Anonymous Dad has his own ideas about work – which we’ll get to shortly.

But work is a wide-ranging and very important subject. That whole career-planning process is a subject that he would struggle to to get more than a pass mark at.

So, we’ll also look at three American authors who have got this work / career thing nailed.

Of Domains and sub-domains

A domain is the Sector of the workforce where you currently work. A sub-domain is the the role or roles that you carry out in your daily work – it’s your current job description.

Here’s a string of typical domains:

Hospitality / Entertainment / Manufacturing / Consulting / Technology / Civil Service / NHS / Teaching / Emergency Services / Scientific Research / Publishing

Since his graduation (which was pre-microwave, pre-Internet, pre-FOMO), Anonymous Dad has worked in three domains:

  1. University Research (Briefly. Only three years.)
  2. Construction ( Eighteen years)
  3. IT ( Twenty years)

Here are the sub-domains he worked through in the Construction domain:

Technical Officer, Sales Rep, Senior Engineer, Operations Director, Area Manager.

Here are the sub-domains he worked through in the IT domain:

Software Trainer, Web Developer, Content Manager, Sales Process Manager, Group Systems Manager, Head of IT, Global Head of Training.

Some Hard Lessons

Here’s the list of “hard lessons” learned about the impact that domains and sub-domains can have:

  1. Being in the wrong domain is pretty miserable. Especially for 18 years…
  2. Finding a better domain is great. And do-able.
  3. Job titles are pretty irrelevant. To your FU Money.
  4. To avoid wasting years of your time, be realistic about the opportunities both your domain and sub-domain can actually offer you.
  5. Movement is life. Be prepared to move domains if you need to. Or just sub-domains…if you’ve already found the domain that’s right for you.
  6. Life is short. Try to find a role where your colleagues and your clients enjoy working with you, and you enjoy working with them. That’s low stress. And effective. Sounds a lot like “flow”.
  7. Quick definition of a great job: low-stress, good contribution, real opportunities and a pay-rate that comfortably allows you to have a percentage savings rate of at least 25%.
  8. Watch the clock. High salaries, with long hours, big commutes and intense stress often pay an hourly rate equivalent to “flipping burgers”. Despite the impressive job title.

Mapping domains & sub-domains

You need to know the plot to your working life. So you can change it, if necessary. Here’s a simple way – the radar chart.

There are just four axes to sharpen ( or grind?), when it comes to your domain or sub-domain:

  • Opportunity
  • Contribution
  • Stress
  • Pay Scales

Diagrams go here

Opportunity Questions

How much headroom is there here? Is there a clear path for career progression? Is it quicker to switch my domain or sub-domain?

Contribution Questions

Does this work contribute to the greater good? Directly? Tangentially? Not at all? How vital is that to me? Can I contribute outside of work instead?

Stress Questions

Is the work predominantly within my “circle of competence”? Is the work predictable, but not too boring? Is the commute tolerable or just killing me slowly? Do I have a reasonable amount of autonomy and agency?

Pay Scale Questions

How well does my pay-grade map to my answers on Opportunity, Contribution and Stress? How does it map to my 3-30-300?

Is the orange worth the squeeze..?

Minimum, maximum, median and average salaries…what do one or all of those measures look like in my sub-domain? Ask HR and/or fact-check with Google. Remember:

“If you don’t know the numbers,
you’re not a player”


Work Books worth having

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