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From right swipe to writing: How this Northeastern professor wrote a book with a fellow entrepreneur she met on a dating app

 Paula Caligiuri met Andy Palmer on Bumble and the pair realized their romantic connection wasn’t as strong as their professional one, so they wrote a book together about taking control of your career.

Paula Caligiuri posing with her book.
This book is a follow-up to one Paula Caligiuri, Northeastern distinguished professor of international business and strategy, previously wrote. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

What starts with a right swipe usually ends in a broken heart or romance. But Paula Caligiuri and Andy Palmer’s dating app encounter ended with a book.

Caligiuri, a distinguished professor of international business and strategy at Northeastern University, met Palmer, an entrepreneur, CEO and seed investor, on Bumble. The two dated for a bit (as those who meet on a dating app are wont to do), but realized they worked well together in a different respect. 

The two decided to shift their romantic partnership to a business one, resulting in a co-written book, “Live for a Living: How to Create Your Career Journey to Work Happier, Not Harder.” 

“When Andy and I met, he was curious, so he looked up all these books I had written, including ‘Get A Life: Integrate Your Career with Your Life Priorities,’” Caligiuri said, referencing a book she wrote in the aftermath of the 2008 recession. “He said ‘Paula, it’s a really good book, but you’re missing all those things. And so it was this (idea) that we should write a second edition.”

The two quickly found the working world had changed so much that they needed to write a new book instead. They not only wrote a new book but created online tools (including a ChatBot where users can “talk” to Caligiuri) and exercises that readers can use to help them figure out what they want from their career.

“We elevated it,” Caligiuri said. “We made it much more interactive. It’s really a labor of love.”

When Caligiuri wrote her original book, people’s careers were in a different place. The recession left many talented people without jobs. Today, we’re living the aftermath of a pandemic that impacted not only people’s employment, but made them think about their priorities in life and in work, Caligiuri said.

Much like with dating, people need goals when it comes to their careers and need to try different things to figure out what they like. This is the premise of “Live for a Living,” Caligiuri said. The book helps give readers the tools they need to figure out what they like in their work, set a career goal, and use information about what they like to meet that goal.

“There’s all this great information that happens from putting yourself out there,” Caligiuri said. “The thing that happens though is most people don’t use that information to propel them toward an ultimate goal. They use that information to complain or get frustrated. Rarely do they take this self-awareness and move forward to say ‘OK, now I’m going to redirect my career this way.’”

All too often, she added, it’s easy for people to get swept along in their career — taking a promotion just because it’s offered or recruited for a new job and taking it because it’s different. “Live for a Living” is designed to help readers figure out what they want from their career and make those choices for themselves.

“Many people get flattered when they get the promotion or they get flattered when a headhunter calls,” Caligiuri said. “Frankly, all that’s happening there is their talents are being recognized and managed by others as opposed to them saying ‘Here’s what I really want and here’s what I think I could do.’”

A photo of the book "Live for a Living".
Paula Caligiuri, Northeastern distinguished professor of international business and strategy, recently published “Live for a Living” with fellow entrepreneur Andy Palmer. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Caligiuri said the resulting book can benefit anyone from graduating students looking to plan out a big career or someone seeking out more harmony between their personal and professional priorities.

“Paula and I wrote ‘Live for a Living’ to broadly encourage people to take greater control of their work and their futures,” added Palmer, who founded Koa Labs, a seed fund for first-time entrepreneurs. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to see people from all walks of life starting to embrace the concepts in our book, building out their own self-managed, fulfilling career journeys and inspiring others.”