.
The Mosaic Career is a platform on which we can develop several different kinds of activities simultaneously to fulfill a greater purpose. I have a dear friend and former client, who quit a soul-sucking desk job to fulfill her dreams of being a natural foods chef and helping immigrant communities in New York overcome diet-related illnesses.
She got into the Natural Gourmet Institute, accelerated her internship and earning programs, and graduated. She has composed a thriving Mosaic Career in which she works as a private natural foods chef, and as a culinary instructor with the renowned Wellness in the Schools program in New York City, and does recipe testing and development alongside award-winning chef, Ellie Krieger. She also received the 40 under 40: Rising Stars in New York City Food Policy award, amongst other impactful activities. Yes, AND.
- SKILLS V. VALUES. One of the principal reasons many people are unhappy at work is that we base our jobs on the skills we think we have, and our understanding of how we can logically apply those skills in the market. This is Ladder thinking.
Career fulfillment is borne out of taking a few steps back and asking ourselves how we want to use our lives, what kind of impact that we want to create in the world, and how we want to contribute to society. By answering these questions, we develop a core set of values (i.e. freedom, adventure, stability, connection, intellectual challenge, etc.) upon which we build our professional paths, and against which we measure every single opportunity that we create. You must ask yourself, ‘Is this opportunity helping me fulfill on only one or two of my values, or am I able to realize nine out of ten consistently?’
- JOB SEARCH V. ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Building a Mosaic Career, whether we do it inside of a traditional company, or become entrepreneurs or solopreneurs, requires that we not only figure out how to get a job, but that we also understand the tenets of entrepreneurship. This point is especially important for those who are choosing to create side-hustles alongside traditional careers or fully step into freelance work.
Do you understand how cash flow works? Do you know what your number is (i.e. your basement level of income in order to live, and to thrive)? Do you know the lifecycles of a business? Do you know how to package your unique knowledge and abilities in ways that others are chomping at the bit to cut you a check in exchange for the value you create?
- NETWORKING V. COMMUNITY BUILDING. Collaboration through community building is the key to constructing a successful Mosaic Career. At Business Mastery, Tony teaches that “proximity is power.” The key to leveraging proximity is understanding that relationships are not solely transactional. They are not rooted in the antiquated exchange of business cards in an effort to determine what you can get from someone else.
Collaboration has moved from networking to community building, where you seek to understand what is happening in someone else’s world, what challenges they are facing, and how you can add value by helping them solve those challenges.
Mosaic Careers lead to flexibility, freedom, fulfillment and the ability to create more impact in our world. Successfully building them simply requires that you shift your focus from what you are capable of doing to the kind of impact you want to use your life to create.
ABOUT ELATIA ABATE
Elatia Abate is an entrepreneur, human capital expert and thought leader on the topic of the future of work. Having devoted her life to creating solutions to the future of work its global challenges, she consults with companies, governments and educational institutions to create pathways to economic empowerment in the face of the disruption that technology creatShe currently serves as Futurist in Residence with FESA Group, an executive search and human capital consulting firm headquartered out of Sao Paulo, Brasil.o Paulo, Brasil.