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The best career advisers know our plans aren’t built to last
February 23, 2020 | | Financial Times | by Pilita Clark.

* Voices of Guinness. by Tim Strangleman.
* Motherwell by Deborah Orr.

Too much career advice still assumes it is possible to control working lives in an age of remorseless downsizing and gig economics. In an odd sense, the history of the word “career” almost predicted this. The idea of a career is so entrenched it is hard to remember it is a relatively recent concept. When the word appeared in English in the 16th century it meant gallop or race, as in careering about.

It was not until the 19th century that it began to be widely used to mean progress in some sort of vocation. That century ushered in large employers, such as railway companies, that needed a knowledgeable and stable workforce, says sociology professor Tim Strangleman.

Employees were therefore lured with the promise of a decent pension and steady promotions in a job for life, all distant memories for the workers Mr Strangleman interviewed for his latest book, Voices of Guinness.....the entirely understandable fact that the more chaotic the career landscape, the more we seek help to navigate it. ......the answer to career uncertainty is to do what people have always done: try to be paid to do something you like and then just muddle along.

Also, read books like the recently published memoir, Motherwell, by the late journalist Deborah Orr.
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As an employer (I own half the company) it's very difficult. Our longest standing employee will probably be the first to go if we need to go there. They are great when we have work, but not dynamic enough to keep if work dries up. Its the people who keep suggesting the new ideas and appear out of nowhere with 'above and beyond' type stuff that we have to keep. I think that's a good lesson for all of us, myself included.
advice  books  career_paths  downsizing  ideas  letters_to_the_editor  Managing_Your_Career 
4 days ago by jerryking
Opinion | The Surprising Path That Some Kids Take to the Ivy League
Aug. 24, 2019 | The New York Times | By Frank Bruni.

Overcoming life’s basic truth: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.
career_paths  Colleges_&_Universities  Frank_Bruni  Ivy_League  nonprofit  philanthropy  resilience  strivers  unevenly_distributed  Zimbabwe 
august 2019 by jerryking
What if you’re not chosen for a ‘hi-po’ programme?
AUGUST 10, 2019 | Financial Times | Elizabeth Uviebinené.

Organisations naturally need to have a leadership pipeline through which they identify, develop and promote high potential (hi-po) employees who can lead the company in the future. However, given that most will not be selected, it is inevitable that some talented individuals will feel overlooked.

Organisations devote significant resources to these “chosen few”. They give a few individuals privileged access to training, exposure to decision makers and mentorship, all of which helps propel them towards the coveted top spot..... such programmes are invitation only. But how to get invited on to them is usually a closely guarded secret. Sometimes it is a formal process, but at other times it is at the discretion of senior management....So what happens when you are not chosen for a “fast track” programme? It is easy to start questioning your capabilities and even aspirations. It can be a motivation killer at first, leaving you feeling undervalued.....Harvard Business Review data suggests companies are bad at correctly identifying high-potential employees....The best organisations build a culture that nurtures high-potential individuals whether or not there is a formal talent development programme in place. This is especially true for women and minorities in the workplace who remain under-represented at every level in the corporate talent pipeline....New research from Northwestern University in the US suggests that early career hurdles actually help spur future success. The study showed that experiencing setbacks at the start of a career has a powerful and opposing effect: “Individuals with near misses systematically outperformed those with near wins in the long run.”

Early success does not always predict future success. Longer term, what you do when faced with disappointment usually determines whether or not you have what it takes to have a successful career....If you just missed out on a talent development programme, do not be disheartened. It leaves open the possibility of proving yourself on your own terms, rather than getting boxed into one company’s view of what leadership looks like.
career_paths  fast_track  HBR  high-achieving  invitation-only  leadership  leadership_development  Managing_Your_Career  mentoring  middle_management  movingonup  selection_processes  strivers  talent  talent_management  talent_pipelines  talent_spotting  talent_scouting  training  up-and-comers 
august 2019 by jerryking
Why Companies Are Failing at Reskilling
April 19, 2019 | WSJ | By Lauren Weber.

Investing in new technology can often be easier for companies than negotiating the organizational challenges that come with reskilling workers, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT.

“It’s one thing to invest in machine learning; it’s another to reinvent an organization or a business model,” he said. “Human capital is quantitatively a much bigger share of the capital in the economy than physical assets like plants, technology and equipment, and we understand it less well.”

