Jenny Blake

Former Google Career Coach Jenny Blake Says Career Conversations Are a Two-Way Street [Book Excerpt]

Career Conversations are a Two-Way Street

The following is excerpted from “Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One” by Jenny Blake, in agreement with Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Jenny Blake, 2016.

“Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One” is available now wherever books are sold. 

No matter how much managers take increased responsibility for initiating these career conversations, they are still a two-way street, and should be owned by individuals. Impactors know themselves best, and shouldn’t expect others to read their mind or wait to be asked.

“I do believe it is part of the manager’s responsibility to support career development, because it means you have a more engaged, productive, happy employee who is thinking of solutions and ways to solve problems all the time, not just in the office,” Ronnie Mae at MIT says. “But it is equally important for every one of us to be looking at our career and going after what we need. Both asking our managers for that, and asking other people in the organization.”

Jennifer Grayeb suggests that individuals ask their managers about their personal career journey, and the choices they had to make along the way. She also says one of the biggest lessons for younger impactors is balancing their desire for stretch projects and meaningful work with rolling up their sleeves and getting things done. If impactors want to create a growth culture, they should also take the lead in helping others. “For every opportunity you get, help open a door for someone else.”

Laura Grose, HR business partner at one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing startups, advocates that impactors keep a realistic and patient view of what roles may be available. She found that many impactors who enjoy the building phase may feel limited when their roles require more process and maintenance. “In high-growth startups, it’s common for early employees to wear many hats. But sometimes it takes a different person and more specialization as the company matures. Rock stars at doing everything in the beginning may find themselves less interested over time,” Laura said. “Sometimes your company goes through a growth spurt or a decline and it is no longer the right fit for your skills. You might need to figure out at what stage you add the most value and start seeking out those opportunities.”

Laura says that when impactors get impatient about getting promoted quickly, they should remember: “The question is not only about are you ready, but is the job available to you? There is only one CEO.”

One of the most untapped tools for pivoters is proposing a business case for why they would be valuable somewhere else within the company. “You don’t always have to go up, you can go across,” Laura said. “Make your case: I have knowledge A, if I apply that to business B, here is how I can transfer my skills to add enormous value. It is one of the least known and most effective ways to get new opportunities within an organization.”

“Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One” is available now wherever books are sold. 

Previous Article
New year's resolutions

7 New Year’s Resolutions to Be More Entrepreneurial in 2017

Next Article
Start a movement

It’s Time To Start A Movement

Related Posts
Read More

How To Make Your Startup Bankable

You’ve probably heard it countless times: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While it’s always a great idea to think about your long-term personal goals, this adage is even more applicable if you’re venturing into entrepreneurship. Smart planning can go a long way in making your startup bankable. The U.S. Bureau of...
wjr business beat
Read More

WJR Business Beat: Shopify Jump-Starts Starting A Business (Episode 328)

On today's Business Beat, Jeff talks about Shopify, a one-stop shop of resources for people who want to start a business. Tune in to the Business Beat, below, to learn how this subscription-based software can help you set up an online store and sell your products.   Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday...
top Detroit startups
Read More

Top Detroit Startups and Tech Companies to Watch in 2022

Michigan is now the state with the highest growth in VC investment. Now many Detroit startups are on the fast track to growth. Whether it’s new funding, expansions or IPOs, it’s been an eventful year in Detroit startups. Next year is looking even better. Here are the top Detroit startups and tech companies to watch in...
startup success
Read More

How to Achieve Startup Success from Day 1

The decision to take the leap into starting your own business is never an easy one, regardless of your experience or industry. But as venture capital (VC) firms grow, with the average seed deal growing from $1.7 million to $4.6 million in the last decade, more and more people are breaking into the startup ecosystem....