You know the formula. Major news event happens, and financial news outlets, including MarketWatch, use the story as a peg to discuss a broader topic, such as career advice or retirement planning or tax advice.
The weekend’s aborted coup by Yevgeny Prigozhin put a similar spark into my head. It is in many ways poor taste — Prigozhin, after all, got his start through pure thuggery, before turning into a violent mercenary sanctioned by the U.S. government. On the other hand, well, he is arguably the most notable new personality in Russia since Vladimir Putin came to power.
With that in mind, I decided to see what one of these large language models would crank out. I turned to Sage, which is a lot like ChatGPT, and is the default in Quora’s Poe, which hosts several AI chatbots. Instantly, it generated this fully formed and quite conversational piece, with, honestly, not-terrible advice. Like ChatGPT, Sage doesn’t have access to current events, so this weekend’s turmoil isn’t mentioned.
Yevgeny Prigozhin is a well-known figure in the world of international politics and business. He is the founder of the Wagner Group, a private military contractor that has been involved in conflicts around the world, from Syria to Ukraine. Prigozhin has also been linked to Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as other political campaigns in Europe and Africa. Despite his controversial reputation, there are some lessons that can be learned from Prigozhin’s career trajectory, particularly when it comes to changing careers.
- Be willing to take risks
Prigozhin started his career as a hot dog vendor in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, he quickly realized that there was more money to be made in the restaurant business. He opened several successful restaurants, which allowed him to invest in other ventures, such as a catering company and a factory that produced school lunches. Prigozhin’s success in the food industry eventually led him to the world of politics and private military contracting. Throughout his career, Prigozhin has been willing to take risks and try new things, which has allowed him to build a diverse portfolio of businesses.
- Network, network, network
Prigozhin’s success in the private military contracting business is largely due to his connections in the Russian government. He has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is part of Putin’s inner circle. Prigozhin’s political connections have helped him win lucrative contracts in countries like Syria and Sudan. While most people don’t have the luxury of being friends with heads of state, networking is still an important part of changing careers. Building relationships with people in your desired field can help you learn about job opportunities and get your foot in the door.
- Be adaptable
Prigozhin’s success in the food industry didn’t make him complacent. He was always looking for new opportunities to expand his business. When the Russian government began outsourcing military operations to private contractors, Prigozhin saw it as an opportunity to enter a new industry. He quickly pivoted his business to focus on private military contracting, and the Wagner Group was born. Being adaptable and willing to change course when necessary is important for anyone looking to change careers.
- Learn from your mistakes
Prigozhin’s career hasn’t been without its share of controversies. He has been accused of everything from embezzlement to election interference. However, Prigozhin has been able to weather these scandals and continue to build his businesses. One reason for his resilience is that he has learned from his mistakes. For example, after the Wagner Group was implicated in the downing of a Russian military plane in Syria, Prigozhin restructured the company to make it more accountable and transparent. Learning from your mistakes and taking steps to improve can help you overcome setbacks and move forward in your career.
In conclusion, while Yevgeny Prigozhin’s career may not be a model for everyone to follow, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from his experience. Being willing to take risks, networking, being adaptable, and learning from your mistakes are all important qualities to have when changing careers. By following these principles, you can increase your chances of success and find a fulfilling career in a new field.