of 18-24 year-olds surveyed don’t think they’ll ever meet their career ambitions³


0f workers surveyed reported signs of burnout due to work-related stress¹


of the working day is spent on “work about work” (e.g., emails, meetings, etc.)4


reported that too heavy of a workload contributed to their stress²


reported that unrealistic job expectations contributed to their stress²

“I love my work—but I’m so exhausted.”

“I started a business to have more control of my time—but I’m working more than ever.”

“I just can’t seem to get ahead—what’s wrong with me?”

“I promised myself I’d slow down—why is it so hard to work at a sustainable pace?”

“I know there’s more to success than money or prestige—but I still have a toxic relationship to achievement.”

More people than ever are questioning their relationship with work. But there’s a lot to unpack.

That’s where you come in.

Whether traditionally employed, making the best of a slash career, running a small business, managing a team, or participating in the gig economy, people are hungry to reevaluate their relationships with work and success.

They want to engage with work in a sustainable and satisfying way. They define success differently from their parents—and maybe their boss, too. 

And, they’re looking for someone like you who can help them find a more humane relationship with work.


  • You’re a coach, strategist, trainer, consultant, or other type of guide
  • You work closely with people who want to learn to work (or lead) with less stress and feel less anxious about how productive or efficient they are (or aren’t)
  • You’ve noticed how difficult it is to help people retrain themselves to think about work differently
  • You’ve already started to unpack some of your own assumptions about work, productivity, and self-worth—and you’re ready to go way deeper

“…if work is the way we are molded and made, we must remake the work that makes us.”
Al Gini, Professor of Business Ethics

Work In Practice is a 12-week training program in which we think deeply about work and how it shapes us.

With Work In Practice, you gain not only a new perspective on work, culture, and identity for yourself—but a coaching toolkit to supercharge your work with clients or team members.

During the program, we’ll cover:


  • The root causes of habits like overwork, overdelivering, and over-functioning (hint: they’re not personal failings)
  • The tell-tale signs of harmful stories and assumptions in the way people talk about work (because career development and self-help guides are full of them!)
  • The frameworks that can help clients or team members understand their relationship to work—and how to change it
  • The systems—cultural, economic, and political—that shape how we identify as workers and what we expect of ourselves

What does a humane approach to work mean?

Since the industrial revolution, we’ve tried to make workers more and more like machines. We focus on productivity and efficiency to drive profit—and ignore how this drives alienation, inequality, and dehumanization. 

humane approach to work must be one in which the experience of the work is just as important—if not more so—than the product of that work. But to make that kind of approach possible, we must deconstruct the beliefs and patterns that inform the way we work today.

What’s more, the knowledge-based, creative, and care-oriented work that’s in demand today requires a humane approach. Working in extractive, efficiency-oriented systems is antithetical to realizing great results for all stakeholders.


Is the Work In Practice approach right for your clients or team members?

If you work with people who are chronically overworking, overcommitted, and overscheduling, Work In Practice will help you support their behavior change. If you work with people who say they’re done with the gospel of productivity or the ritual of the 10-hour workday but can’t seem to shake it, Work In Practice will give you tools to help them do deeper and actually do things differently.

If you work with people who love their work and want more from it, Work In Practice will help you guide them to a less toxic, more fruitful work-life. 

Most likely, your clients or team members are knowledge workers or creatives. They may be self-employed, business owners, long-term contractors, or traditional employees. 

About Tara McMullin

black & white photo of Tara McMullin

I’m a former coach and strategist turned writer and critic. I’ve investigated the future of work for over 15 years. From personal coaches to influencers, independent educators to marketing professionals, and gig workers to micro-entrepreneurs, I probe how today’s independent workers navigate the uncertainty and precarity of the 21st-century economy. I’m also the host of What Works and co-founder of YellowHouse.Media, a boutique podcast production company. My work has been featured in Fast Company, The Muse, Quartz, and on Substack.

The fanciest degree I have is a bachelor’s in religious studies. I am committed autodidact who finds immense joy in ideas. I regularly read (and listen to podcasts about) continental philosophy, media studies, gender studies, social justice, labor politics, economics, and more. For more on my commitment to care, context, and curiosity, please see the values & inclusion section below.

I’m the author of What Works: A Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal-Setting. The book challenges the lessons we’ve learned about goals and productivity through culture and proposes a radical shift: structuring our lives around practice rather than achievement. We’ll reference What Works throughout the program.

Pair of women's hands holding a copy of What Works book

Praise for What Works

"Nuanced, rigorous exploration."

“What Works is a thought-provoking antidote to the overhyped productivity narratives keeping us stuck in shame and validation spirals. This book, and Tara’s oeuvre more broadly, serves as a brilliant guide for emphasizing presence and process over rigid metrics and external markers of success. A rich, hearty meal for the mind, I was only sad to put this book down when it ended.”

— Jenny Blake, podcaster and author of Free TimePivot, and Life After College

"I've broken up with goal-setting as usual."

“Thanks to What Works, I’ve broken up with goal setting as usual. Tara has laid out a liberated way to identify what matters to me and move towards it without striving, suffering, or burning out.”

