Interview // Adrian Granzella Larssen, Editor-in-chief of The Muse

Tell us about your business / current project.

I’m the editor-in-chief of The Muse, the career website that’s helped more than 50 million people find and succeed at their dream jobs through inspiring content, behind-the-scenes views at top companies, and one-on-one coaching services. I started as the company’s first employee and built the team that publishes hundreds of articles a month on every career topic you could possibly imagine—from writing a cover letter to negotiating a raise to dealing with a terrible boss. 

And currently, I’m working across the company to translate that content into all kinds of different formats, such as video, online courses, and our founders’ upcoming book, The New Rules of Work.

If you could describe yourself in five words, what would they be?

Imaginative, loyal, intuitive, sensitive, and hungry. (In the literal sense. I always, always want to eat!)

Talk about the importance of finding your tribe.

I love that this question is about “finding your tribe,” rather than “networking.” To me, the idea of networking has always felt really transactional—a relationship in which one or both parties is looking to get something out of the exchange. But in my experience, long-term relationships with people you know well, respect, and truly like are infinitely more valuable. And those people don’t even have to be people in your professional sphere to be useful to your career! The woman who introduced me to the co-founders of The Muse, for example, is a friend I met through my husband when he was in law school. 

Why did you choose the career that you have?

I’ve always loved writing. But when I was younger, I didn’t really know how to translate that into a career, so I had a variety of more “stable” jobs, including event planning, marketing, and communications. The only thing that really fulfilled me about them, though, was the aspects that included writing, editing, and creating. In my late 20s, I had this moment when I looked at my career path and thought, this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing—and if my 16-year-old self saw me now, she’d be so disappointed. 

That’s when I knew I had to make a change. To make a long story short, I started taking baby steps toward my dream of working in editorial, including looking for writing projects at my current job, freelancing on the side, and networking. All of those steps led me to meeting the founders of The Muse, who hired me as their managing editor.

When did you take your biggest risk (in life or business)? Was it worth it?

At the time, it was quite a big risk to leave my stable, high-paying job to join The Muse—the company hadn’t yet raised money, so my salary and benefits left much to be desired, and my husband was still in law school. My family definitely thought I was insane! 

With that said, I think it would have been a bigger risk not to take the job. Worst case scenario, The Muse would have failed, and I would have gotten another job similar to the one I had just left. Best case, it would be the opportunity of a lifetime, and that’s a risky thing to pass up.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

A mentor once told me, when you need a change, you should be running towards something, not away from something. If you’re unhappy in your job, don’t just try looking for a new one, take the time to stop, consider what you really want, and run towards that.