How to Pick a Career for Hyperlinkers
Doesn’t matter if you’re 17 and applying for college, or 45 and in the middle of a mid-life crisis are a total hyperlinker curse. Common symptoms include: “How am I supposed to choose just one thing?”, “I’ll be bored of it in a few years anyway”, and “My boss’ personality reminds me of Japanese mythology monsters”. So let’s discuss what works when hyperlinkers do.
Let’s go lego
When you talk to career counselors, they’ll usually ask you something along the lines of: “What do you enjoy doing?” For most people it’s medicine, or finance, or plumbing, or juggling dogs. It’s important to know what you love: when you care about what you do, you’re motivated to grow and perform.
If you’re a hyperlinker, things get a bit tricky. First of all, because you’ll often care about lots of seemingly different things (psychology and IT is a popular combination). Second, because hyperlinkers rarely stick with a topic for more than a few years (we wrote a nice Insta post on the hyper linking learning curve that explains why this happens).
Third, because here’s what happens when a hyperlinker learns something new. They (you?) think:
“How can I improve what I do based on this new thing I just learned?”
So hyperlinkers are always exploring, always forging new paths. Always expanding their expertise.
For them, this is the surest way to feel the mythical and elusive flow.
Now to many a hyperlinker’s surprise, not every environment will welcome this attitude. Some places (and some managers) will ask you to mind your own business. For some reason, they assume that anything that’s not part of your job description isn’t your business.
And this is the surest way to frustrate a hyperlinker. Put them in a situation where they could improve something, but are blocked from doing so. You know what happens? The hyperlinker starts deflating like an old balloon. Gets bored. Starts making mistakes. Actually does a worse job at what they did.
That’s why it’s so crucial to find an environment where you *are* allowed to experiment. Where your ideas are welcomed. Where you can be your true hyperlinking self. You can be manning a bar or inventing new medicine – the more room you have to continuously improve yourself, your work and your environment – the more you will enjoy yourself.
Find a workplace that’s flexible like lego – one that’s creative, where you can add things, remove things, and play around.
Whom do you serve?
Something they don’t teach you in school:
Who you work for, matters more than your job description.
Every person you work for has issues. Not like mental issues. Like “I have a challenge and I’m going to hire you to solve it for me”-issues.
Maybe they need their books to add up. Or they need to improve team collaboration. Or even: they need someone to make sure customers pay before leaving the store.
Competent leaders and managers prioritize issues that help the business grow. Incompetent leaders or managers prioritize securing (or improving) their position.
Competent leaders and managers will give you autonomy (assuming you can handle it) and welcome your ideas. They will also encourage your questions. Hyperlinkers question decisions. They ask “Why” a lot. And they voice their own ideas. You want to work for someone who appreciates that.
Incompetent managers care more about politics than results and quality. They don’t care about the value you bring to the company. Just about the way you make them look. Whether you don’t outshine them. Whether your ideas aren’t risky.
This is a terrible fit for hyperlinkers. Hyperlinkers hate mindlessly executing someone else’s vision. They hate it even more if it’s a poor vision.
Pick your boss carefully. Good bosses want you for who you are.
(Also, they exist. Really.)
Find your field
Hyperlinkers can work pretty much anywhere. IT, healthcare, woodworking… Still, every field has its pros and cons. And hyperlinkers crave new experiences, so dynamic careers are best.
Here are our thoughts if you’re considering…
Probably one of the greatest fields for hyperlinkers to work in. So diverse! Plenty of room for exploration. Of course, not all IT is equal. Software development, UX and UI design, security and data analysis are all excellent. That’s because they require analysis. Hyperlinkers love that.
Are you extraverted? Do you love people? This might be a great fit! Just make sure you sell something you believe in. And, as always: the more freedom you have, the better you’ll do!
Depends. Yes to complex and strategic marketing (branding, marketing strategy, campaign development, etc). No for execution, such as setting up ads. Not for long, anyway. On the bright side: marketing is changing all the time, so you get to explore!
Again, depends. Great fit if you realize that your job is about solving others’ problems. Terrible fit if you just want someone to pay you for your self-expression. Also, terrible fit if you can’t deal with stupid clients making ridiculous demands. Stand your ground (but not in a whiny 5yo way)!
Yes! Especially if you solve new problems all the time.
Only if you have enough variety. You won’t enjoy spending years studying some detail. The analytical part of it is great though!
Yes, if you love people and have time for them. No, if you’re stuck with manual labor and no room to use your brains.
Definite yes! Hyperlinkers LOVE explaining things to others and generally make great teachers. And if you’re not comfortable in front of a group, just focus on course development.
Only fun in the beginning. You’ll enjoy the game, but not the players.
Pick a diverse career field that asks for analysis and problem-solving.
Change is your thing
What if you’ll want to do something else in a few years?
You go and do something else.
Career choices these days are temporary. You don’t need to make a plan for the next decades. All set for 1-3 years? Great!
Is your career all over the place? That’s normal. No, better: it’s good. Everything is connected, and you just happily explore the different links that come up.
Yes, we get that your brother-in-law is promoted again, and is bragging about where he is on the career ladder. But honestly? Climbing the ladder isn’t the hyperlinker way. A hyperlinker career is like a castle to explore, with secret passageways, and here and there a trap door.
It’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just the way it is.
So here’s the final thing to remember:
You don’t have to have it all figured out, just treat your career like the treasure hunt that it is, stay curious, and enjoy the unexpected treasures!