Idan Cohen on Why Your Career is Not Your Life

In Chapter 1 of 19 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, Boxee co-founder and head of product Idan Cohen answers "Where Do You Seek Inspiration Outside Your Career?"  Cohen challenges Erik's question, as he does not feel what he is does is a part of a "career".  Instead, he finds his family, past, present and future, and his work define his life.  This is not something linear, however, as he keeps himself open to new possibilities that plot on a timeline but not necessarily a specific career ladder.  It is less about progressing on a career and more about a life journey. 

This is Idan Cohen's Year 1 Capture Your Flag interview.  Cohen is co-founder and head of product at Boxee Inc, an online video software company.  Previous to Boxee, Cohen held telecom software innovation and developer roles at Comverse.  He was a Captain in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and graduated from Tel Aviv University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Geophysics and Art.


Erik Michielsen: Where do you seek inspiration outside of your career?

Idan Cohen: Okay, I think that the one important thing about this question is that I do not look at my—what I’m doing as a career. It’s just career is very, very boring. Anyone who’s—I’m sorry, I don’t wanna hurt anyone but anyone who’s, you know, focusing about his career then I don’t know—it’s okay, it’s great, but for me that’s the wrong choice because my work definitely defines my life.

I think there’s 2 things that kind of defines your life, and that’s family and the family that you’re gonna build, and work. ‘Cause at the end of the day, I can’t see myself not working, or not creating, doesn’t matter right now, so that’s why it’s not exactly working, I’m not going to work, I’m going to make things. And I choose what I’m going to make, and it’s not about career, it’s about building bigger things and better things and different things, and maybe going sideways and maybe going forward, and making steps into accomplishing more complicated tasks. But it’s definitely not about going to work, and it’s definitely not about career, the path and just, you know, thinking today I wanna be here and tomorrow— you know, today I wanna be this position and tomorrow I wanna be in that position, is that really interesting enough?

It should be about what you’re actually doing, it might be, you know, today I can accomplish this and tomorrow if I wanna build something bigger, I need to accomplish all of that. So it’s not about the title, it’s about what you make. And that’s how I look at it. I really don’t like to look at myself as going to work. I might say that day-to-day, you know, I’m at work but I’m just—I’m at life. I’m currently doing what I love doing.