I read alot of career advice on a weekly basis. While much of it comes with good intentions, the delivery and impact isn’t always in alignment, which is why when I write I try to provide thoughts and ideas that are novel and actionable (but please keep me honest if I am not) Fortunately, I came across a piece this week from First Round Review that has some excellent career insights that everyone can learn from (Pro Tip, if you aren’t reading First Round Review, I encourage you to do so right away. While the content is mostly tech-focused, anyone can learn from it, especially the tips and tricks around management and careers)
This week’s thoughtful insights come from Frederique Dame, a former Product Leader at Uber. Frederique had some great ideas about career advice, all of which have helped her achieve her own success. Some of those nuggets include
- Make Your Own Safety Net – You’ll be fine if it doesn’t work out. Truly, you will. Most career decisions won’t end with you 0 dollars in your name and on the street, so it will truly be fine.
- Be Elegant – Be deliberate, respond gracefully, take things lightly, to move through the world with positive purpose
- Let go of status – Titles are your Enemy.
- Your Network is your Net Worth – If you struggle with networking, think about empathy, the long-term, and being selfless
While these nuggets (and others) were really thoughtful and insightful, the one the stuck out the most was her thoughts on how to pick a job. She says “I’m convinced that the primary reason to take a role is to work with a great manager and a great team. Together, they determine nearly all of your happiness on the job. “
I couldn’t agree more with that statement. The challenge and opportunity of consulting is that you’re constantly changing teams and thus people and managers. You’re always faced with tough decisions on which assignments to take, so the only way to really pick what you want is to develop criteria to guide your decision making. I was told early on, to pick people, not projects, and that mantra has helped me work towards my main career objectives of doing engaging work, learning and developing, and making a positive impact for others. However, even if my career objectives were different, I’m confident that by surrounding myself with a good manager and good team, I’d still be able to achieve them. So when I have to pick new projects, or, when people ask me for advice about a job, I always ask them what is the work you want to do, and who do you want to do the work with?
As Frederique alludes to, it can be easy to get caught up in the coolness of a company, the sexiness of a role or the financial bearings of a particular job. And having at some point had all of those, I can tell you that in of themselves, coolness, sexiness or financial gain are not entirely fulfilling. However, what is fulfilling is working for and with great people. So when you’re thinking about taking that next project or job, think about the people that come with it.