Work as a platform

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Rian van der Merwe on How to Do What You Love, the Right Way:

Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discuss what they call “work as platform.” The basic idea is that we need to stop looking at work as a thing you do for a company. If you view your career like that, your success will always be linked to the success of the company, as well as your ability to survive within that particular culture. You will be at the mercy of people who are concerned about their own careers, not yours.

Instead, if you think about your work as platform, your attention starts to shift to using whatever job you are doing to develop your skills further, so that you’re never at the mercy of one company.

This is a sound concept, and it’s worked out pretty well for me.

The idea of using work as a platform has been around since at least 1997, when Tom Peters wrote about it in his fantastic article, A Brand Called You:

A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It’s full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.

Back then it was called “Personal Branding,” but it’s the same thing. Regardless, it’s a healthy approach to life and work