Great Work Great Career by Stephen Covey teaches you how you can build a great career and at the same time live a meaningful life by making an impact in the lives of millions of people.
Great Work Great Career Summary (PDF)
A person’s career is the most important phase of his life.
It’s crucial that we choose a right career.
Now everybody has a career…
But how many people have a great career?
In this book summary, you’ll learn how you can build a great career and do something that aligns with your passion and cause.
It’s going to be fun…
Alright, so let’s not waste any more time… and dive right in!
A great career is not only about getting food on the plate
Most people are desperate for jobs.
They want to find a job that can help them earn some money.
Are they wrong?
We all need money.
We have to fill our bellies after all to survive, right?
So is this all we are born to do?
We have our basic requirements like food, water, and shelter.
And so do have other animals.
At some point, we realize that we want more than just a job.
A bad job or meaningless career can provide us enough money to fulfill our basic needs.
But we need more than that!
Deep inside us, we have a meaning-creating mechanism.
We try to find meaning in everything we do.
Unless we do meaningful things, we feel dissatisfied.
And then we feel bad about it.
When we build a great career, we unlock many possibilities.
It may not give you full satisfaction. But at least it can help you live a meaningful life.
Our careers are where we spend most of our life and energy.
So don’t you think we should be careful about it?
We are humans.
We want more than food.
We are not just animals.
What I’m saying is, if you don’t address this inherent need to find meaning in your work, there will always be a big hole in your happiness.
You might always feel incomplete.
Of course, food alone can’t fill that void.
We need something more than that.
An animal can become content and live his life without worries.
But we can’t do the same.
So addressing this is important!
That’s why we don’t just need a career – we need a great career.
Most people hunt for a job with a victim mindset
As we just discussed.
Most people are hunting jobs.
They are not addressing their inherent need to find meaning in everything they do.
And that’s the reason, most people are never satisfied with their jobs.
They hop from one job to another.
But… they never find what they are looking for.
If this isn’t enough, our circumstances can change drastically.
And most of the time, they are bad.
Again, it all depends on your paradigm.
The same circumstances can be both good or bad depending on one’s paradigm.
Here is what most people do when they don’t find a fulfilling job:
They blame their circumstances.
They blame the economy.
They blame other companies for not hiring people.
They look for tricks to spice up their resumes.
They try to sell them as hard as they can.
And when they fail, they blame others.
So who is here to blame?
The people looking for jobs? Or the companies who are not hiring?
What I’m representing to you is just how most people think.
This type of paradigm creates problems.
When we look at a situation like this, we only see one side of the reality.
Here is what to do instead:
Think about what you can contribute.
Think about what you can contribute
The author says that instead of being a job-seeker, you should think about how you can help the companies or employers.
Don’t beg any company to give you a job.
They don’t like it either.
Plus, it only makes things harder for them.
So what should one do?
Here is what one should do:
(You didn’t see it coming, right?)
Yes, unless you research about the problems and yourself, you will never be able to build a great career.
Don’t go to a company and say “Please give me a job.”
Do this instead:
Take your time to research the company.
Find out what are their biggest hurdles.
Where are they lacking?
Then start thinking about what change you can bring to the current scenario.
See? It’s a different way to think.
Whenever a company hires you, it’s an expense for them.
They want to hire people who could help them grow.
They don’t want to hire people just for the sake of hiring people.
And if they are doing it, they are doing it wrong. If that’s the case, they’ll end up wasting money.
Again, think about how you can take care of all that mess.
You have to present yourself as a solution.
Because most people never think like this.
They just build their resume and start looking at the job listings.
They never do proper research about the company they are going to work for.
They just want a ‘pay check’ at the end of the month.
I have nothing against that. (Because I know nothing about them)
Maybe they are in a bad situation.
Maybe they need money to overcome a serious issue.
In that case, the scenario is different.
But if you don’t have any problem, and you are having a job-seeker mentality, you need to dig deeper.
Maybe you are doing something wrong.
Present yourself as a problem-solver
What companies really need is a person or people who can help them grow.
Never present yourself as just another person who wants a job.
Present yourself as a solution to their problems.
Got it now? That’s why you need to do research.
If you are good at marketing.
Find out what companies are struggling in this area.
Then present yourself as a doctor who can cure all their problems.
Who can heal them. And bring them out of their misery.
Not only will they thank you for it, but you will also make an impact.
How satisfying is it to help a person need? You know it right.
So what changed here?
You shifted your mindset from a ‘job seeker’ to a ‘solution provider.’
Notice the words ‘seeker’ and ‘provider.’
When you seek, you expect something from others.
But when you provide, you give something to others. You contribute.
You bring a change.
You make other people’s lives better.
So instead of saying: “Please give me a job!”
Say: “Here is how I can help you…”
Be passionate for a cause
Now pay attention!
Read this carefully:
If you don’t have a cause, you’ll always end up with a ‘job-seeker’ mentality.
Allow me to explain.
When you work for a cause, you automatically get out of the victim mentality.
You make your mind to bring a positive change in the world.
