Amy Poehler’s Surprising Career Advice: Care Less

Amy Poehler Yes Please

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I would have finished it by now, but it’s freakishly heavy (seriously, you could do bicep curls with this book), so I haven’t been able to take it out the house – hence my slow reading pace.

Anyway, over the weekend I finally reached the chapter titled “treat your career like a bad boyfriend”, in which Amy reveals her tip for success is to “care less”.

Confused? Well so was I at first, because this appears to go against everything we’ve ever been told. (Amy later jokes her second book will be “coauthored with Sheryl Sandberg titled Lean Back.”) But on closer inspection this is actually some of the best advice I have ever been given. I found it so enlightening that I’m going to share some of Amy’s wisdom below.

“Hard work doesn’t always matter. You can be the best at making contacts and going after jobs, but then suddenly you want it too much. Suddenly everyone feels how bad you want it and they don’t want to give it to you… I am introducing a new idea. Try to care less. Practise ambivalence. Learn to let go of wanting it. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend… You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look… Remember, your career is a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don’t depend on it. It will reward you every time you don’t act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you.” – Amy Poehler

As a blogger I constantly get weighed down worrying about the numbers – stats, followers, Instagram likes, etc etc – rather than taking pleasure in the work itself. But from now on I’m going to follow Amy’s lead and try and practise ambivalence. Has her advice also resonated with you? Will you start treating your career like a bad boyfriend, or you do think this is a bad idea? Let me know…

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