People nowadays feel worse about their jobs and work environments than ever before (The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index) - over 80% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs (Deloitte’s Shift Index Survey), and the statistics are similar all over the world. A shocking 32% of workers said that they wanted to leave their jobs and 25% had no definite plans to leave but were apathetic and even more negative about their work than employees who are considering an exit (Mercer 2010). Employee turnover is at an all-time high and there’s no sign that any of these statistics will improve.
I believe there is a better way. I became passionate about this issue when working in my first job out of university – a marketing position at a large corporation. Although many of my classmates viewed landing this role as a huge success, and I also thought that I would be happy in it, I became extremely dissatisfied almost as soon as I began working there. I realized that there weren’t many good tools available to help me choose what type of job I’d be happier in – I’d done extensive career testing that had said the corporate job was a good choice. I wasn’t sure what I was passionate about and whether I wanted to work for a non-profit or for-profit, or start my own. So, I quit my job, flew down to the Bay Area, and set up my own self-education program. Over the next few months, I began cold emailing anyone I could think of who I was interested in meeting and learning from. To my surprise, I had a shockingly high response rate. I got to meet with the founders of Airbnb, Square, Kiip, Mint, Color, and many more, and various investors and professors in the Bay Area. I asked them about their career path, how they’d come to where they were now, and what recommendations they had for figuring out my next move. I shadowed at 6 different companies for 1-5 days each, learning from them but also helping them wherever I could. And I didn’t stop there. I also volunteered at major conferences, such as DEMO and Founder Showcase, so I could meet more people and attend the talks for free. I checked out various events and talks in the region, and even sat in on classes at Stanford (which the professors were kind enough to let me observe). Finally, to get a full holistic experience, I lived in a co-op in Palo Alto and had an amazing time learning about cooking, co-operative living, and alternative lifestyles. Since then, my career has taken off – I landed a spot in the Singularity University program at NASA and lived on a NASA base for 10 weeks, wrote for Forbes, consulted for hardware startups, and founded MakerKids (the first and largest makerspace for kids in the world). Most importantly, I’ve finally found happiness in my career.
I wrote a Forbes article about my experience finding a new path, entitled “How I Figured Out What to Do with My Life”, which was one of Forbes Greatest Hits (with over 1 million views), on the Forbes Most Read and Top Trending Stories for over a week, featured on LinkedIn Today, and reprinted by Business Insider, Vault, and New York’s daily newspapers. I’ve received hundreds of emails from readers asking for more advice - this website is the answer to their requests.
Looking back, I realized that I’d created a design process on how to figure out your next career step. This method applies principles and ideas from the quantified self movement, lean processes, design thinking, startup methodology (e.g. fail fast), the Stanford “Design Your Life” class, the Stanford d.school (design school), the maker movement, amazing companies (e.g. Google), and interviews with amazing founders and CEOs. My courses and coaching based on my more than four years of career counseling, my personal career experience, interviews with countless successful people about how they got to where they are today, the hundreds of books I’ve read about career choices (plus many more articles), and the education I’ve received in business, marketing, psychology, happiness, and storytelling. I’ve helped my clients to land jobs at Google, P&G, Kelson, and more, land investment, sell franchises, and get into prestigious incubators. Some of the people that I interviewed to help me formulate my methodologies include the CEOs of Airbnb, Square, Kiva, Kiip, and more. I also leverage my experience from participating in Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program to discuss not just where the market stands today in terms of work and job opportunities, but what the future of work will look like and how you can fit into it.
People are eager to change – to buck the traditional model of finding a job and strike out on their own. Many people are now in search of the new frontier – finding fulfillment in their career. People are particularly interested in pursuing work that they are passionate about. I am all about finding what you are passionate about and building a career around it.
Jennifer Turliuk’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, Fast Company, CBS national TV, and more. She is the founder and CEO of MakerKids, the first and largest makerspace for kids in the world. Her career highlights include doing marketing and PR for the most-funded Indiegogo campaign outside the US at the time, helping build a 3D printer for a music video, launching an SMS-based disaster relief project during Hurricane Sandy, being selected as a Startup Chile entrepreneur (as part of a program run by the Government of Chile to foster entrepreneurship locally), creating her own self-education program which involved being 1 of the top 6 finalists in a competition to shadow Dave McClure of 500 Startups, leading the Canadian launch of Tide Pods (P&G’s biggest launch in 27 years), running Canada’s largest business plan competition (the Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition), writing one of Forbes Greatest Hits articles, speaking on a panel discussion with Peter Thiel (founder of Paypal), doing a TEDx talk in Spanish, being invited to join MaiTai (a group of pro kiteboarders and entrepreneurs), and DJing for Red Bull.
Jennifer has a unique perspective, as a self-proclaimed “corporate drop-out”. Jennifer offers career coaching services on topics including (but not limited to) career exploration, the job search process, resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and negotiations. She has helped clients get into exclusive schools and incubator programs, and land jobs at places like Google, P&G and Kelson. Others that she has worked with have raised significant investment and sold their first franchises. Jennifer has been invited to write about her techniques for Forbes, Business Insider, and more.
Jennifer has written for Forbes, Strategy Magazine, Venturebeat, Women 2.0, MAKE Magazine, Techvibes, TEVA, TVO, local newspapers, and more. She has appeared on national and international TV. She has over 3,000 followers on Twitter.
Jennifer has received several awards and recognitions. Most recently, she was awarded an honorary degree from Humber College and recognized as a pioneering woman in tech for Ada Lovelace Day. She has also received the NextGen in Franchising Award at the International Franchise Association conference (from 400 entrants), the IEEE Toronto Outreach Award, the TELUS Pitch Social Impact award, and more.
Jennifer is often invited to do talks on career change and other topics. She was the keynote speaker at MakerCon Nordic and gave the graduation speech at Humber College’s convocation. She has spoken at events such as SXSW, Innovation Day, TEDxSantiago (in Spanish), Maker Faire Rome, Maker Faire Bay Area, MakerCon New York and MakerCon Norway. Jennifer has shared stages with the CEO of Intel, CEO of Hudson’s Bay, and spoken to audiences of over 3000 people. She has also given talks to MBA students (e.g. Stanford) and groups of graduating students, and was once on a panel with Peter Thiel (founder of Paypal). Her talks have been covered by Wired and other media.
In addition to graduating from business school at Queen’s University, Jennifer was selected from over 3000 applicants as one of 80 students (from 36 countries) for the 2012 Graduate Studies program at Singularity University and was granted scholarships. Singularity University is a 10-week program started by NASA and the founders of Google that teaches about the most cutting-edge exponential technologies (e.g. 3-D printing, genetics, nanotechnology, etc) and how to use them to solve the world’s greatest grand challenges (e.g. poverty, water, etc). Faculty members included Eric Ries, Vivek Wadhwa, Vinod Khosla, Jean-Michel Cousteau, the Chair of Kiva’s board, astronauts, members of the Obama administration, and more. With a mission to positively impact 1B+ people within the next 10 years, the program consisted of a mix of lectures from subject experts, field trips to places like IDEO and Autodesk, team projects, and workshops on subjects such as 3-D printing and building robots.