Cumulatively, firms spend billions of dollars every year on technology devoted to digital transformation, but executives admit to confusion and uncertainty about the impact.....Other countries are being more proactive: Singapore and France recently started giving workers an annual allowance for approved career training. Through a program called Second Career in Ontario, Canada, low-skilled workers displaced from their jobs receive grants of up to 28,000 Canadian dollars to cover training in growing occupations, along with costs such as child care and transportation.

“Many countries we compete with see continual worker retraining as part of their economic strategy. The way we’ve traditionally treated education in this country is the government is responsible for your education until age 18, and after that it’s more of a private matter,”......How to break through the challenges, inefficiencies and resistance?.....employers and educators can do a better job of helping people find logical, reasonable career paths. Labor experts call this “skill adjacencies,” essentially diagnosing a person’s present skills and identifying promising careers that offer higher wages or growth in demand while requiring minimal investments of time and money in retraining.

“We need a Waze for your career,” ... the navigation app that offers real-time maps and driving directions. “You could look at jobs that are adjacent to your skillset or role, and with fairly light training, you can make a jump into a better job.”

The secret to successful reskilling, he says: keeping training short enough and achievable enough that workers can learn real skills and both they and employers get a return on investment.

Training Daze
Companies face a number of hurdles to successfully training workers for the skills needed in the evolving digital economy. Among the challenges:

* Data: Companies typically don’t have a clear view of their own employees’ talents. Few firms have repositories of data on a person’s skills, internal reputation, learning capacity, ambitions and interests.
* Speed: Converting a mechanical engineer into an electrical engineer, or a business analyst into a data scientist doesn’t necessarily happen in one quarter— or even a fiscal year—the cadences that shareholders understand. “Upskilling takes time. A hiring manager can usually find someone quicker outside the company,” even if it’s a more expensive contract worker.
* Worker engagement: If companies involved workers in decisions on new technology to implement, they would find that some already have the knowledge and others can be trained. “If we change that process, then we would see the potential of the workforce. We would see where the training needs are,”.
* Money: Employers have long shown a reluctance to invest the dollars needed to successfully retrain large swaths of staff, even when the economy is strong. In 2017, organizations spent around $1,300 per employee on training, up 8% from 2013, according to the Association for Talent Development. And as the economy declines, training budgets are typically slashed. One paper found a 28% decline in employer-funded training between 2001 and 2009.
* Unrealistic expectations: Society needs to recalibrate expectations for worker retraining. Laid-off coal miners probably won’t become data scientists, and few AT&T lineworkers will morph into software developers as the company transitions from a telephone company to a wireless and services business.
adjacencies  career_paths  digital_economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  future-proofing  labour_markets  layoffs  retraining  reskilling  skills  training 
april 2019 by jerryking
Using Digital Tools to Move a Candy Company Into the Future - The New York Times
As told to Patricia R. Olsen
Sept. 21, 2018

explore the ways in which we can take advantage of new technologies and tools, such as artificial intelligence; how we should experiment; and whether we are even looking at the right problems. Mars is based in McLean, Va.,...... Part of my work involves prototyping, such as growing peanut plants in a fish tank using digital automation — without human intervention. To do this, I worked with a few colleagues in Mount Olive, N.J., a unit that I’m part of, though I don’t work there all the time. We implemented an automated watering and fertilizing schedule to see how the plants would grow.

We don’t only produce candy. We also offer pet care expertise and produce pet food and human food, like Uncle Ben’s Rice. With the peanut plants, we wanted to see if we could learn anything for partnering with our farmers, everything from how we might use technology to how a team comes together and tries different ideas.
career_paths  digital_strategies  Mars  women  CPG  confectionery_industry  artificial_intelligence  experimentation  howto  pets  problem_framing  problem_definition  prototyping  future  automation  human_intervention  worthwhile_problems 
september 2018 by jerryking
Opinion | Robert E. Rubin: Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government - The New York Times
By Robert E. Rubin

Mr. Rubin was secretary of the Treasury from 1995 to 1999.

