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😇 Tam's Jam: High leverage kindness, foreboding joy and high-speed career sampling (Nov 2021)

Tam Pham
Tam Pham
5 min read

Heyo! In this issue, we have my new article on high leverage kindness, why experiencing joy is so vulnerable, and strategies on finding meaningful work via infinite games and high-speed career sampling.

Let's dive in.

⛰ High Leverage Kindness: low effort and big impact things you can do to make someone's day

This is my newest article highlighting a new term, high leverage kindness, coined by my best friend Chloe.

These acts of high leverage kindness are things that are very easy for you to contribute to but make a big impact on the people you help.  Here are a few of my favorite examples of high leverage kindness:

  • Be the best host for a friend visiting your city: It's just a normal weekend for you but you have the opportunity to make their trip or vacation extra memorable.
  • Offer to babysit: I babysat my nephew so my sister could have a free day (or several hours) to herself. For a new parent, this is a godsend.
  • Mentor others: One teacher/mentor can drastically change the course of someone's life, especially students and young professionals.

You can read the full list below. These acts of high leverage kindness can greatly deepen your relationships with minimal effort, hence the word leverage.

While I don't believe there is any shortcut to building connection with others, this just seems to me like an obvious and generous thing to do. This is a new term/definition that we created so... let me know what you think!

➡️  Read the article

📚 Foreboding joy

Do you ever have that feeling where, for once, everything is finally going well in your life... and you feel like a car is bound to hit you to even out the score?

Just me? 🤷‍♂️

I've been lucky to have this feeling a few times in my life. But every time I feel like my life couldn't get any better, I am fully convinced that something tragic is just around the corner.

I was rereading Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, where I discovered that there is a term for this! It's called foreboding joy. She writes:

“Scarcity and fear drive foreboding joy. We’re afraid that the feeling of joy won’t last, or that we won’t be enough, or that the transition to disappointment (or whatever is in store for us next) will be too difficult. We’ve learned that giving in to joy is, at best, setting ourselves up for disappointment and, at worst, inviting disaster. And we struggle with the worthiness issue. Do we deserve our joy, given our inadequacies and imperfections? What about the starving children and the war-ravaged world? Who are we to be joyful?”

That last part hit home for me. Do we deserve our joy? Who are we to be joyful?

I've definitely felt guilty being at my "peak." What about all the people in the world who are suffering? How can I be happy when I know my friends and family are going through a rough time?

I've been blessed to have many friends to help me make sense of this feeling. This Vox article on pandemic's guilt is something I come back to often.

In short, there is no benefit to you or society to feel guilty for your happiness.

Feel the joy. Believe that you deserve to be happy because you do. In Brown's words:

“Don’t squander joy. We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into a test drive for despair, we actually diminish our resilience. Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience, and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen — and they do happen — we are stronger.”

High-speed career sampling and infinite games

I found it inspiring to see my friend Nat Eliason switch careers several times after stepping down from his marketing agency.

In just the last year alone, he tried being a YouTuber, commercial real estate, software developer, and finally landed on being a DeFi Builder where he is currently happy now.

His personal philosophy on any career search is to find a sufficiently lucrative infinite game you could keep playing indefinitely.

"Every job is a game. Some of the games suck. Some are fun. Some are lucrative. Some aren’t. And it’s all individual. There are things you love that others hate. Things you hate others love.
The goal of high-speed career sampling is not to get a bunch of jobs. It’s to do a bunch of different forms of work. You can do types of work without permission or anyone giving you a job. And you should probably try on the type of work before you take on a 2-4 year job.
Basically you want to find a type of work that you enjoy doing, that pulls you in deeper, and that you’d keep doing for minimal compensation. If it happens to also pay a lot, great, but you should enjoy it even if it doesn’t."

I resonate a lot with his philosophy because I've found so much clarity through simply trying a bunch of stuff.

Here's a list of the "careers" I've sampled: Manager, facilitator, course creator, author, chat bot builder, email marketer, community builder, coach, mentor, youth speaker, chess teacher, camp director, etc.

If you're going through a transition or wondering where to start, writer Nick deWilde has a fantastic new article on the nine infinite games to play with your career.

To save you a click, the nine games are:

  1. Money
  2. Power
  3. Relationships
  4. Performance
  5. Mastery
  6. Discovery
  7. Autonomy
  8. Energy
  9. Impact
You don’t have to choose a single game to orient your career. You are more than welcome to mix and match them, and even select options that don’t appear on this list.
What’s important is that you recognize that there are lots of legitimate options for how to direct your career. And if you aren’t enjoying the game you’re playing today, you still have plenty of time to start a new one.

When we zoom out, there are other strategies to align your career with your pursuit of meaning. For those who are not as focused on their career right now, I also wrote an article about there being no pressure to find your life purpose at work in the first place.

I personally don't like seeing my career as a ladder because most workers don't stay in one role or industry for their whole lives. What's more helpful (for me) was to reframe "climbing the ladder" to be like a frog jumping on a new lily pad.

I also think about careers in terms of seasons. What might be right for you in your 20s may not be the same job or org in your 30s. Some seasons may be shorter or longer or even non-existent at times.

There's never a permanent right answer. Just an answer that's right for you, right now.

I haven't fully fleshed out my thoughts on these ideas yet but if anyone finds this interesting, reply back and let me know!

👇 Below the fold

🙂 Final Thoughts

My hope with Tam's Jam is that you (1) learn something useful and (2) live a happier and more meaningful life.

If you dug this, I'd love it if you shared this issue with a friend. You can forward this email or send them here to sign up for the next edition.

As always, let me know what you're reading (or watching). I'll share my favorites in the next issue of Tam's Jam.

With gratitude,


Tam's Jam

Tam Pham Twitter

I'm a writer and bachata dancer currently bouncing around Latin America. Trying to make the most out of my one wild and precious life.

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