01: Why you’re better off being an individual contributor

You don’t want to manage people and will be happier as an IC. If you still want to manage, we’ll tell you how to be a great manager.

You don’t want to manage people and will be happier as an IC. If you still want to manage, we’ll tell you how to be a great manager.

It’s okay to not manage people. You can still grow as an IC and make great money while spending less time in meetings.

Management is the more natural, well-worn path and perception that salary and career growth reside in management.

We’re arguing that 80% of people will be happier practicing their craft as an IC than a manager.

Why IC?

  • Practice your craft, be a master, enter a zen-like flow state and produce value
  • People issues are fucking hard — way harder than you think until you’re there
  • It takes a lot of energy to work with the emotions of others; you can go from a happy meeting to a hard meeting to a happy meeting in the space of 90 minutes; even if you’re top-notch, it takes energy
  • You already have the skills to be a master IC; the same may not be true for managing people. It is a separate skill entirely and one that you probably won’t get extensive training on

Ask yourself: what do you want your day to look like?

You will need to attend more meetings, more 1-on-1’s, and if you’re a player/coach, you’ll still need to carve out time for your craft.

Big misconception: You don’t need to manage people to lead. You can be a leader in the spiritual sense by showing up and being a positive force.

Being a people manager does not mean people will do what you want. You will need to understand your team on a very deep level and continually make the connection between the “what’s in it for them” and what the business needs. This is important, because your job is help people find fulfillment in their job — they will only do that if they contribute value to the business in a clear way.


Intro music by Wowa via Unminus

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