April 30, 2018

Raphael Demos. Professor Demos, an authority on Greek philosophy, was Harvard’s Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy and Civil Policy. But to me, when I took a class with him my sophomore year, he was a genial little man with white hair and an exceptional talent for engaging students from the lecture hall stage, using an overturned wastebasket as his lectern. Professor Demos would use Plato and other great philosophers to demonstrate that proving any proposition to be true in the final and ultimate sense was impossible. His approach to critical thinking planted a seed in me that grew during my years at Harvard and throughout my life. The approach appealed to what was probably my natural but latent tendency toward questioning and skepticism.

I concluded that you can’t prove anything in absolute terms, from which I extrapolated that all significant decisions are about probabilities. Internalizing the core tenet of Professor Demos’s teaching — weighing risk and analyzing odds and trade-offs — was central to everything I did professionally in the decades ahead in finance and government.......Demos crystallized for me the power of critical thinking: asking questions, recognizing that there are no provable certainties and analyzing the probabilities. And that, coupled with my coffeehouse lessons, was the best preparation one could have — not just for a career but also for life.
Robert_Rubin  Colleges_&_Universities  Harvard  philosophers  philosophy  Plato  Wall_Street  Goldman_Sachs  career_paths  advice  life_skills  probabilities  decision_making  critical_thinking  U.S.Treasury_Department  Greek  tradeoffs 
may 2018 by jerryking
Millennials shouldn’t treat their careers like lottery tickets - The Globe and Mail
MARCH 20, 2018 | THE GLOBE AND MAIL | by BRAM BELZBERG.

If you're in your early 20s and just starting your career, you probably shouldn't take a job with a start-up.....joining a startup is attractive. They can be exciting, and the pay can be pretty good. A small percentage of people will pick the right opportunity, collect stock options, and become millionaires before they're 30. It's like winning the lottery.

But, like the real lottery, most people don't win, and they end up worse off than they were before....The majority of startups are going to go bust.....Large companies – such as banks and consulting firms and established tech outfits – understand how to bring along new graduates. They've been developing the best way to do so for decades. They have full-time employees who only think about developing young staff into future managers. Their programs work. They teach you important skills, they teach you how the professional world operates, and they teach you how to network. It takes a lot of time, energy, and focus to create these programs.....Generally, successful startups need three things: a great idea, a reliable funding network, and strong leadership. Most startups don't have a full management team, and the managers they do have probably won't have time to mentor you. You also won't be building a network of peers who can help finance your startup one day. If you have a great idea, it will still be there when you've learned how to develop it into a business. If you really want to get the experience of working at a startup, do it when you've developed your career and built a safety net in case it fails....Work hard, put in your time, and achieve your goals. But there aren't any shortcuts in building a career. When you're ready to move on from your first job, you should have a clear idea of what you want to do next, with a foundation of skills and experience in place. You don't want to be left holding only a losing lottery ticket.
millennials  Managing_Your_Career  Jason_Isaacs  career_paths  start_ups  large_companies  advice  new_graduates  high-risk 
march 2018 by jerryking
How to Be a C.E.O., From a Decade’s Worth of Them
T OCT. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | Corner Office By ADAM BRYAN.

It started with a simple idea: What if I sat down with chief executives, and never asked them about their companies?.....not about pivoting, scaling or moving to the cloud, but how they lead their employees, how they hire, and the life advice they give or wish they had received....C.E.O.s offer a rare vantage point for spotting patterns about management, leadership and human behavior....What's the best path to becoming a chief executive? No one path... too many variables, many of them beyond your control, including luck, timing and personal chemistry. Bryan cites three recurring themes.