— Annie Schuessler, host of Rebel Therapist

"Made me want to stand up and applaud"

Tara McMullin is a straight-up research and writing genius. This book is impeccably well-written, thoroughly researched, and she brings together the context behind why our modern framework of setting goals and being successful is not going to work for most people. I’m a huge nerd, a huge fan of books, a skeptic of hustle culture, a lover of doing way too much, and an exhausted parent of two kids and this book made me want to stand up and applaud from my living room.”

— Sarah Peck, founder of Startup Parent

"This is a top 10 productivity book in my mind."

“Her book is amazing. You need to grab it. And I really do think this is a different enough approach on goal setting that it was refreshing. It felt easy to understand. It definitely feels like a holistic approach to goal setting, which I think is different than I’ve ever heard before.”

— Erik Fisher, host of Beyond the To-Do List

What to Expect

Work In Practice is a 12-week program delivered in 3 blocks. Each block is 4 weeks long (3 weeks “on,” 1 week “off”). We’ll meet once per week for learning, discussion, and coaching. After each module, you’ll submit a short reflection or case study applying what you’ve learned to a client scenario or your own relationship with work. Once you’ve completed each of those assignments, you’ll earn the Work In Practice™ Certificate.

Theory & Systems

Part 1 explores the theory and systems that shape how we work and how work shapes us. We’ll dig into work ethic, meritocracy, and internalized managerialism. We’ll discuss the “new spirit of capitalism,” the immunity to change framework, and the rise of bullshit jobs.

Identity & Relationships

Part 2 explores work, identity, and relationships. We’ll investigate how our attitudes about work are shaped by our identities (e.g., gender, race, class, disability, etc.) and how our identities are shaped by work. We’ll discuss the self-help industry, burnout, and work under capitalism.


Part 3 explores frameworks that help us make sense of our assumptions about work. We’ll examine the passion paradigm, the labor-of-love ethic, and vocational awe. We’ll discuss the morality of work, changing work relations, and the rhetoric of purpose.


All live sessions are Thursdays at 12:30pm ET/9:30am PT for 90 minutes.

February 8, 2024

When Work is Your Worldview

How does work shape us and the way we move through the world? What beliefs do we have about work? What beliefs about work have we let go of?


February 15, 2024

Meritocracy, Morality, and the Challenge of Change

How do unwanted habits or behaviors relate to structural obstacles? How does highlight a structural challenge make space for lasting change? What is “meritocracy?” What is your relationship to this system?


February 22, 2024

Surveillance, Managerialism, and Bullshit Jobs

How do we self-surveil and what are the impacts of this behavior? What is a bullshit job and how does one impact a worker? Why do we internalize management goals rather than our own needs or desires?


February 29, 2024

Reflection or Case Study #1

Using one or more of the concepts we discussed in Weeks 1-3, reflect on a conversation you’ve had with a client or team member. What do you notice about that conversation today that you didn’t when it happened? How were the challenges within that conversation exacerbated by beliefs about work or structural obstacles? How might you approach that conversation differently?

Alternatively, share a personal reflection inspired by the work we’ve done so far.

Your submission should be 500-1000 words written, or 3-5 minutes spoken. Please complete the assignment in a medium that you’re comfortable in—I’m most interested in your thinking, not your communication style!

March 7, 2024

Difference at Work

How do our ideas about work relate to the concept of white supremacy culture? How do we treat “nonrational knowledge” at work? In what ways do our different identities create the possibility of excellence?


March 14, 2024

We Are What We Do

How does work impact our identities? How do our identities impact the way we work? What moral or utilitarian value do we give our work identities?


March 21, 2024

Putting Self-Doubt Where It Belongs

How does neoliberalism encourage us to seek individual solutions to systemic issues? How might someone lose confidence or self-efficacy through no fault of their own? What is “alienation?”


March 28, 2024

Reflection or Case Study #2

Using one or more of the concepts we discussed in Weeks 5-7, reflect on a conversation you’ve had with a client or team member. What do you notice about that conversation today that you didn’t when it happened? How were the challenges within that conversation influenced by identity? How might you approach that conversation differently?

Alternatively, share a personal reflection inspired by the work we did in Weeks 5-7.

Your submission should be 500-1000 words written, or 3-5 minutes spoken. Please complete the assignment in a medium that you’re comfortable in—I’m most interested in your thinking, not your communication style!

April 4, 2024

Down with Love

How does receiving the message to “do what you love” impact our expectations of work? How does the “do what you love” message often ignore systemic challenges? How do we trade material needs for pseudo-existential needs in the pursuit of work passion?


April 11, 2024

Taking Advantage of Love

What is worker exploitation? How are loyalty and love for one’s work often misplaced and used against us? How can loving one’s work result in exploitation?


April 18, 2024

You Deserve Better

What is vocational awe and who is most likely to experience it? What’s the difference between advice, coaching, and instruction? How can we be better advocates for ourselves at work?


