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  • Writer's pictureWork Pirates Crew

Unfucking work with Eliza Levien

Eliza Levien has a background in finance and operations but quickly realised that a typical career ladder wasn’t for her. She asks too many questions, stands up for what she believes is right (even if it isn’t popular) and is never going to do something just because “it's always been done that way.” She has worked across various different industries and for companies large and small and is currently enjoying a varied portfolio career which includes making personalized cryptic crosswords for people as well as helping Work Pirates get ship shape.

What is the one thing you would do to unilaterally unfuck work?

I would stop promotion equalling management and give managers more training and support.

Too many people end up in management positions who aren’t suited to them or don't want them (but do want the promotion and pay rise, naturally). Instead, we need to create a way for individual contributors to be adequately recognised and compensated and then support those who want to be people managers to really get the best out of those they manage.

What is the best example of unfucking work you’ve seen in the wild?

The idea of Radical Candor’ created by Kim Scott helps people to give feedback in a way that actually resonates. It states that we need to both ‘care personally’ and ‘challenge directly’ when giving feedback and without both of these traits feedback fails. If everyone was taught how to give feedback well and using this framework, I believe that work would be much less fucked.

Who is your unfucking work icon? The ultimate Work Pirate?

David Hieatt - the co-founder of the Do Lectures and Hiut denim. His philosophy is of building brands “one sentence at a time” without huge budgets by focussing on the stories behind them. He also believes in building teams which focus on nurturing rather than breaking individuals.

In this podcast, we hear his life story of being kicked out of college, going to Saatchi & Saatchi as a copywriter when he “couldn’t spell,” founding and selling Howies (and walking away from the golden handcuffs) and setting up Do Lectures, which is a weekend of intimate talks in Wales.

Recommend a book, podcast or article to our Work Pirates crew that made you think differently about work.

Range by David Epstein – he made me realise that being a generalist (rather than a specialist) was something to be proud of rather than ashamed of.

Take a look at Work Pirates Good Reads for all the book recommendations from our community.


Find Eliza on LinkedIn

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