First, they share a habit of mind that is best described as “applied curiosity.”...They make the most of whatever path they’re on, wringing lessons from all their experiences.
Second, C.E.O.s seem to love a challenge. Discomfort is their comfort zone.
The third theme is how they managed their own careers on their way to the top. They focus on doing their current job well, and that earns them promotions... focus on building a track record of success, and people will keep betting on you.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part I - understand that leadership as a series of paradoxes.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part II - the most important qualities of effective leadership? trustworthiness, “If you want to lead others, you’ve got to have their trust, and you can’t have their trust without integrity,” A close cousin of trustworthiness is how much you respect the people who work for you....“By definition if there’s leadership, it means there are followers, and you’re only as good as the followers,” he said. “I believe the quality of the followers is in direct correlation to the respect you hold them in. It’s not how much they respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.”
‘Culture Is Almost Like a Religion’ - “No matter what people say about culture, it’s all tied to who gets promoted, who gets raises and who gets fired,” he said. “You can have your stated culture, but the real culture is defined by compensation, promotions and terminations. Basically, people seeing who succeeds and fails in the company defines culture. The people who succeed become role models for what’s valued in the organization, and that defines culture.”
Men vs. Women (Sigh) - distinctions in leadership style are less about gender and more about factors like whether they are introverts or extroverts, more analytical or creative, and even whether they grew up in a large or small family....the actual work of leadership? It’s the same, regardless of whether a man or a woman is in charge. You have to set a vision, build cultural guardrails, foster a sense of teamwork, and make tough calls. All of that requires balancing the endless paradoxes of leadership, and doing it in a way that inspires trust.
I Have Just One Question for You - If you could ask somebody only one question, and you had to decide on the spot whether to hire them based on their answer, what would it be?.....“So if I ask you, ‘What are the qualities you like least and most in your parents?’ you might bristle at that, or you might be very curious about it, or you’ll just literally open up to me. And obviously if you bristle at that, it’s too vulnerable an environment for you.”
My Favorite Story -..... It’s work ethic,” he said. “You could see the guy had charted a path for himself to make it work with the situation he had. He didn’t ask for any help. He wasn’t victimized by the thing. He just said, ‘That’s my dad’s business, and I work there.’ Confident. Proud.”

Mr. Green added: “You sacrifice and you’re a victim, or you sacrifice because it’s the right thing to do and you have pride in it. Huge difference. Simple thing. Huge difference.”

Best Career and Life Advice - biggest career inflection points, he told me, came from chance meetings, giving rise to his advice: “Play in traffic.”

“It means that if you go push yourself out there and you see people and do things and participate and get involved, something happens,” he said. “Both of my great occasions in life happened by accident simply because I showed up.”“I tell people, just show up, get in the game, go play in traffic,” Mr. Plumeri said. “Something good will come of it, but you’ve got to show up.”....from Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University. Her suggestion to students:

“They should never assume that they can predict what experiences will teach them the most about what they value, or about what their life should be,” she said. “You have to be open and alert at every turn to the possibility that you’re about to learn the most important lesson of your life.”
howto  human_behavior  CEOs  career_paths  Managing_Your_Career  curiosity  discomforts  values  hard_work  trustworthiness  paradoxes  pairs  organizational_culture  gender_gap  work_ethic  playing_in_traffic  compensation  rewards  beyond_one's_control  guardrails  inflection_points 
october 2017 by jerryking
What’s Next for Comey? Probably Not ‘a Normal Job’ - The New York Times
By MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN and ALEXANDRA STEVENSON MAY 13, 2017

Few can boast of a résumé like James B. Comey’s: top federal prosecutor, chief lawyer for both the world’s largest defense contractor and the world’s biggest hedge fund, and most recently director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

There’s just one problem: He was fired by President Trump, who has called him a “showboat” and a “grandstander.”

So where does Mr. Comey go next?...If Mr. Comey writes a book, he will not be the first F.B.I. director to do so. [Louis Freeh did 8 yrs ago]
......Mr. Comey might not be a candidate to lobby the current administration, his experience with financial crime and cybersecurity would appeal to most Wall Street firms and corporations, recruitment executives said.....“He is so high profile now that just a normal job is way beneath him,” said Jason Wachtel, a managing partner at JW Michaels & Company, a recruitment firm that specializes in placing lawyers at hedge funds and private equity firms. “Most of the hedge funds aren’t going to be big enough for him.”....A big law firm is another possibility.....Most law firms would see Mr. Comey as a big get, said Allan Ripp, a public relations consultant for law firms.

“From a sheer branding perspective, he would be a great hire — even if you bring him in as a counsel and not a partner,” .......In the near term, teaching is also an option. Mr. Comey briefly held a senior research post at Columbia Law School after leaving Bridgewater in January 2013.

Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia law professor and friend of Mr. Comey’s, who helped woo him to Columbia in 2013, said the former F.B.I. director “would be welcomed back, and he knows it.”
FBI  career_paths  executive_search  James_Comey  firings  financial_crimes  cyber_security 
may 2017 by jerryking

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