/// The David Karp Effect: Why Following The Tumblr Boy Wonder’s Lead Is Your Key To Staying Employable
Mitch Joel doesn’t have a crystal ball, but the author, speaker and digital marketing agency founder has seen the future and is confident he knows what it will take to hold down a job in it. In his new book, CTRL ALT Delete, Joel discusses what he believes to be the key movements – he doesn’t like ‘trends’ – that will affect our working lives over the next five years. That old saw about switching careers five or six times before retirement? It’s now reality.
“We quickly transitioned away from the whole you’ll take the job, you’ll have 20 years, you’ll retire with a gold watch, a rubber chicken dinner and a plaque and life will be good idea. We moved into, ‘Is it good or bad that people have four to five different jobs during their career?’ The bad was this idea of job hopping, people not staying in one place and that this was some sort of indictment on a certain demographic. We’ve sort of turned the corner on that and have become very accepting of that, as long as the people who are doing it are doing things that really matter. And the things that matter can
As we’ve become more accepting of job hopping, Joel says the door has opened to career hopping, in which individuals apply a core set of skills and expertise to multiple – often unrelated – roles throughout their working life. He cites his own non-linear trajectory, including stints in journalism, ad sales, the music industry and digital marketing, as the kind of career leapfrogging that will soon become commonplace. Joel sees Tumblr founder David Karp as a poster child for the new hit-it-and-quit-it style of work – get in, accomplish everything you want to and then get out (or sell to Yahoo!) and move on to the next challenge.
“We’re seeing a world in which we have what I call The David Karp Effect. It’s this ability to have an idea, work with a team to build something that matters, to have a transaction and then to figure out other stages and other things that matter and other things you want to do in your life.”
While he isn’t a fan of generalizing by generation, Joel does concede that Millennials – Karp himself is 26 – are more naturally suited to the new realities of few-strings-attached work.
“Younger people are coming into a world where they’re just more in touch with opportunities and what those opportunities may be. It seems natural. When I was young, friends started businesses in their garage. Now, those same friends would be starting businesses in their room, at their desk or on an iPad. When you move to a middle-management type individual, my main concern is the complacency that happens as you get older. Risk becomes much more complex as you get older because comfort enters the picture. While you may not have the biggest house on the block or the nicest pool, you still have the house and the pool and are you willing to risk that?”
But Joel isn’t advocating that you flush your 15-year career down the toilet in favor of embarking on a quest to become a mobile app mogul. For him, reshaping how you relate to your job and your ability to provide for yourself financially is what offers the mental freedom to take greater risks in your working life and be less hamstrung by a dated sense of corporate loyalty.
“I think that ability for someone to stop and say that only they are responsible for the financial outcome of their life is a very important step. The idea of comfort is usually based on what I call The Allowance Model. When you were a kid, your parents gave you an allowance. Now, the boss gives you an allowance. I don’t know why we live in that contrived way of thinking.”
Regardless of age or career stage, Joel is also a firm believer in the fact that learning to code is what will separate those who are able to successfully iterate their careers – which may or may not include building the next Tumblr – from the also-rans. And he’s not alone.
“One of the things you can offer yourself and others is the gift of learning code. We’re in world now that is being architected in these digital zeroes and ones. I truly believe if you understand how this world is being built, you’ll enable yourself to be a magnificent part of it.”
Forbes – J. Maureen Henderson, Contributor