Need a Career Breakthrough? Hop on a Lily Pad

Review of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough by Adam Smiley Poswolsky

Review of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough by Adam Smiley Poswolsky

“This book provides inspiring, honest, and counterintuitive career advice for anyone stuck in a quarter-life crisis (or third-life crisis, or midlife crisis)….”

58 - Book cover_QuarterLifeBreakthrough 2016_Adam Smiley Poswolsky.jpg

Millenials - The Purpose Generation

In his book aimed at Millenials, Poswolsky explores how to find meaning in the workplace.

Not a Millenial? Don't let that stop you from  checking it out. 

He calls Millenials the Purpose Generation and quotes a Net Impact study showing that more than half of millenials would take a 15 percent pay cut to do work for an organization that matches their values.

He goes on to say that Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers also rank meaning and purpose as top factors for workplace engagement.

Poswolsky encourages us to look at careers through a lily pad career mindset where you jump into a direction that makes sense to you based on your purpose. What we do for work will change over time.  Because we change. 

To find your purpose, he talks about career experimentation, learning about your talents, paying attention to what you feel and not being afraid to try new things.

A pivotal moment for Poswolsky was when a colleague asked him if he was maximizing his potential. When Poswolsky said no, his colleague asked “Why would you be doing anything less than maximizing your potential in life?” 

Where do you start?

Poswolsky says this is where it begins. “The first part of a quarter-life breakthrough is when a light goes on, alerting you that something in your life isn’t working.”

Find Meaningful Work

In the part of the book called Find Meaningful Work, Poswolsky defines the 6 parts of meaningful work:

  • Meaningful Work Reflects Who You Are
  • Meaningful Work Reflects Your Interests
  • Meaningful Work Allows  You to Share Your Gifts
  • Meaningful Work Allows You to Help Others
  • Meaningful Work Provides a Community of Believes That Will Support Your Dreams
  • Meaningful Work is Financially Viable Given Your Desired Lifestyle
58 - Quote.png

Throughout the book, Poswolsky gives compelling stories of people and how they found their purpose. One of the contributors believes rather than turning our passions into a business, that we serve the people we love.

The emphasis then is a true engagement.

In another example, Poswolsky talks about a woman artist acquired a full time job where she was pursuing her passions.

Over time, she began working full time for herself as an artist.  She says, “Following your passion simply means doing one small action every day that honors who you are.”

Seven Secrets About Meaningful Work the Blogosphere Will Never Tell You

The chapter on Infinite Paths to Meaningful Work explores Seven Secrets About Meaningful Work the Blogosphere Will Never Tell You. One idea focussed on a cultural belief about self employment.  “You don’t have to be your own boss to find meaningful work.” 

In kickstarting your job search, Poswolsky suggests treating your career like a life long experiment. “Try new things, test assumptions, see what works for you and learn what doesn’t.”  It’s all about rapid prototyping – “learning as much as possible, as quickly as possible.” 

I was especially inspired by this part of the book, where we see our careers as dynamic and rich with fascinating possibilities. Work doesn't have to be like being on a hamster wheel. 

Throughout the book, Poswolsky has practical exercises to lead you through your quarter-life breakthrough. One compelling exercise is completing a Breakthrough Goal Map, an actionable guide to getting working towards your breakthrough. You can find that map in the bonus section on his cool website - Smiley Poswolsky


Don't miss another article. Sign up here.


Other blog postings you might enjoy:

What is a careergasm and how can I get one?

Letting Go of Our Fear of Screwing Up