Tim Ferriss Has 2 Key Pieces of Advice for 20-Somethings Starting a Career

Issue 12-04-17   |   Reviewer:   Bob Cohen, MBA


Tim Ferriss is a living and breathing testament to the powers of self-control and life-work decision-making.

According to the article published Nov. 30, 2017, in Business Insider, "After interviewing 140 people at the top of their fields, Tim Ferriss has 2 key pieces of advice for 20-somethings starting a career": While in the mix of Ivy graduates vying for top-paying jobs in finance and consulting, Tim Ferriss chose the path less taken by moving to Silicon Valley and starting his own company. From there, according to the article, he took a self-proclaimed journey as a "human guinea pig" to seek out and learn from people at the top of their fields, from musicians to hedge fund managers, writers to chefs.

Ferriss spoke with Business Insider and has two important suggestions for people just starting out in their careers:

1. Initially prioritize learning over money. According to the article, Ferriss says, "If you optimize for money too early, you will be minimizing for learning, almost without exception." Instead of looking for the big paycheck, think of your first few years as an apprenticeship, he recommends in the article.

In the article, Ferriss also advises students to make sure you are "in the room" where decisions are made. He goes on to point out in the article that what seems like the obvious career decision may, in fact, be counterproductive to what you really are trying to learn. The opportunity to join a small, fast-growing company and work alongside the leadership team far outweighs a large, "branded" company where you may get lost in the shuffle, Ferriss opines in the article.

2. Learn transferable skills. Ferris says in the article that he believes early career learning needs to be focused on what you need to know to pursue the higher paying, respected jobs in the future, when you are ready. In the article, he says that the goal should be to develop higher level, transferable skills such as negotiation, persuasion, and copywriting, which will maximize the opportunities you can pursue in the future.

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