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Ways to Outsmart the Job Market

By Daria Istrate, Genentech-Roche Group Manager, CAL Coach, & Co-author of the “The Future of Work: How to Prepare for It”

Today’s cycle of innovation is shorter than ever before, and this increases the risk of disruption in any industry. With every great disruption there are winners and losers. With crises such as the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic, what does it mean to succeed in your career? Based on my own experiences, I argue that these four skills help you to survive and thrive.

Pursue Curiosity

One can learn so much through curiosity. Ask questions, lots of them! I sometimes preface my conversations and prep my audience with the statement “This may be a silly question, but I’m going to ask it anyway.” Then I ask a clarifying question that can be enlightening and spark a valuable discussion.

Another way is by reading and taking an interest in fields not directly related to your job. At first the benefits of this practice may not be obvious, but you will start connecting the dots and thinking in a more creative way, seeing the bigger picture, and seeking to understand more.

Engage in Continuous Learning

This is not easy to do. It requires trade-offs in time and focus, but once you commit to it, there are countless rewarding ways to expand your knowledge base. Continuous learning is another behavior with benefits that may not be obvious at first but pay tenfold in the long term, if it is pursued consistently

Build and Manage Networks

A lot has been written about the power of networks and supportive contacts. Building and maintaining a network of contacts is time-consuming and does not always come naturally, but it will yield a vital source of knowledge and opportunities. They include but are not limited to school, employer, professional, and gender/ethnicity-based networks.

Take Calculated Risks

Change is a constant, but it comes with a certain risk. It is important to mitigate the risk by not changing too many things at once. How we do this is to maintain a firm set of principles anchored in your past experiences. Continue to add to your toolbox of skills and knowledge, and at the same time keep taking calculated risks.

Together, these four practices add up to a successful career, ensuring that you don’t get stuck in a particular position, or with one employer, when you would be happier elsewhere.


This excerpt is from Daria Istrate’s chapter, “The Future Is Here: The Move Toward Work-From-Home and Other Flexible Policies,” from The Center for Asia Leadership’s Rethinking Asia 7 – The Future of Work: How To Prepare For It. To learn more, please visit https://asialeadership.org/publication/.

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