Author Bill Burnett: Designing Your Work Life
Play • 1 hr 1 min

In the wake of a worldwide pandemic and economic catastrophe, many of our friends and colleagues in the world of digital product design are fortunate to have kept their jobs, but there have also been many who were not so lucky. We thought it would be timely to bring in an expert who has been using a designer’s mindset to help people reframe their approach to their careers.

Bill Burnett, co-author of the bestselling book Designing Your Life, has written a new book called Designing Your Work Life. Bill has been the executive director of the design program at Stanford for 13 years and has also taught one of the most popular elective classes there (which his first book was named from). He and his co-author Dave Evans have taken what they have learned from teaching and running workshops for adults in the midst of a career or life transition to come up with a framework for using tools like curiosity, reframing, radical collaboration, and a bias to action to transform your work life and find the best job for you.

In this interview,  we speak with Bill about how adopting a designer’s mindset can help you through your current challenges if you’re searching for work. We also chat about how grit and perseverance maps to happiness at work, and how setting aside time for reflection can help you understand what changes you need to make to find a better job (which may even be in your current company). 


  • How setting micro-goals can help you achieve positive change at work.
  • Why you might think about redesigning and iterating on your role at your current company if you’re unhappy.
  • What the idea of “generative quitting” is, and why asking the question “What am I doing wrong?” might be a good idea before you decide to quit.


Bill Burnett is the co-author of the NYT Best-seller Designing Your Life. He’s also co-director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University. He’s a designer, educator, and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. He’s also the Executive Director of the Design Program where he manages the undergraduate and graduate degree-granting programs and advises 70 -100 students annually.


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