By: Adam Giery

For many students, the start of the school year often serves as a reminder for the coming realization of graduation – and in most cases, graduation without a plan. I clearly recall the uncertainty of what I would do “for the rest of my life” as a twenty- year-old college student. The feeling of not having a plan felt as if I was headed towards the open door of a plane without a parachute.

However, in today’s society, people are turning their passions into professions. With virtually limitless options, our ability to filter out distractions from what sets our souls on fire is necessary to achieve professional success and financial independence.

In my life, I deploy a professional rubric to live a life of choice. I refer to this plan as my Core 5.

Too often, we plan our lives similar to a set of directions on Google Maps – first job, then turn right, promotion, then turn left, arrive at your destination – CEO. In reality, you will likely switch jobs, receive a promotion, be terminated or quit from a variety of roles before landing in a career that will actually fit your needs. In working with students, embracing this truth provides a sense of calmness. However, the individuals that are capable of targeting their passions often find rewarding professional opportunities faster and avoid dead end careers.

The Core 5 offers a personal life rubric to the top five things you will need to be fulfilled in a job during a three to five-year period. In creating this list, you cannot include a potential salary or any sort of material items – i.e. enough money to buy X. The list should include professional goals that provide fulfilment and align with you as a person. There can only be five and you cannot write vague descriptions that capture everything. It is designed to focus your decisions strictly on the foundation of your career requirements. Sometimes, having too many options, ultimately makes us unable to make any decision at all.

One of my Core 5 was, “The ability to work on a task-basis, instead of a time-basis.” I wanted to have the freedom to work as hard or as little as I wanted, so long as I achieved the goal. When evaluating potential jobs, I would score them against my Core 5, basing them on the short term and long term. Will this job provide me the ability to have autonomy with my work in either or both time frame? If the answer is yes – that potential job earns one point. I advise individuals to score each opportunity against the Core 5 and to be cautious about any job that scores lower than a three, and to jump on jobs that rank as a four or higher. The power in this review is the ability to reasonably eliminate potentially unsuitable jobs.

To be clear, the job I accepted four years ago was a three with the potential of a five. As of this moment, my current job matches all five criteria from my original list. Along the way, I turned down other jobs that offered more money or perks because I knew the short-term financial success would give way to a substantial disappointment based on my Core 5. This rubric is specifically designed to reveal the core foundation of what really drives you.

The people we admire, or aspire to emulate, are those who have identified exactly what makes them happy. Refining your options does not limit your potential – it actually improves your chances of finding success by trying the careers that fit you. Working in a job that you are unsatisfied in can be a major waste of time for yourself and for your employer. Finding a career that provides genuine happiness, intrigue, and fulfillment will lead to long term success. Living a life of choices has always been my goal, if you share this dream, be bold enough to create your own path towards professional freedom.


To learn more about Adam Giery and his programs visit