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How I think about my career goals

(Last updated April 2020)

The definition for "career" that I'm using here: "an individual's metaphorical 'journey' through learning, work and other aspects of life." I think of career as more than just what job title fits me best.

There's a lot that I want to write about this topic that I'l add here eventually. For now I'll say that my career is ultimately all about social impact, and I'll add below how I've been thinking about career planning so far:

Feel free to copy this format for your own career plan. Of course, my priorities aren't going to be the same as everyone else's and your priorities may beg for a different format.


Other writings related to career planning:

  1. Job descriptions for my future self

  2. Product Management resources

  3. Product interviewing

Note: I read this article at least once every few months and revisit how the below should be framed.

First principles


What I care about in order, short-term (next ~5 years)

  1. Personal growth: leadership; strategy; improving hard skills; better understanding econ/policy

  2. Doing work that is socially impactful

  3. Spending my work time doing what I enjoy most (helping others grow, product strategy, complex execution)

  4. Being able to live the lifestyle I want

What I care about in order, long-term (looking back when I die)

  1. Doing work that is socially impactful

  2. Spending my work time doing what I enjoy most (helping others grow, product strategy, complex execution)

  3. Personal growth: leadership; strategy; improving hard skills; better understanding econ/policy

  4. Being able to live the lifestyle I want


How I think about social impact

  1. I fundamentally believe all humans have equal right to:

    • Survive: food, water, basic clothing, shelter (housing), life, health, hospitable planet, equality under the law
    • Prosper: community, education, access to capital, liberty, data privacy, mobility, freedom of expression, and participation in culture

  2. I believe the biggest inequalities today derive from lack of access to economic goods/services that enable people to survive

    • I believe our system today is laden with incentives and historical privileges that have directly caused many communities to be excluded from much of the wealth we've thus far generated
  3. I define social impact as moving us towards a world where these inequalities are eliminated

    • This can be done ​by building new products and services that expand and make more accessible what we all can leverage to survive and prosper

    • This can also be done by focusing on governmental policies that create guardrails and incentives to better ensure fair treatment

  4. Causes I'm currently exploring


How I define “the lifestyle I want”

  1. Able to survive and prosper (as defined above)

  2. Raise 2-3 kids and ensure they have everything they need to survive and prosper until they graduate from college

  3. Ensure my family (parents, siblings, etc.) can survive/prosper if/when they need help with that

  4. Ensure my close friends can survive if/when they need help with that

  5. Invest a lot of myself into building and growing my community

  6. Live in any city in the world that I want to live in

  7. Pursue things I care about in my personal life (music, travel, fitness, etc.)


How I define personal growth

  1. Gaining skills, knowledge, and experience that are useful to achieve my social impact and lifestyle goals

  2. Improving how I think about the world to refine what I fundamentally believe in / care about, so that I can continue honing in on a path I’ll die content having gone down


Explicitly didn’t put here

  1. Growing/cultivating/maintaining community within the context of my career

    • Defining community as people who I enjoy spending my time with regardless of how they fit into my career
    • May or may not come from / be a part of my career life - it’s irrelevant
    • Currently believe this part of my life develops primarily outside of my career

      • Can and would love to bring people into my community from my career, but not thinking about my career with this as a high-priority goal
    • Note: Generally speaking, building and maintaining thriving communities is one of the most important things to me in life

  2. Making as much money as possible (not a goal: see lifestyle goals section)

  3. Achieving high status (I’m actually averse to being too widely admired; all I want is to feel respect and belonging with my community and to be able to meaningfully impact people around the world)

How to achieve the above career goals


Possible career paths

  1. Leader driving vision/execution for a socially impactful business

    • Also donate a majority of my wealth to socially impactful causes
      • Would consider scaling down how socially impactful the business I work at is if the tradeoff for how much more wealth I’d have to donate goes up disproportionately more, but in most cases would instead prioritize social impact of where I work for both personal fulfillment and role modeling reasons
  2. Policy maker defining/advocating for regulations to improve our system into one that is just for everyone​

  3. Behavioral economist influencing the public and/or most powerful corporations to be net-positive socially impactful


Things I’m already good at on the path toward each potential career path

  1. Socially impactful business executive

    • Independent contributor
      • Vision / strategy
      • Goal-setting

      • Roadmapping / prioritizing

      • Intermediate analytics

      • Cross-functional collaboration

      • Conflict resolution

      • Execution

      • Communication

    • Org leader

      • Cross-org process improvements
      • Speaking up / challenging status quo

      • Mentorship

  2. Policy maker

    • Vision / strategy
    • Goal-setting

    • Conflict resolution

    • Execution

    • Communication

  3. Behavioral economist

    • Vision / strategy
    • Goal-setting

    • Execution

    • Communication


Things to learn to grow into possible career paths

  1. Socially impactful business executive

    • Independent contributor
      • Advanced economics
      • Advanced experimentation (technical)

    • Org leader

      • People management
        • Uplevel mentorship efficacy
        • Accountability

        • Setting team members up for success however they define that

      • Org design

      • Defining cross-org vision and influencing team towards it

  2. Policy maker

    • Better understand law
    • Better understand how politicians think/behave

    • Policy development, advocacy, and implementation

  3. Behavioral economist

    • Deeper understanding of economics

    • Deeper understanding of behavioral sciences

    • Marketplace dynamics

    • Experimentation

    • Writing elegantly

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