You try to find people who can contribute to your cause.
When you work for a cause, you are suddenly out of the rat race.
Because only a handful of people dare to pursue a dream.
You start thinking like an entrepreneur.
Now you don’t just want a job. You want something big.
A job becomes insignificant to you then.
Anything that doesn’t help you in your cause becomes less important.
You learn skills that would help you in your cause.
So your work then not only helps you but also the people around you.
A person seeking a job only wants to help himself.
Most people don’t care about the world. They only care about themselves.
Now the question is:
How can you find what you are passionate about?
It’s a bit difficult to answer.
But you can try a few things like asking yourself:
- What am I naturally good at?
- What unique skills do I have that the world needs?
- What can I get paid for? (You need money too)
Please note that if you want to dig deeper, you can read: Ikigai’s Summary. This will help you find your reason for being.
A great career aligns with your values.
Once you have a clear purpose, you can easily find a worthwhile career.
The only people who struggle to build a great career are those who don’t know what they can contribute.
The author has focused a lot on contribution in this book.
A great career is about researching the problems and finding how your talents and passions could solve those problems.
Sadly, most people stay stuck in the victim mindset.
They believe that they can’t contribute anything to the world.
I believe every single person has a unique gift that can be used to bring a positive change.
If you are struggling to find your unique talents, keep experimenting.
Hopefully, you’ll find one.
All humans are here for a reason.
You just need to find one to live a satisfactory life and also build a great career.
Find people who can mutually help each other
The author says that you should be in a network of people who share similar interests as you.
Put in other words:
You should find people who could potentially help you in your cause.
So it’s obvious that your cause shouldn’t be something silly.
Your cause must be something that affects at least a few people.
Otherwise, nobody would care.
The thing is:
If your cause is big, it will be hard for you to achieve it alone.
And if it can be achieved by a single person, then probably it isn’t big enough.
Sound fair? Cool.
So start by finding a few people who you think might be interested in your cause.
It’s okay if you don’t want entrepreneurship as a career.
But it’s incredibly hard to achieve those same objectives in a job.
You may try doing the same in a job. But you won’t find much freedom there.
There will be people who may share interests with you. But there will always be restrictions.
I hope you got my point there…
People are not tools that you can use for selfish reasons
Everybody knows that networking helps build a great career.
But there is also a dark side to it.
When people realize that they can get something from others, they focus more on that.
They use other people as tools.
They extract value out of other people… and never payback.
What I’m trying to say is:
There is no problem in asking other people for help and uplifting yourself. Just don’t become a dude who never helps others… but wants everyone to help him.
It has to work in both directions.
Sometimes you have to give value to other people.
The author talks about building a village.
If you have ever lived in one, you know how people in small villages consider other people as their family. They all help each other when needed.
There is harmony among all the people.
Of course, some villages are not a good example. I’m talking about good villages here.
You might want to build a strong village.
Remember, if your cause is big enough, you probably won’t be able to it alone.
And if it’s big enough, people will support you.
Please note that although the above principle is true most of the time, there is no guarantee.
Build your personal brand around your expertise or an area of interest
Once people start recognizing you as an expert, you don’t need to ask people to give you a job.
People, then, already acknowledge you as an expert.
To be more clear:
Once you build your brand, people come to you.
You don’t need to build your resume.
Think about how you can build your personal brand around something.
What does ‘brand’ mean?
A brand is an image inside people’s minds.
Once you build it, things get easier.
The good thing is:
It’s a lot easier these days.
We are living in one of the best times ever.
Yes, there are lots of problems. But also there are lots of opportunities, which are waiting for you.
You just need to wake up, open your eyes, and see them.
We have social media today.
There are no boundaries anymore.
Yes, there are physical boundaries. But virtually, there are no boundaries.
We are all connected through the Internet.
Use it to grow your brand.
You don’t want just any job. You should be able to find a job that helps you in your cause.
A good job is only an aspect of your life.
To live a good life, all aspects of your life should be in harmony.
You might want to do some research.
Find out which people can benefit from your talents and passion.
Connect with them online. Tell them about your purpose.
Also, tell them how you can help them.
Don’t look like a needy person.
People care about their problems. There is so much already going on in everybody’s life. They don’t want more problems.
When you ask employers to hire, they think about how will you provide value to them.
So become someone valuable.
You may be thinking that if you become valuable, you will easily get a good job. And easily build a great career.
Remember, there are lots of problems.
Sometimes, companies go at loss and start firing people.
You must also be able to deal with bad times.
Don’t expect that just because you have read this you won’t face any problems.
With every problem appear hundreds of opportunities
Yes, it’s the fact of life.
A problem gives birth to opportunities.
If there were no problems in the past, there wouldn’t have been any development.
The development became possible because people didn’t want to live with those problems. They wanted solutions.
Companies hire people because they have to deal with new challenges and problems.
So whenever you find a problem, shift your mindset, and think of it as an opportunity.
It’s amusing how people deal with their circumstances.
Even now, there are lots of problems in the world.
