Thursday, July 29, 2021

Traveller's Terms and HBR's Tours of Duty

I had an interesting text-chat conversation with a former coworker recently (excerpted):

me: I suppose maybe that is a good argument for me going to XXX next rather than YYY...  Just to see if XXX is the way that I think it is (which was part of why I wanted to go to $CURRENT_EMPLOYER - to see it).  The tourist approach to career planning.
them: Ha, I like how you describe your career strategy!  Kinda reminds me of Reid Hoffman's tour of duty

It's a pretty good article.

I have thought about careers and life in terms of Traveller's terms for quite some time; my blogger profile used to have what I estimate my Traveller stats at, including terms in various occupations.  When I'm at a new company, I think of staying a full four years as a good solid run; I've only done it once so far, and it was a pretty darn successful four years, definitely worth an extra benefit roll (with a shift in company direction in the final year or so which I did not think promising).  More commonly, after 18-36 months, if things are looking mediocre, I move on.  Not a failed survival roll, but more like a failed roll to promote.

So I think it's a little funny to see a serious publication like the Harvard Business Review take basically the same perspective, following in the footsteps of some geeks in the '70s trying to model careers.

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