Like most people, the story of my career does not track against a simple, linear path. If anything, it looks utterly chaotic: I have jumped industries, jumped back, worked as a freelancer, managed people, been managed, and been laid off. I have worked out of cramped co-working offices, Park Avenue skyscrapers, and my bedroom. I have been asked numerous times if I was willing to work for free. (The answer’s still no on that one.)
Some of these experiences were better than others, but each of these experiences was revealing and formative. Through the best and worst and weirdest of them, I have always come out the other side knowing a little more about myself, about companies, and about what it means to have a modern career.
So much about the nature of work has shifted in the past half-century alone. We’ve witnessed enormous upheavals of whole industries and their employees, with labor pools rearranging themselves to orbit burgeoning technology giants or pivoting into a swelling service sector. Jobs have increasingly become decentralized, with millions stringing together gig and contract roles as millions more have been thrust into remote work this past year due to forces well beyond their control. There has never been an easier time to pursue entrepreneurial instincts and ambitions, whether it’s launching a startup or monetizing side projects, but these ventures can also be a test of longevity and perseverance and, for some, an uphill battle against gender or racial bias. Entirely new jobs in brand-new fields seem to emerge faster than ever, even as many workplaces, institutions, and industries still struggle or refuse to adapt to meet the economic and social needs of their employees. In short, forging a career and finding meaningful, substantive work are, at best, complicated endeavors.
It’s no wonder work is messy. Humans are incurably messy, and it’s impossible to separate the human element from work. That’s what Index is about: creating a home for the voices, experiences, and real people behind jobs and careers of all kinds.
At Index, we’ll be digging into the most pressing issues surrounding modern work, including identity, representation, and support in the workplace, as well as remote work, the future of work, leadership, work culture, entrepreneurship, work-life tension, and navigating an ever-shifting economic landscape. We’ll be publishing missives from the professional front lines, as well as personal accounts of successes, failures, and lessons learned, with wisdom and advice ready to be passed on. Most of all, you can expect to go behind the curtain of careers spanning the full spectrum of work: execs from the C-suite, entrepreneurs fundraising their first or fifth company, and middle managers; essential workers, gig workers, workers whose jobs have been upturned by the pandemic; and folks who are getting their start or just starting over.
Right now on Index, you can read:
- Hunter Walk on succeeding in venture capital as an introvert.
- L.D. Burnett on the surprising history of disgruntled workers in America.
- Rachel Greenberg on her experience with sexism on Wall Street and the road to founding and leading her own company.
- Our debut column from The Only Black Guy In the Office, a regular voice at our sister publication LEVEL, who will be offering unfiltered commentary for Index on news related to corporate America and diversity in the white-collar workplace.
Index is for professionals from all backgrounds to share their own stories, because there isn’t one kind of job, one kind of employee, or one kind of career path — and for that, we’re grateful.
We welcome your stories, comments, and suggestions as we build Index together. Our goal is to be here for every twist and turn as you navigate your career — whether you’re reading other people’s stories or feel inspired to share your own.