Who > What

When people consider their career choices, they usually ask themselves questions starting with ‘What’.

What industry seems most promising? What company do I want to apply to? What will my salary be?

But few seem to ask themselves what I believe is a much more important question, namely the one starting with ‘Who’.

Who do I want to work for and with?

The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on the people we become. As the saying goes, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. For most of us, four of those five will be co-workers*.

The average employee tenure is roughly 5 years**. That’s 8 different jobs over a 40-year career. Taking a long-term view, whatever money you make (or don’t make!) in any particular job will probably be inconsequential. Whatever knowledge you acquire, quickly becomes obsolete. The cool office and the free lunches are of no value the moment you leave.

But the same isn’t true for the relationships you build, the habits you form and the attitudes you pick up. They’ll stay with you, potentially for life. If you understand compounding, you understand that this is either a very good thing or a very bad thing.

I think all the benefits in life come from compound interest, whether in money or in relationships or love or health or activities or habits. I only want to be around people that I know I’m going to be around with for the rest of my life.
— Naval Ravikant
The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
— Warren Buffett

So, how does one answer the question of ‘Who’? Here are four things to look for:

  1. People you respect and admire. Remember, you will become like them.
  2. People who are better than you in some important way(s).
  3. People you enjoy being around. Life is just too short.
  4. People whom you feel comfortable around. When you’re comfortable, you are yourself. When you are yourself, you’re at your best.

Thanks for your 2 minutes!

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