Derek Magill on Building a Career You’ll Love


Derek Magill recently explained that, as a classics major at the University of Michigan, he just wasn’t getting the kind of experience in college that he thought would help him build a career. “I didn’t really feel like I was going to graduate and have a whole lot to show for it. So, I left,” he says. “I wanted to test some of my assumptions about the real world and see if I could make it without a degree. Through the process, I learned many lessons that have allowed me to sidestep a lot of the traditional barriers to building a career.”

Derek has worked with the Foundation for Economic Education, DailyCaller, and Voice & Exit, to name but a few. Now he’s the director of marketing at Praxis, where he helps teenagers and young adults “build their own credentials.” He explains, “I help them learn how to take their interests and signal those interests in a way that’s valuable to other people in the marketplace without necessarily having to go through college.”

At TOS-Con 2018, Derek will discuss “How to Build a Career and Life around Things You Love.” One of the reasons he loves helping people in this way, says Derek, is that “many people think you have to go get some sort of third-party permission or something. They think they have to go take this certification course or get credentialed or go through a traditional college degree path and get certified to do this kind of job. And the reality is you can skip a lot of that stuff if you just get started making things that are valuable to other people.”

Of course, Derek exemplifies the entrepreneurial approach he teaches. He’s helped generate millions of dollars in revenue for a variety of companies, often by just diving in, learning the ropes, and figuring out how to create value. He explains that you need to demonstrate that you can “add more value to an organization than you take out in salary.”

Derek’s second talk at TOS-Con is on “How to Create a Professional Online Presence.” He explained how this integrates with building a career and life around things you love.

If you want to be a public intellectual for example, certainly you can go the college route, but you can also just self-certify and start writing; you can start a blog, a YouTube channel, a podcast. You can write an ebook. . . . You can very quickly establish yourself as someone who has something to say without necessarily having to go through all of those years of traditional certification.

(Derek also offers practical ideas for people switching careers or thinking about careers in which a degree is necessary, such as medicine. Check out his advice here.)

Derek has spoken at many entrepreneur- and liberty-oriented events, but he sees TOS-Con as unique: “I think the tendency nowadays is to go too far down the business and entrepreneurship side of things. It tends to get too fluffy, and people forget about the dramatic importance of the philosophy underpinning all of this stuff that we’re doing in the real world. . . . What TOS-Con will do is take these big ideas” and show how people can “put them to practice in the real world” to achieve their goals. The value of this conference, says Derek, is that it will “pull it all together.”

If you want to learn more about Derek’s thinking on how to build a career you’ll love and about philosophy for freedom and flourishing more generally, watch this recent interview and register for TOS-Con 2018.


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