Do Not Plan Your Career | Ladders

The world’s leading venture capitalist of today shared his career advice, and you ought to pay heed.

Do Not Plan Your Career

The world’s leading venture capitalist of today shared his career advice, and you ought to pay heed.

The world’s leading venture capitalist of today shared the career advice below almost a decade ago. While the advice is targeted at the young, I think the experienced ought to pay heed.

In the past decade, we’ve seen grand old companies, esteemed professions, and entire profitable industries evaporate, almost overnight. Marc Andreessen’s advice makes sense for all professionals looking to stay afloat in our turbulent modern economy:

The first rule of career planning: Do not plan your career.

The world is an incredibly complex place and everything is changing all the time.You can’t plan your career because you have no idea what’s going to happen in the future.You have no idea what industries you’ll enter, what companies you’ll work for, what roles you’ll have, where you’ll live, or what you will ultimately contribute to the world. You’ll change, industries will change, the world will change, and you can’t possibly predict any of it.

Trying to plan your career is an exercise in futility that will only serve to frustrate you, and to blind you to the really significant opportunities that life will throw your way.

Career planning = career limiting.

The sooner you come to grips with that, the better.

The second rule of career planning: Instead of planning your career, focus on developing skills and pursuing opportunities.

I’ll talk a lot about skills development in the next post. But for the rest of this post, I’m going to focus in on the nature of opportunities.

Opportunities are key.I would argue that opportunities fall loosely into two buckets: those that present themselves to you, and those that you go out and create. Both will be hugely important to your career.

Opportunities that present themselves to you are the consequence — at least partially — of being in the right place at the right time. They tend to present themselves when you’re not expecting it— and often when you are engaged in other activities that would seem to preclude you from pursuing them. And they come and go quickly— if you don’t jump all over an opportunity, someone else generally will and it will vanish.

I believe a huge part of what people would like to refer to as “career planning” is being continuously alert to opportunities that present themselves to you spontaneously, when you happen to be in the right place at the right time.

You can read the whole thing here.

Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season!

I’m rooting for you.

Marc Cenedella

Marc Cenedella is the Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ladders, Inc., the comprehensive career resource dedicated to helping professionals ‘Manage, Market and Move-up’ in their careers. Over the last decade, Ladders has transformed the way job candidates and recruiters connect online. Follow Marc on Twitter at @Cenedella.