Reflections on Hello Monday by Jessi Hempel
1. You don’t have to love your job.
Growing up, many of us were told to find something we loved to do. Now that we’re working, well, does anyone really love the daily grind all the time? “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert suggested that maybe you should stop trying so hard.
“You have your job that you go to to pay the bills,” she said. “A career is a job that you deeply care about...If you think you're in a career but you hate it and you're bored and it's killing you, quit it and just go get a job.”
2. Your intuition is one of your most powerful guides.
Former Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts came up in fashion, rising to become the CEO of Burberry. Then, she made an unexpected move, leaving the top job at a thriving company in London to move to California, switch industries, and take a job reporting to a CEO. She described a meeting with Tim Cook: “He was so calm and so deep. And just the way that he said it, he said, you know, you're supposed to be here,” Ahrendts remembers. And that was a language she understood: “I've always said, I start with my instincts first and then I want those facts to back it up. And then there's just nothing to stop it.”
3. Being generous with your time and ideas is critical to getting ahead in a more networked environment.
Wharton professor Adam Grant first made his name through a book encouraging generosity called Give and Take. We talked about why it’s more critical today than it was in the past to make time to help people out. “I think we're going to...move toward a world of work that's much more organized around projects,” Grant said. In the future, “there's no reason why we need to have a company as opposed to, kind of a professional guild,” he explains. In this model of the future, your ability to get interesting work will depend heavily on the relationships you’ve nurtured with people assigning it. “If [people] can't accumulate all of this status and protection and power inside of one organization, it's going to be harder than for the really successful or competent takers to stay where they are, and maintain their success. Because people are going to say, you know what, I'm not limited to collaborating with the people in my organization. I can go outside of it.”
4. One of the best ways to succeed is to be yourself.
This idea came up over and over throughout the season. It was the lesson Melinda Gates learned as a young executive at Microsoft. “ I started rising in the ranks and I could see how aggressive the culture was, you had to go into every meeting knowing all your facts, you know, standing up for your point of view, being willing to argue it at the table. I knew how to play that game. I could play that game. I did that game, but I didn't like myself very much,” she said. “And so what I decided to do was just try on being myself. I thought, ‘I'm going to just go in and be myself and if they don't like it they can take it or leave it cause I'll just leave that and go get another job.’”
5. If you’re lucky enough to hire talented people, you’ll get the most out of them by supporting their dreams and ambitions.
Late Night host Seth Meyers illustrated this in our discussion about his writing staff. “We want them to stick around, but we also want them to find a path to the next thing they do,” he said. He explained that the best writers had ambitions of their own. “We’re not upset when people leave if it's to go to something that elevates their career.”
This, in turn, helps Meyers and the show. Take the standup comedian Michelle Wolf. “We gave her her first job in television, which led to her next job in television, which was the Daily Show, which led to her own television show,” says Meyers. “Along the way, you know, she would reach back and say to us, hey, I need someone who will be good to run my show...you're constantly creating this sort of rolodex of talent.”
The kicker idea will be from Aminatou Sow: “when I think about my career journey, so far, all it is is, you know, it's just being resilient enough that you're open to change. I don't know that I'm going to be doing any of these things in five years, ten years, twenty years. Who knows? Who knows what work will look like. I just know that the things that have gotten me far so far are being a curious person who always follows a thread of what you want, being incredibly flexible about what I do, and also being really resilient.”