Doing everything right is not enough

Hi friends,

Thanks for all your kind and enthusiastic notes about my big news. The convenient thing about us hanging out via email like this is that we get to keep kicking it all over the world. I think that's pretty sweet.

Speaking of which, I'm in Lisbon for all of next week! Anybody else going to Web Summit? It's the biggest tech conference in Europe, if not the world. Will try to be good about Snapchatting, particularly while I drink port wine and watch the election at 4AM.

For today, I'd like to address this question that I seem to keep getting in my inbox. It goes a little something like this: 

"Hi Alexa! I'm starting to get really frustrated about not finding a job that shows off my potential.

I graduated with honors, and I won an award for the best undergraduate student of all time. I speak French. I'm a world-renowned macramé champion. I volunteer on Christmas. What am I missing?"

Oh boy.

Okay, first of all: congratulations on all your accomplishments. I truly don't mean that with any sarcasm. You seem to have done an incredible job at taking advantage of all that life has offered up until this point, and that does not deserve to go unnoticed.

But the thing is...

*pauses, opens mouth, shuts mouth*

*exhales and continues*

The thing is this: You don't get to have a cool job just because you've done everything right up until now. The economics of employment simply do not work this way.

I'm not calling you the big E word (entitled), because I don't think that's what you're going for here. You've worked hard for everything you've done up until this point.

But it sounds like you got some bad information about why people get hired to do stuff.

There is no job description out there asking for a good person who follows the rules. Well, I take that back. A ton of job descriptions are asking for good people who follow the rules... but those people will never get hired unless they also know how to (1) save a company some time or (2) make a company some money.

Because that's honestly all it comes down to, at the end of the day. Your degree doesn't matter that much. Whether you were on the Honors List or at the bottom of the pile, it's kinda whatever. Your extracurriculars, while wonderful, aren't that useful.

It does not mean you haven't done enough. Honestly, you're on the right track so far. But now... you have to do more.

This is a big and tricky ah-hah moment for a lot of people. So for this week, just spend 20 minutes and really meditate on this:

What do you know how to do that will (1) save a company some time or (2) make a company some money?

You're gonna get it. It's all gonna be good. Promise.

PS: Digging the #entrylevelboss life? The best way to care is to share, baby. Forward this email to a friend.

PPS: I'm thinking about hopping on the phone later in November and answering questions about how to job search over the holidays. You could all dial in, from anywhere in the world. Would this be helpful? Hit reply and say YUP if so.