Letter No 47 - where should you work

Dear friend,

In today’s letter, I’m going to invite you to be an apprentice.

Whether your are 18 or 80, in any aspect of your life where you wish to learn at rocket speed, become an apprentice… live with an apprentice mindset.

Whether you are in the first few years of your career, or you are making a major career switch, apprenticeship is a very powerful way to learn and grow fast enough but deep enough.

An apprentice is a person who works with someone else who is highly experienced in order to learn a set of skills. They are willing for work for a lower pay, because they are learning from a masters experience.

Almost all practical knowledge in our world has been transferred from one generation to another through apprenticeship - from parent to child, teacher to student and through master to their ‘right hand person’.

Young carpenters work with senior carpenters.
Young musicians work and learn with senior musicians.
Young salespeople work closely with experienced sales people.

Most of the most important and beautiful things in life cannot be learnt by reading books and watching videos. This is the truth. They have to tried by us ourselves, and improved when some shows us how they do it better.

Building a boat.
Navigating the seas.
Hell, even kissing!


So, if you are looking to grow in a particular field or set of skills, find someone who is already a master and find ways to work closely with them. Find ways to become their apprentice. If you are starting a new career, who you work with matters much more than where your work or how much you earn. The person you work with shapes and moulds your character and capabilities far more than anything else.

Hence, my friend, be wise and ‘choose’ who you are going to work with very carefully.

If you do so, you will naturally become an ‘apprentice’ and if you gain their trust, you will learn at rocket speed.

Here is my list of qualities you should seek in the person you are going to work closely with.

Firstly, find someone to work for or with. Don’t work alone in the beginning years of anything new your are doing.

Work with someone who is good at what they do. Then you will get better.

Work with someone who is ambitious and humble. Then you will grow to love work.

Work with someone who enjoys what they do. Then you will stay energised.

Work with someone who is good at what they do. Then you will have high benchmarks.

Work with someone who will make you think. Then you will discover yourself.

Work with someone who will listen to your thoughts also. Then you will be challenged.

Work with someone whose life and work you like. Then you will find a role model.

Work with someone who is growing. Then you will grow.

Work with someone who can laugh at themselves. Then you will stay humble.

Work with someone who has more work than they can do themselves. Then you will get more work to do!

Work with someone learns from failures and successes. Then you will learn to take risks.

Work with someone who will open their contacts book and help you connect to new people. Then you will create your own identity.

Work with someone who will believe in shared growth. Then you will grow to be generous in sharing your growth with your apprentices when you get there.

Who you work with, will shape you more than you realise now.


Now, why should that someone want to work with you? If they are good, they don’t need you, and they have many options. If they are good, making you an apprentice is a drain on their energy and time. You have to understand this clearly and know what would make them want to have you work with them.

There are several reasons someone who has the qualities above would want to work with you…

You are willing and able to do things that they need done. Hence find out what is important to them.

Because you know things that they don’t know or don’t have time to find out. Become resourceful and find where to get those things.

Because you think in new ways that open doors to new possibilities. Hence stop being scared to think and express your ideas, but do this occasionally only.

Because you are ready to learn. The only barrier to learning is the ego that says ‘I know this’. Buckle down, and find out what you don’t know. Great masters seek sincere learners.

Because your energy adds in to their energy. It’s your job to keep your energy up. Don’t become a sulk-pot. People with good energy are attractive to others.

Because you are positive. Because then you will become a source of positivity for them.

Because you help keep their stuff organised and in order. Whether it is appointments, reminders, or to-do listens, everyone loves someone who helps them get more stuff done.

Because you help them relate with others. Successful people have many people connected to them, and that takes effort. They always need help managing those connections. Birthday reminders, sending flowers and greeting cards, or just helping them come up with creative ways to stay connected can be a huge value add in their life.

Because you help them process their ideas and thoughts. Everyone needs this. Once they trust you, they will share their ideas with you and make you their thinking partner.

Because you tell them the truth. This is a big one. The more successful a person gets, the tougher it is to find someone who tells them the truth!

Because you care about the work they do. This is the most important one. If you care, then go all out. Things will fall into place.

Because you work hard and show up on time. Nothing signals your seriousness like promptness, perseverance, and dedication.

Because you stretch yourself but also know where to set boundaries. If you keep breaking down because you don’t know how to manage yourself or you don’t ask for help, then it’s too much effort for anyone to work with you. Most successful people won’t.

I hope that this inspires some thoughts and energy in you to find such people and be such a person. Learning with people is a beautiful opportunity that life offers us. We should grab it and savour it. And before we know it, who is the teacher and who is the student will become a a beautiful dance.


Two stories…

After gaining 2 GCSEs at school and an NVQ in home economics, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver acquired numerous apprenticeships at eateries all over London. His apprenticeships gave him the skills and knowledge he needed to begin his 20 year long career as a chef. As a result, he has amassed a huge net worth, multiple television series and books, and his own restaurant chain.

When director J. J. Abrams won a young filmmaker award in the early 80s aged only 16, he was picked up by Speilberg to help clean up some of his old movies and transfer them to tape. Suffice to say, Spielberg was impressed by Abrams work and a long and prosperous relationship ensued. With the ongoing support from Spielberg as his mentor, Abrams went on to direct such blockbusters as Mission: Impossible III, Cloverfield, and Star Trek. He is now one of the highest-grossing directors in the world, and is considered by many to be the new Steven Spielberg.


For an ambitious person (like you), there is no option but to learn fast. You can’t allow yourself to be limited by your own experiences. You must acquire the experiences of another, and build on them with your own.

Become an apprentice. Develop an apprenticeship mindset. The teacher will appear on their.

If you are starting your career, use some of these thoughts to filter your options. If you find someone who you feel you will like to work with, ditch many other criteria and go all out. If you are making a career transition into leadership or a new field of work, the same applies to you.

And while you are at it, eat something nice tonight. Send me a picture of what you eat if you like. I’m looking looking for food inspiration!

In friendship and with gratitude,