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When you follow a non-linear career path, it allows you to diversify your skills and experiences, but it can also create challenges when trying to explain your career narrative to others in your professional network, interviewers, and colleagues. Identifying the common thread that unifies all your experiences is one way to connect the dots for yourself and others.

In Career Relaunch episode 66, journalist turned Wall Street analyst turned rabbi Tod Jacobs explains why having a life outside of work is so critical to your overall happiness and what it takes to figure out where to focus your career energies. In the Mental Fuel segment, I’ll explain how I discovered the common thread that unifies the wide range of experiences in my own career.

Key Career Insights

  1. If you look closely, you may realize your disparate career experiences have some common themes that unite them.
  2. Find the overlap between the things you’re good at and the things you love. That’s what you should be devoting your energies.
  3. You have to take the time to figure out who you are and what you find meaningful before you dive head-first into a certain career direction.
  4. Make sure you develop other aspects of your life outside of your actual work, which allows you to derive more meaning from both.
  5. Focusing on what you can give in your life and career (rather than solely on what you get) allows you to focus on those things you can control and ultimately reap the benefits you deserve.

Listener Challenge

During this episode’s Mental Fuel segment, my challenge to you, especially if you find yourself struggling to pitch your story to your target employer or client, was to: #1: dedicate some time to capture a written inventory of your skills and experiences, and #2: selectively hone in on those you feel are the most relevant to your future work. Try to highlight and reinforce those specific skills and experiences as part of your career narrative moving forward. Identifying a common theme that ties all your experiences together can serve as a convenient, unifying headline you can use when describing your career story to others.


About Tod Jacobs, rabbi and co-founder of the David Robinson Institute

Tod JacobsTod Jacobs is the Director of the David Robinson Institute for Jewish Heritage in Jerusalem, which he co-founded in 2005. Prior to his current role there teaching and counseling his students and alumni, he worked on Wall Street as a leading authority on the telecommunications industry.

As a former managing director at JP Morgan and partner at Sanford C. Bernstein and Company, Tod acted as a frequent commentator to leading, newspapers, magazines and TV networks, and testified several times before the U.S. Congress as an expert on telecom and media policy. His credits in journalism, where he worked prior to Wall Street, include nominations for both the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism and an Emmy Award.

He holds an MS in Journalism from Columbia University and an MA from Northwestern University. He’s recently published a book about marriage called Not a Partnership: Why We Keep Getting Marriage Wrong & How We Can Get it Right.

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About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu is dedicated to helping people relaunch their careers and have more meaningful careers. As a public speaker, career consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, he shares insights from relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals to more effectively marketing their personal brands.

About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.