Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 06, 2016


Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
Hey everyone, my name is Adam Smiley Poswolsky. I'm a millennial career expert, keynote speaker on millennials in the workplace at Fortune 500 companies and business conferences, and the author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters, which was recently published by Penguin Random House. Ask me about: how to overcome your quarter-life crisis, how to find work you love (that also pays the bills), how to build a meaningful career in the 21st century, how to be a thriving rather than a starving artist, and how to build a purpose-driven community that will empower your dreams. My website: Book link:
Julián Peláez E.@pelaezjuliancr · Philosophy student at UCR
What advice would you give the younger version of yourself regarding choosing a major? What advise would you give to your kids?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@pelaezjuliancr Only 27% of college graduates have a job related to their major. This doesn't mean your major doesn't matter. But I think it's more important to ask yourself deep questions: Who am I? What do I care about? Why I'm I here? What impact do I want to want to create? Lead with the right questions, focus less on the answers...
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
Have you ever had to work for a company / in a position that you didn’t like? How has this affected you since?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@ayrton Great question! And my answer is, yes. I worked for 2.5 years for the US government in a job that while great on paper, wasn't the right fit for me. I'm actually really grateful for this job because it taught me what I DIDN'T want. Sometimes having a job you don't like is incredibly valuable. Because learning what's not the right fit for you is so crucial. Most people I interview who love their job have once worked jobs they hated. That's how they discovered something new and different. Out of challenge comes opportunity.
Anneliese Herbosa@herbosa · Hyperconscious consumer
Hi :) 2 questions: 1) As I know a lot of millennials jump around from job to job and gig to gig, how would you recommend they upkeep their evolving personal/professional brand over time? 2) Re: quarter-life "crisis" (I personally don't like to use the word crisis and like to sub in other words like "moment of clarity" instead, ha) - during this delicate moment in time, what can help guide a person to focus on the right things when it comes to adulting/growing up?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@herbosa Great questions! 1. Your personal brand is YOU, so it's allowed to change! Everyone is job-hopping these days to some degree, so how can you share your evolving journey? What is shifting for you? What are you learning? How is your definition of meaning changing overtime? In my book, I call this shifting from a career ladder mindset to a LILY PAD MINDSET... 2. I agree, that's why my book is called THE QUARTER-LIFE BREAKTHROUGH :)))) it's a moment of opportunity and possibility where you discover who you are and what you actually want...
Anneliese Herbosa@herbosa · Hyperconscious consumer
@whatsupsmiley Appreciate your thoughts on personal branding - great questions to think about that I'll continue to keep in mind. & Lily pads > Ladders. Love it. I'm especially starting to embrace not just growth up the ladder vertically, but horizontally across a company to become more well rounded/get exposure to more roles/functions. Gotta check out that book of yours. Thanks for taking the time to answer!
Andrew Bass@andrewdbass · Startup junkie and improving hacker
How should someone approach growing an audience/online network if they aren't exactly sure what they will want to be doing in the future?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@andrewdbass Start small. Start today. Stop comparing yourself with the mega influencers of the world. Who cares how many followers you have. Focus on your content. What do you want to create right now? If 1 person or 5 people are listening, that's 1 life you can touch.
Andreas Klinger@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
What do you recommend: University or Founding of own company or Job?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@andreasklinger It really depends on you and your personal interests. There is no right answer for everyone. I would say: University can be an incredible opportunity to meet a community of like-minded individuals. But, depending on your personal financial situation, it can be very costly and put you in debt, which limits your options once you graduate. If you have an idea for a company you want to start, and the skills and network to make it happen, that can be a great option to. Again, it all depends. What is calling you right now?
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
Hey :). Whats the one thing you’ve done in your career that scared you the most? How'd it turn out?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@mscccc Hey Mike! Great q. Definitely the scariest thing for me was quitting my government job 5 years ago, when I was 28. I was making $70K a year, had health care, great benefits, job security, the whole thing. But I knew it wasn't the right fit for me. I knew I wanted to live in San Francisco. I knew I wanted to start writing. I knew I didn't want to work in the government forever. So I just went for it. IT WAS SCARY AS HELL! It still is scary as hell because my future is always uncertain. But I'm SO HAPPY I made that decision. I've met so many amazing people, written two books, and had the opportunity to touch so many people because of that decision.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hey Smiley thanks for joining us today. Why do you think so many people are having "quarter life crisis" compared to previous generations? What can people do if they feel they are having one to get things back on track and working for them?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@ems_hodge Thanks Emily! I think our generation wants to work with purpose. They call us the "me, me, me generation." I think we're the PURPOSE GENERATION. We want to do work that matters. We want to spend our days working on a mission that is nudging the world in a positive direction. So, we are called to a higher purpose. We want more from work and life. This is great, but it also causes us to never settle and stress out a lot more about our jobs and life decisions. And a lot of people end up facing quarter-life crises.
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@ems_hodge To get back on track, I recommend STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO YOUR FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK. :) Start figuring out what it is YOU want...
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
How do you advise young people to approach their job search?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@andrewett Meet people. Talk to them. Then go meet more people. 80%+ of people today get their job through a personal connection. Go to meet-ups, events, fellowship programs, conferences, put yourself out there. Most job boards are a waste of time, until you know people that work at the companies you're interested in...
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What does success look like for you?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@jakecrump Success is not how many Twitter followers you have. Success is touching one person's life. I try to create work (writing books and delivering talks and hosting programs) that touch people and inspire people. I want to be remembered for the communities I've supported.
Shelly Oh@eelyll · UX/UI Designer
Hi Smiley, thanks for doing this AMA! Would you ever and when would you recommend someone quitting a job without a back-up plan? Is it harder for people beyond their 30s to switch careers (lilypads)? Why or why not? Is there a reluctance from companies to hire people in that age demographic starting from the beginning?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@eelyll It certainly depends. I would not recommend someone quit without a back-up plan if they were $50,000 in debt! I always recommend people have a plan or intentions before making a major career shift or hopping to a new lily pad. I think people of all ages want meaningful work. Sometimes it's harder if you have children or more financial commitments to make these huge shifts, but I know plenty of 30-somethings, 40-somethings, and 50-somethings who have made major career changes...
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
how Do you build a purpose-driven community that will empower your dreams?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@bentossell Great question! I love this topic. First off, I would say: surround yourself with believers. Find people that believe in the beauty of your dreams. These people will help connect you to the opportunities, funding, people that can help you. When you find believers, you also find ACCOUNTABILITY. Second, share your gifts with others. Read the book Give and Take; it's all about how givers thrive, because they create so much value for OTHERS that it comes back around to support them eventually. Also, build diverse and dynamic networks. If you're only hanging out with people who like you, that's a problem. If you're only hanging out with other coders (or other artists), that's a problem too. Mix it up. Find people from all walks of life, with different skills, who work across sectors (and countries). This type of diverse perspective is what this world really needs right now...
Sab Severino@sab_severino · Software Engineer
Today is better to have a specialization or have a very broad knowledge?
Smiley@whatsupsmiley · Author, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
@sab_severino Great questions Sab! Depends on your field. I would say MASTERY is always going to be valuable. Cal Newport wrote a book called "So Good They Can't Ignore You," which I highly recommend. It's about the importance of becoming a master, and developing your skills in one area. However, more and more rapid changes in technology are innovating all sectors and fields. So no matter what your speciality is, you still have to adopt and be flexible and learn new ways of thinking. In 2017, I'd rather be a coder who is also a design thinker and a public speaker, than a coder who can just write code.