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Dan Schawbel ( is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker and consultant on career and his own millennial generation. A serial entrepreneur, Dan’s Personal Branding Blog website was ranked the “#1 Job Blog” by Careerbuilder.

Dan’s many recognitions include: Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” Business Week’s “20 Entrepreneurs You Should Follow,” and Workforce Magazine’s “Game Changers.”

In this interview, Dan discusses his background, how he’s reached this incredible point in his career (hint: it involved many sunrises!) and advice for those seeking success in the workplace. Dan also shares his research on what workers and companies can expect in 2017. How does technology effect us, why do we have employee burnout and what are trends for compensation and benefits? Learn this and more in our conversation.

(Published March 2017)

Audio Clips:

Here are #TakeAways from the interview: 


-Internships and leadership positions in college greatly impacted on my long-term career.

-I got into entrepreneurship because of blogging. Blogging to me was a testing ground to see what the possibilities were in life.


-The thread that goes throughout my whole career is not getting an opportunity and then figuring out how to build a stronger profile to eventually get that opportunity.

-For example, I applied to college early decision and was waitlisted to regular decision. I went back to the drawing board. I got straight A’s my last semester, wrote a letter to admissions officers and interviewed on campus. I started to work much harder so I eventually got in.


-A lot of people are taught two things in college: wait until your junior year to get an internship and network by handing out your business cards and resumes. Both are wrong.

-Your first internship is the hardest to get because everyone is looking at your previous internships that you don’t have. They want the track record. So the sooner you get your first internship, the easier it is to get the best internship junior year of college.

-This is happening whether we like it or not. More companies are building their brand and recruiting high school students and even middle school students.

-About 3 years ago, half of high school students in America had an internship. About 70% of high school students want to volunteer or are currently volunteering. The world has changed. Why?  Because of the vastness of technology, pressures of the economy and pressures of parents and the school system to get into college.

-How will you differentiate yourself? If you have an internship, that will help you stand out. That’s the world we live in.

-Regarding networking, we were told to just hand out your resume, meet people and give out your business cards. That’s wrong. I used my blog to create networking opportunities. I profiled people to establish new relationships. I’m now at 1750 interviews. It’s created my network.

-I saw the blog as a way to connect and as a platform on which to launch other things. The blog was the community. The reason my blog grew is because I wrote a lot and commented on every single blog that mentioned personal branding.

-The #1 piece of advice for young people -whether you’re 16 or 24 – is do as much as you can as early in life as possible.  The long term positive implications of that time spent and that sweat – you can’t even measure it.


-Two industries run in parallel: the book industry and the speaking industry. If your book does well, you get more speaking opportunities and the speaking opportunities will sell more books. They go hand in hand. They are best friends.

-The quickest way to a book deal is to have an amazing speaking platform: to speak for $30,000 10 or 30 times every year. Then you get a book deal because they know that part of the speech will include the books.

-Most people don’t make a lot of money from books but make a lot of money from speaking to make up for books. That’s the relationship.

-I spoke for free for 3 1/2 years. Then someone hired me to speak for $6500 – I felt like I robbed a bank. I almost apologized to them.


-For my first book, I was rejected by 70 out of 70 agents and 2 publishers and the third publisher signed me.

-I was signed because I told that I was the right person with the right idea at the right time. To get signed now, you have to have already sold tens of thousands of copies and have a huge email list. Back then, it was good timing.

-I really felt like I was meant to do it, like I was the person who had to write the book. The first book came from the most genuine place ever.

-Part of the original drive was: As a child, I was made fun of a lot because I didn’t fit in anywhere. Because I had those kinds of struggles, I felt constantly that I had to prove myself. So that manifested into the work ethic.

-I also get the work ethic from my grandfather and father. My  dad is 73 and still works and will work until the end of his life. I have that kind of ‘work forever DNA.’


-This is what gets me excited: anything along the lines of helping people achieve more career success. My personal mission is helping people go from student to CEO. I really want to help our generation succeed and corporations become better so that our generation can succeed. So think of me as the middle man between corporations and our generation. I’m trying to make it work!


-Instead of taking my first check of $6500 for a speaking engagement, I gave 30% away to an agent to sign me because I knew that I would be in this industry for life.

-I’d rather take a little hit, lose a few thousand dollars and leverage that – and now I’m in the best agency. If I didn’t get repped by the first agency, it wouldn’t have created a strong enough perception to have a chance of getting repped by the other ones. The other agency feels that they stole me from a competing agency. Now I’m in good hands and it’s really ignited my speaking career.

-I could have easily said $6500 – enjoy! – and that would have limited me. That would have been a short term move. I try to make as many long term moves as possible.

-My Dad’s best piece of advice was stay at your job until it makes sense to leave. Especially when you’re on your own, it’s hard to project how much money you’re going to make. I realized that you stay with the company as long as you can because it protects you and gives you the best chance for success. Only leave when you have to leave.

-Our generation is impatient. They want instant gratification and the badge of honor that is the most socially acceptable, which is entrepreneurship. Everyone wants to consider themselves an entrepreneur because it’s cool. People are quick to quit their job and it’s not a good play.


-The average tenure across all generations and age groups is 4.2 years. That number is going down. It used to be 4.6 years; it used to be 5.5 years. For our generation, it’s two years. Some stay less than a year.

-40% of people this year regardless of age are looking for a new job. No one is happy. Everyone is looking for the next best opportunity – in dating, in everything. This is the mentality that people have. It’s really because of technology. Technology has made people more accessible than ever before – it’s had positive and negative implications.

-Technology has made us more dysfunctional, despite the benefits. It’s actually caused us harm, made us less productive and hurt human relationships, which people still cherish the most, regardless of age.

-People, regardless of age, want to work in a corporate office. Despite their behavior, they want in-person meetings.

-Older generations think that men are better prepared and better leaders in the workplace. Younger generations think that women should be the leaders in the workplace.

-Our most recent study found that there is an employee burnout crisis in America.

-People are working longer hours and not making more money. People are making 10% less than they did 10 years ago. The average work week is 47 hours.  There is no 40 hour work week anymore. So people are being burned out because they have to work longer hours and not being incentivized. There’s no compensation so it’s crushing them.

-Companies aren’t hiring more employees. They are trying to squeeze out as much as they can from each employee.

-This happened after the recession. Companies started to hire slowly and not as much. The average time to hire expanded by about a week. This causes employees to have to do more work with fewer resources. It’s causing as much as 50% of employee turnover. Half the reason an employee leaves is because they are burned out.  If you’re burned out, you’re less engaged and have less organizational commitment.

-The #1 challenge that companies have from a talent perspective this year is retention because the economy is dong better. The unemployment rate is about 4.6% and that’s down from 8.6% in 2009. Because of that, people have more options and are more optimistic. When an opportunity comes, they will probably take it.

-Every time a company has to replace one of us, it’s $20,000. Plus headaches. Plus stress. Because when an employee isn’t there, that team of 2 or 3 has to do that work. So companies have to be more competitive with compensation –  compensation is predicted to go up by 2.9% this year. Companies know that they have no choice but to pay a little bit more and they are going to boost their employee benefits.

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