New Rules of Work with Alex Cavoulacos


The world of work has seen a lot of change in recent years, and it can be tough to keep up. What do these changes mean for your career and leadership? Alex Cavoulacos breaks it down and shares her career expertise in today’s episode. Named one of INC’s 15 women to watch in tech and Forbes 30 under 30, Alex is co-founder and COO of, a career platform and community helping millions of Millennials find inspiring careers.

Alex talks about making the leap from her job as a consultant to starting this groundbreaking company, and dives into their book The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career. Alex also shares her productivity hacks, her genius approach to to-do listing, and how to create your personal brand authentically.

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Highlighted Excerpt

Majo: In the book that you co-write with Kathryn Minshew, The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career (which I loved, by the way), you argue that there’s a lot of outdated career advice out there, that people are still playing by the old rules and it’s time to play by the new rules.

Can you tell us a little bit about some of these new rules and how they differ from the old ones?

Alex: So, the biggest thing is that the world of work has changed in the past ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years... where there once used to be linear career paths, they’re not so linear anymore. Where people used to stay five or ten years or more at one company, people don’t do that as much anymore, they hop between jobs and companies and industries. And where people used to look on classifieds to apply to jobs, there are now a lot more options out there. And with that comes a lot more opportunity, which I think is really exciting.

But with that also comes a paralysis of choice because there’s an overwhelming number of options. So feeling anxious or stuck, unsure of what step to take next, unsure of what you really want to do (because you could do anything)... it makes it so much harder than if you only have a couple of options. So that alone has caused a lot of people’s lives and careers and identities to change in a really dramatic way.

In the book, the first thing we cover is, What do you actually want to do? Defining the values that matter the most to you, doing research... we actually walk through the whole process and the method to help you start narrowing down. Not for your forever life, but for the next two to five years. What’s the next step that aligns with what you want, right now, out of your career?

The second part of the book talks about interviewing, cover letters, the whole job search process. And then the third part is for after you land the job, how you can be as successful as possible. So productivity, communication, all that good stuff.

And for each of those sections we talk about what has changed, and how the world works right now. Because in a way, going through your career... it’s just everyone playing a game. And if you don’t know the rules of the game it’s a whole lot harder to be successful. Kathryn always likes to say, and I wholeheartedly agree, that once you know the rules you can also decide which ones to break. But if you don’t know what the rules are to begin with you’re at a severe disadvantage.

The biggest thing about us and our style, both at and in New Rules of Work, is we take all this stuff and make it much more tactical. Because someone telling you that you need to negotiate at your job isn’t very helpful. What you need to know is how. What do you say? What’s the next step? What can or can’t be negotiated? That’s where we try to really get into the nuts and bolts and give people the tools they need to do it themselves.

Show Notes:

  • On her strong, self-driven personality growing up, and the grit and rigor she learned from her schooling outside the U.S. [2:43]
  • Some of the lessons she learned in school, like dealing with pressure and separating efforts from results. [8:47]
  • Alex’s college years: throwing previous training out the window, exploring new fields, and getting a clearer sense for how she wanted to go about impacting the world. [15:00]
  • How Alex met Kathryn and what drove them to get started with The Muse. [20:25]
  • The pain points that came up in deciding between staying at her job and taking a chance with The Muse, and how she ultimately made the leap. [28:32]
  • Diving into their new book, The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career. [21:06]
  • The main difference Alex has noticed between men and women when it comes to career work, and how The Muse helps less-traditional workers be successful. [35:41]
  • On the importance of personal branding and how to create your brand authentically. [38:15]
  • Alex’s productivity hacks and insights, plus her genius approach to to-do listing. [43:48]
  • On saying no, the difference between an employee mindset and a leader mindset, and what Alex has reclaimed on her journey. [47:52]

Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).


Get Alex & Kathryn's new book, The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career — available now.


by Lucia Lilikoi

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