EA Lifestyles advice column
no vision for career; offered an EA job but would have to work illegally
I’m a mid-career professional, and I feel like over the last five years I’ve done a good job building my skills and starting to have an impact. However, when I think about the next five years of my career, I don’t feel excited or have a clear sense of direction. Why don’t I have a vision for the next 5 years of my career? How can I figure out where to go next?
Based some other information I know about you, I think you need a vision for what your whole life could look like in five years; your next career moves will fall into place from there.
Work is just one part of your life, and a lot of your future work could depend on other things you want for your life. Where do you want to live? Do you picture laid-back evenings with your partner or working late into the evening on your latest breakthrough? Do you see yourself having kids in that timeframe?
If it’s still feeling tough to get a clear sense of what you want, you could try predicting what your future will be like if nothing changes. If you carry on living like you have been, what will life be like in 5 years? What aspects of that life are you happy with, and what rubs you the wrong way? That might give you a clue into what you need to focus on.
If you notice that the thought of still living paycheck to paycheck in five years drives you crazy, or you want a remote job to move out of the city, or that you really want to 10x your impact, great! You’ll have some clues as to what you want next in your work life.
But keep in mind the possibility that the reason you don’t have strong feelings about the next five years of your career might be because your work situation is pretty good. Maybe you’re having trouble picturing the next step in your career because you’re already exactly where you need to be.
I got an EA job! It’s a temporary role in the US. Unfortunately they’re not able to sponsor a visa but they’re fine with me working from their office as a “tourist”. How big a deal are work visas? Should I be worried?
Honestly I think this is pretty shitty of your employer. They’re asking you to take a big risk that could seriously affect your life but has minimal downsides for them, and it sounds like they haven’t even been honest with you about how big a decision this is.
Ultimately, it’s your decision; you can think through how likely you are to get caught (the risk will increase as more time passes and the more you travel internationally) and how big a deal it would be if you were caught. If they catch you, lots of your future could change. For example:
You could never attend an EAG global in the US again, or go down even for a meeting
You couldn't fly through the US for a holiday
If you fell in love with an American, you could never live with them in the US
You might think those are risks worth taking, or not.
There’s another factor at play here as well: what kind of community do you want EA to be? Do you want it to move more towards law-abiding, paperwork-filing upstanding citizens, or are you happy with a certain level of “move fast and break things”?
The main message I want to get across to you is that this sucks and you should have never been put in the position where you have to make this decision because your employer should not be asking you to work illegally. Whichever decision you make, I wish you the very best with your career - you deserve it!