Have you thought about macros for your career?
Let me back up and give some context. A few years ago I started the keto diet. There are variations of the keto diet but the main idea is that there are three macro nutrients that you need to track: protein, fat, and carbs. Every version of keto I’ve heard of has you eating a lot of protein, usually a high (or medium-high) amount of fat, and low carbs.
How low on carbs? The keto diet I was following had a daily limit of 20 carbs a day. One time I looked at the label of a loaf of white bread and saw that each slice had 20 carbs. Dang, this was going to be hard. Adios donuts.
Keto was hard but I dropped a bunch of weight and felt amazing. There are plenty of arguments against the keto diet but I found it to be a great way for me to lose weight over the year or so that I did it. I also lost a bunch of pain as I didn’t feel inflammation in my back, joints, etc. It really was an amazing transformation.
I’m not going to talk about the arguments against keto because, well, that’s not the purpose of this blog. Go ask Google, ChatGPT, or Reddit and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of debate about the virtues of keto. What I do want to talk about, of course, since this is the JibberJobber blog, is YOUR CAREER!
This morning I woke up thinking about my food today and I was thinking about my keto journey… I started to think about what the three most important macros for your career would be. Here’s what I came up with:
Macros for Your Career
I have pounded the networking drum since 2006 when I started JibberJobber (and this blog). I’ve written about it hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. Here are some blog posts google lists by me about networking.
You need to network. If that scares you, because you think you are introverted, still network. There are plenty of resources for networking for introverts. Think about the title by Harvey MacKay, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. Network before you need your network. Give to people in your network. Be valuable to them. When you need those people they’ll be ready, and willing, to help you.
If you thought I should write more about networking, you are in luck… here’s my category on this blog with more posts. Immerse yourself in the fun that networking can be in your career!
The other topic I talk a lot about is your brand… your personal brand. This really is one of the macros for your career because if no one knows who you are, or what you want them to know about you, then you are going to have a hard time in your job search. Assuming many jobs are filled by recommendations, coming in from the “hidden job market,” you need to be known. You need someone in that meeting to say, “I know the perfect person for this opening, let me call them after this meeting!”
In that scenario you are bypassing the recruiter and a very messy recruiting process. Of course, you still might go through the process, but you’ll go through as highly recommended instead of as one of hundreds of other applicants who randomly applied.
Your personal brand helps you stand out.
You need to work on your hard (or, technical) skills as well as your soft skills. You need to “skill up,” and keep up with what’s in demand. Many professionals have to take continuing education courses, why not you? Don’t wait for your employer or industry to tell you to keep your skills current… you should be continually learning. I don’t care if you are in a fast-moving space, like tech, or a slower (less prone to change) space like sales or negotiation. There is always room for improving your skills.
Spend the rest of your life studying, and practicing, and improving, your soft skills. Here’s an article I’ll write more about later where one of the wealthiest, most successful people in the history of business, talks about improving soft skills (especially communication).
I’ve essentially made a living talking about, promoting, and teaching soft skills on the Pluralsight platform, so I’m pretty biased about the importance of them. But my point here is, one of the top macros for your career is to continue to invest in your skills. Don’t get stagnant.
Bonus: Your Income Streams
For years I’ve done my Career Management 2.0 presentation (yes, of course it is on Pluralsight, here) and I’ve talked about networking and personal branding. I’ve wondered how to update my course and what an additional biggie would be to add to those two. Finally, one day, I realized it was to create income security through creating more income streams. This can be done many different ways, which is why I’ve written about it dozens of times here.
I’m passionate about multiple streams of income and think it should be one of the macros for your career. That’s not to say that you will have a new one today, or that you’ll have one of your streams of income making thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars, by the end of next year. These things can take time.
I can tell you, though, that creating multiple streams of income can give you a stability, a security, that you won’t get from the job security we talked about in the 1900’s.
More than Macros for Your Career: Micros
To kind of round out this conversation we need to talk about micros. When I was on keto “they” said to make sure I hit my macro numbers and then take really good multivitamins for my micros. Normally you get these vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies, and other foods that you are cutting out during keto. (Note: I don’t think donuts have the micros you are looking for)
Many people will say keto is unsustainable… it’s hard, it feels unrealistic over a long period of time. Focusing on those three macros for your career (or whichever macros you identify) can also feel hard and unsustainable. You really should round out your career health with more than your career macros. So, figure out what those are and figure out how to get them in. Maybe you need to have fun, take vacations, feel valued, contribute to humanity, etc.
I’m not saying those are less important than the four macros for your career I mentioned above, maybe one of those is one of your macros. You get to decide. My invitation, as usual, is for you to be intentional about what you decide your macros are but to also make sure you don’t neglect micros… they are all critical for the long-term health and a sustainable career strategy.