Thursday, March 06, 2014

How to get a job: from top Facebook executive

Great business story from the best-seller

Lean In

by Sheryl Sandberg

Ch. 4 (excerpt)

It's a Jungle Gym,
Not a Ladder

ABOUT A MONTH AFTER I joined Facebook, I got a call from Lori Goler, a highly regarded senior director of marketing at eBay. I knew Lori a bit socially, but she made it clear this was a business call and cut to the chase. "I want to apply to work with you at Facebook," she said. "So I thought about calling you and telling you all of the things I'm good at and all of the things I like to do. Then I figured that everyone was doing that. So instead, I want to ask you: What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?"

My jaw hit the floor. I had hired thousands of people over the previous decade and no one had ever said anything remotely like that. People usually focus on finding the right role for themselves, with the implication that their skills will help the company. Lori put Facebook's needs front and center. It was a killer approach. I responded, "Recruiting is my biggest problem. And, yes, you can solve it."

Lori never dreamed she would work in recruiting, but she jumped in. She even agreed to drop down a level, since this was a new field for her and she was willing to trade seniority for quiring new skills. Lori did a great job running recruiting .d within months was promoted to her current job, leading People@Facebook. When I asked her recently if she wanted to back to marketing someday, she responded that she believes human resources allows her to have a greater overall impact.

The most common metaphor for careers is a ladder, but this concept no longer applies to most workers. As of 2010, the average American had eleven jobs from the ages of eight to forty-six alone. This means that the days of joining an organization or corporation and staying there to climb that ladder are long gone. Lori often quotes Pattie Sellers, who conceived a much better metaphor: "Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder."

As Lori describes it, ladders are limiting—people can move or down, on or off. Jungle gyms offer more creative exploration. There's only one way to get to the top of a ladder, but there are many ways to get to the top of a jungle gym. The jungle gym model benefits everyone, but especially women who might be starting careers, switching careers, getting blocked external barriers, or reentering the workforce after taking time off. The ability to forge a unique path with occasional dips, detours, and even dead ends presents a better chance for fulfillment.  Plus, a jungle gym provides great views for many people, not just those at the top. On a ladder, most climbers are stuck staring at the butt of the person above.

A jungle gym scramble is the best description of my career.  Younger colleagues and students frequently ask me how I planned my path. When I tell them that I didn't, they usually act with surprise followed by relief They seem encouraged know that careers do not need to be mapped out from the start. This is especially comforting in a tough market where job seekers often have to accept what is available and hope that points in a desirable direction. We all want a job or role that..................


Terrific words of wisdom, much more such in this 200 page volume.  Well worth the read.