Thursday, November 18, 2021

3 Books to Read to Get You Through a Career Crisis

If you've been following my blog posts, you know that I've recently gone back to grad school to explore some career interests in a much different direction than my tech marketing career. This may seem strange to people I've worked with because if you know me, it's clear that I have really enjoyed my career so far. 

 I'm not changing things up because I'm unhappy, it really comes down to having a lot of interests and a sense of adventure. My personal philosophy is that you have to spend a massive amount of your life working, your career should be an adventure and involve a lot of experimentation. I understand that it's a massive privilege to be able to view my career this way. Career changes, breaks and exploration can require sacrifices. It can be time consuming, emotionally draining and financially difficult, but ultimately if you feel the need to continue to explore, I believe it's worth it. 

I was extremely sure of my decision to go to grad school again, but arriving here has not provided instant clarity on the exact career paths I should take after graduation next year, so I've been doing a lot of introspection. It's not really a "crisis" like the title suggests as I figured I'd find myself in this situation, but still has me doing a lot of searching. I've encountered a lot of folks that at different stages of their career also face a period where they really want to think deeply about their career. I've been reading a lot and asking for book recommendation, so I wanted to share the three books that have been the most helpful. 

 How to Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen. I've read this book probably more than any other business book when I start thinking deeply about career stuff. It has always been a great reminder to not abandon the other important parts of your life in pursuit of your career.

Grit by Angela Duckworth. I avoided this book for a long time because the topic did not just seem that interesting but after hearing Angela speak, I had to dive in and was surprised how many career lessons were packed in this book as she dives into grit.

So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport. I must admit, I just got recommended this book this week, but I'm already almost done with it. Provides a really compelling alternative to "follow your passion". Also, it really stuck me how important autonomy is in career happiness. 

These books have helped me a lot and I hope they help you too.


  1. Think Again by Adam Grant helped me shift away from thought patterns that limited my creativity. It also helped me put the ups and downs (and a few "sideways") of my professional life in perspective.

  2. Great recs Derek. I haven’t read the third book. I hope school is awesome. Sorry we didn’t meet up in Boston in October.

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