Start Your Career Path: Find The Right Job
To set up your professional life for success, it’s important to be deliberate about your career path. Product management is still a new discipline and there is not a clear way to advance your career. As a result, you need to stay on top of opportunities that emerge and have the conviction to act on them.
For example, I’m always surprised when people tell me “I wasn’t looking for something new” when they decide to leave a company. I understand that people make these statements in order to keep things positive. However, I always want to say, “I hope you were looking for something new.” You should always be thinking about your career path and making sure that you are moving forward.
To find the right job, you need to know what you are good at and you need to be really honest with yourself. To find the best job, I use a process that assesses job opportunities based on two criteria. The first factor is your personal strengths – the second is your ability to work in a specific company’s environment:
Does not leverage strengths + bad environment = WARNING
- There are big companies that may offer you a great role. However, if it doesn’t fit your skill set, it’s not worth pursuing. Furthermore, the work environment may not align with your preferences.
Leverages strengths + bad environment = CAUTION
- Your role may be perfect, but working in an uncomfortable environment can get old in a hurry. For example, if the company is losing money or the management team is not setting expectations for your team.
Does not leverage strengths + good environment = OPPORTUNITY
- This is an interesting scenario where you’re excited about the company’s mission. However, it’s a stretch goal in terms of your skillset. These are perfect places to be early in your career where you can learn a lot and push yourself to overachieve.
Leverages strengths + good environment = BINGO
- There’s no better place to be when your role perfectly matches your skills and the work environment is perfectly suited for your preferences.
This may seem easy, but it’s important to keep in mind that our strengths and needs will change over time.
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About the Video:
Speaker: Xiaodi Zhang
About the host
Andrea is the VP of Product and Engineering at One Kings Lane, a digital-first resource for making your home an expression of your personal style. She has spent over fifteen years in Product and Tech, and has led teams at startups and Fortune 500 companies, including Rent the Runway, Zappos, Time Warner, and Verizon. Andrea is passionate about solving hard (seemingly impossible) challenges, developing simple yet delightful products, building teams of entrepreneurial critical thinkers, and creating strategic outcomes with impact. She is a hands-on leader with a player/coach style, diving into the details with her team to partner, advise, and guide them to success.