Adam Smiley Poswolsky is a millennial workplace expert, internationally renowned keynote speaker, and bestselling author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters, published by TarcherPerigee (Penguin Random House).
Smiley has inspired professionals and entrepreneurs to find fulfilling work as the former director of community engagement for the Hive Global Leaders Program, and previously as director of The Bold Academy. Smiley is a mentor for the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation, and a teacher for General Assembly and The Passion Co. He is also an 10-time counselor for Camp Grounded, a summer camp for adults where grownups go to unplug and be kids again.
Smiley has spoken about finding meaningful work at Fortune 500 companies, international conferences and leadership development programs, universities and graduate schools.
Smiley writes stories about purpose-driven millennials who are making a positive impact in their communities. His writing has been published in The Washington Post, Fast Company, Time, Forbes, and GOOD, and his work has been featured in Mashable, VICE, CNBC, and the World Economic Forum. He previously worked as the special assistant to the director of global operations at the U.S. Peace Corps.
He is a proud graduate of Wesleyan University, and can usually be found dancing in San Francisco, California.
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My work is for anyone who ever heard, "That's not possible, you can't do that, you're not good enough, you're too young or too old, you don't have the money or the connections, it's too late," and took a deep breath, listened to their heart, and went out and did it anyway.
Four years ago, I quit my comfortable, well-paying job, with the intention of not living one more day failing to reach my full potential. Since then, I've embarked on a journey to pursue meaningful work and surround myself with believers who are also pursuing their dreams. I write and speak about the joys (and challenges) of living in alignment with your true self, working with purpose, and being a creative.
My purpose is to help all people find work they care deeply about. In doing so, I want to build transformative communities and companies where changemakers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and leaders, can create a more innovative, sustainable, and compassionate world.
It’s true that many millennials are very privileged, but I’m in the business of helping people use that privilege with intention. To take the opportunity, the knowledge, the access they have, and use it for something more than just earning a paycheck, for something more than just a 9 to 5, for something more than just a job, for something more than just a fat savings account and a round of golf at the age of 65. To realize that meaning comes not from personal gain, but from service.
Millennials already make up the majority of the world’s population, and will soon control the majority of its assets. Despite struggling with debt, recession, and the jobs crisis, millennials (who will account for 75% of the workforce in 2025) are not motivated by money. Rather, they are driven to make the world more compassionate, innovative, and sustainable.
We aren't the "me, me, me generation." We are the purpose generation, and we will be engaged with our work because we have to be. The challenges facing our generation are simply too serious to ignore. They are too serious to only worry about on the weekends or after five p.m.
I believe empowering millennials to find meaningful work is essential to solving the world’s most serious challenges; climate change, income inequality, access to health care and education and jobs, and the ability for everyone regardless of where they’re born to reach their potential.
I hope your quarter-life breakthrough (and third-life breakthrough, and mid-life breakthrough) bring you closer to who you are, the types of people and experiences that make you come alive, and the change you want for the world.
I wish you all the best on your journey to meaningful work! Please let me know how I can help.