Which means: there are lots of opportunities.
You might think, “If there are so many opportunities, then why are people not seeing them?”
Hmm… good question!
The reason is:
Most people have a victim mindset.
As soon as they encounter a problem, they say “Why me?”
But those few people (who are opportunists) say “Try me!”
So it’s all about perception.
If you are not conditioned to look for opportunities, then it is highly likely that you’ll miss out on most of the golden opportunities, and blame your circumstances.
In fact, it’d be better for those people who love problems.
The problem-solvers are always seeking challenges.
They love solving problems.
That’s why they hardly miss any opportunities.
Although it’s true that problems bring opportunities, you don’t have to invent them.
There is a disclaimer to it: It’s good to find problems, but make sure that you are not the one creating them.
It’s best to have fewer problems, right?
Don’t get afraid of tough circumstances. Try to find solutions.
This is the best time ever to build a great career
There is no doubt that this is the best time ever.
Earlier, there was the Industrial Age, where people were mechanical.
Even now, many people are mechanical.
Fortunately, because of the Internet, people have instant access to any information.
The author calls this age the Knowledge Age.
Look at yourself now.
You are learning how to build a great career.
Earlier, when there was no internet, people had no means to get this golden information.
They had no options. Or they had only a few options.
And since most people were mechanical, they didn’t get to choose.
Now, you can research on the Internet and learn all the possible career options for you. And choose the one which aligns with your talents.
But even after having these resources, people are used to blaming their circumstances. They don’t want to put in the effort.
So they don’t do the proper research.
Again, I’m not denying the existence of the problems.
What I’m trying to say is, we are in a much better position today because we are connected via the Internet.
Got any problems? Search it on Google. And boom! You have the answers to your queries.
This is amazing. Isn’t it?
This is the modern age full of possibilities. And opportunities.
Don’t let them go to waste.
Use them. Extract as much value you can from them.
Design the career you want
So finally, you realize that building a great career is possible.
But it’s because of the wrong mindset that we keep chasing after jobs that are nowhere related to our passions.
We have forgotten how to live a life aligned with a greater cause.
Yes, I know that money is important. But it’s not more important than our gifts.
Our life is far more important!
Choose your career wisely.
Research all the available options.
Don’t blindly go for a job only for the sake of money.
Think like a designer.
Create a map or outline of your career.
Imagine what you would be doing if you had a great career.
Find out what are your unique talents and passions.
Figure out what drives you to live.
What is that one thing or goal which you think is worth pursuing?
It’s possible. You can do it!
But first, you’ll have to give up the ‘victim mindset.’
And develop a problem-solving mindset.
This will help you build a great career.
It won’t be easy in the beginning.
But over time, your career will be much much better than most people.
It’d be something you would truly want to have if you had no money-problem.
Great Work Great Career Key Takeaways
- A great career is not only about getting food on the plate.
- Most people hunt for a job with a victim mindset.
- Think about what you can contribute.
- Present yourself as a problem-solver.
- Build a network of people who can mutually support each other.
- Don’t play ‘the victim.’ Start looking for opportunities.
- Great companies don’t want job-seekers. They want problem-solvers.
- You can design your career the way you want.
- This is the new age of the Internet with lots of possibilities.
Great Work Great Career Review
The ideas in this book were not much new to me.
Since I read so many books, I already knew most of the ideas discussed.
If you are a Stephen Covey fan, you’ll enjoy reading this book.
This book works on your mindset.
It brings you out from ‘complaining’ to ‘being grateful for the opportunities.’
The core idea is:
Why waste your time collecting pennies when you have so much more than that.
The author has tried his best to open the eyes of the readers and look out for the opportunities that are presenting themselves disguised as problems.
This is the trap most people fall into.
They waste much of their time counting problems rather than finding solutions.
You can’t have a great career if your mindset is wrong.
If your ideas are in the harmony with the natural flow of the universe, you’ll find it hard to build a great career.
After reading this book, I also realized how important ‘contribution’ is in our lives.
Every single person should be a contributor. That’s how humanity will grow in the right direction.
Now, let me talk about the issues I found in this book:
I ordered a used copy for this one from Amazon. The pages were popping out.
Talking about the contents of this book, I’d say that most ideas were repeated multiple times.
The author could finish this book in only a few pages.
There were lots of fillers.
But yes, the information that the author provided was great.
It might sound like that author is biased and is encouraging you to start your own business instead of finding a job.
Believe me here. That’s not the point.
The point is to start thinking like a contributor. Becoming a person of value.
You can do this in both business and the job.
I highly recommend that you read this book.
Other Recommended Summaries
These are some related summaries you should check out:
- Achieve More Succeed Faster Summary
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary
- Leaders Eat Last Summary
- Developing The Leader Within You Summary
Now it’s your turn
That’s the end of it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this book summary.
Now you tell me:
How are you going to apply these lessons in your life?
Do you agree with the lessons discussed above?
Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.
And yes, don’t forget to share it with your friends… so that they also learn from it.
Thanks again for spending your precious time here.