April 25, 2024

Reflection or Case Study #3

Using one or more of the concepts we discussed in Weeks 9-11, reflect on a conversation you’ve had with a client or team member. What do you notice about that conversation today that you didn’t when it happened? How did the challenges in that conversation line up with the frameworks we discussed? How might you approach that conversation differently?

Alternatively, share a personal reflection inspired by the work we did in Weeks 9-11.

Your submission should be 500-1000 words written or 3-5 minutes spoken. Please complete the assignment in a medium that you’re comfortable in—I’m most interested in your thinking, not your communication style!

About the Live Sessions

Each live session will consist of an instructor talk, Q&A, and group discussion. You’ll receive a slide deck for the talk before each session. Closed captioning will be available during the live session, and a transcript will be provided when the session is complete. All sessions will be recorded and available both in video and audio.

My goal is to create group discussions that are introvert- and neurodivergence-friendly. I will give 2-3 minutes of time to think about conversation-starter questions or topics before we dive in. I fully support participating in the discussion in any way that feels comfortable—including off-camera or via written chat.

If you need accommodations that I haven’t mentioned here, please let me know. Due to my own capacity and limitations, I’m not able to meet every accommodation—but I’d like the chance to try!

Values & Inclusion

I bring three core values to everything I do: care, context, and curiosity. These values are woven throughout this program. And they also inform my approach to community spaces like this program. I am a radical feminist, and I use my work to support the cause of liberation—including social, economic, and climate justice.


Community spaces should be places of mutual concern. In other words, we care about each other. That doesn’t mean we’ll always agree or see things in the same way. We each bring different experiences and perspectives to the group. But with every interaction, we endeavor to demonstrate care through our words and actions.


Community spaces should be places where we look below the surface and investigate the context of ideas, points of view, and ways of seeing. Some context-gathering happens with others (e.g., we can draw on a variety of resources to help us understand an idea or perspective). But some context-gathering is an individual responsibility (e.g., we don’t ask people to relive their trauma or explain aspects of their culture or background that can be found on Wikipedia).


Community spaces should be places where we question the status quo and eagerly learn about new ways of being. As a group, we agree to welcome curiosity but express our personal boundaries when necessary.

I’ve tried to include materials from a variety of voices in this program. Of course, not every perspective is represented here. If you’re looking for a voice from a particular group on a particular topic, please let me know. I’ll do my best to locate one.

Finally, a big component of this program is analyzing and discussing cultural, political, and economic systems. I am not perfect at this, and I don’t expect perfection from anyone else. These conversations can be tricky and, sometimes, uncomfortable. Our goal is to remember dismantling or deconstructing systems isn’t an act of personal attack. When in doubt, return to care, context, and curiosity.

Take the Next Step

To register, complete a short intake form and submit a $500 deposit. You’ll also select whether you’d prefer to pay in 3 installments or pay in full (minus the deposit). If you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably a perfect fit for the program. But if I have any questions or concerns about your intake form, I’ll get in touch straight away. If you’re not a fit for the program, I’ll refund your deposit ASAP.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing a program like this is tricky! That’s my problem, not yours, of course. I tried to situate the pricing for this program between the higher-end (represented by similar programs at universities or through coaching associations) and the lower-end (represented by continuing education cultural studies courses). At this time, I don’t have the capacity for reduced tuition options—but will in the future.

How much time should I plan to spend on Work In Practice?

Plan to spend 90-minutes in our live session and at least 1 hour reading or listening to recommended resources per week. Plan to allot 2-3 hours to completing each case study or reflection, depending on your experience and speed of work.

Are there are any prerequisites or previous experience required?

No! You bring your own experience of work in the 21st-century economy, plus your experience coaching, managing, training, or guiding others. I’ll bring the rest—and point you in the right direction if there’s something you’re curious about that we don’t cover during the program.

You should have a copy of my book, What Works, which is available wherever you buy books. But you don’t have to have read it before we start.

What size will the group be?

No more than 15. No fewer than 8.

Will I need to participate in breakout groups?

No. I recognize that talking in small groups can be very valuable. But it can also be very anxiety-inducing for people like me. For this cohort, all discussions will be with the full group—with multiple ways to participate so you can find a way that works for you.

Where can I learn more about you or your teaching style?

You can read my writing or listen to my podcast. You can also check out my TEDx talk from 2021. And finally, check out this class and this class on CreativeLive (the intros to both classes are available to watch free).

Is this the same as the Work In Practice workshop you taught in January 2023?

No! They share some DNA, but they are very different beasts. What I learned teaching that (much smaller & shorter) workshop is that what I love most is engaging learners around this critical thinking and analysis so that they can create an impact on their clients or team members.

I don’t currently have plans to teach that workshop again.

I've got more questions. How can I get in touch?

The best way to ask additional questions is to request the syllabus and type your questions in when prompted!

Or email hello@explorewhatworks.com. My amazing email helper, Lorena, will either answer your question directly or pass it on to me. Either way, we’ll get back to you within 48 hours (except on weekends).

¹Source: American Psychological Association 2023 Work In America Survey

²Source: American Psychological Association 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey

³Source: Youth Misspent (2022) report by City & Guilds (UK)

4Source: Asana’s Anatomy of Work Index (2023)