A highlight from Dorie Clark on Reinventing You


Hello Monday, our show about the changing nature of work. And how that work is changing us. Okay, so quick question, don't overthink it. What's your plan B? What are you going to do if your job goes away? In your industry flat lines. Because this is definitely part of what's going on this year. Take media companies, I spend most of my career working for them. And I've been really crushed to watch so many of my friends and former colleagues really talented people get laid off. And it's got me thinking, as we prepare for this next big shift, maybe we just shouldn't be looking for a job like the one we have. Maybe it's time to look for something else. So how do you begin to do that? If anyone has a good answer to that question, it's my fun Dory Clark. Dory's a master at reinvention. She's actually written a book on it called me inventing you. She's written a couple of books, and she's a coach, and she teaches. She's taught recently the business school at Columbia and duke. Which is to say that she's qualified on paper, but I'm here to tell you she's also qualified in person, a couple years ago, I called her up for a drink when I needed advice on my own side hustle. Why Dori? Well, she's all action, tips, ideas, and she's always in your corner. That and she speaks from experience, Dory lost her job after 9 11. It really shook her. Here's Dory. It's something that has been on my mind for a long time. Honestly, because during one of the last great national calamities in 9 11, I lost my job as a newspaper reporter and was unemployed and was given four days of severance pay and suddenly had to support myself. So I really dove head first into the question of how do you deal with being laid off and losing your job in the midst of a truly terrible and frightening economic situation? So I definitely have a lot of thoughts and ideas to share. Wow. So as a journalist, I will say that every year that I have been in this profession, I have seen layoffs at the institutions I've worked for. And that is not targeting one institution. It's every institution. It is an industry that's deeply troubled. But 9 11, that's going back nearly 20 years. What was your life like, then what did you think you would do before that happened? Well, I think that somewhat analogous to our current situation, right now, if you are a journalist, let's say, it's not really a huge surprise when people get laid off because that's a thing that happens to journalists. But in 2001, it was a stunning and shocking thing that a journalist would be laid off because we forget it now, but the year 2000 was literally the best year all time in history for the print journalism industry. It was dripping in profits. It was so lucrative and then I totally remember that. Not to stop you. But I shortly after that period, but within a decade after that period, I went to work for fortune magazine, and they always talked about that trip to Hawaii for the entire editorial staff in the year 2000. And I was like, this is the life that I want. And that's what I thought I was signing up for, Jesse. I thought it would be all trips to Hawaii, and yet no. So I was really in the first wave of people that were laid off. And it had literally just never occurred to me that this could happen. I mean, first of all, it was my first job out of grad school. So I didn't know what was what, but I just never thought the journalism wouldn't be a secure industry. And I think for a lot of people who are experiencing a layoff now or who might feel that they are threatened with such a thing down the line, I mean, no one foresaw a pandemic like this. And so it's not like people have necessarily had a long time to think, oh gosh, I see all my friends around me being laid off. I should probably be cooking up a plan B for many people who are experiencing it today. It is coming like a bolt out of the blue and suddenly they have to deal with this very rapidly and very quickly. If you are in a place where you're needing to come up with something new or you suspect that you may in the future, how do you even start to think about what that means for you? Well, there's a couple of ways to think about it. So the first is about the urgency level, essentially. Because if you are in a position where you don't necessarily need to earn money tomorrow, but you think, oh, okay, this is a wake up call. I need to start planning for it. Then whenever there's a longer time horizon, you can be a little bit more thoughtful a little bit more deliberate. And you can start taking what I will call longer term steps that will position you better down the road. And so there's activities that you can do in that situation. Maybe it is starting a blog or a podcast or starting to write and create content on LinkedIn, something that can establish your expertise in your field, whether you want to continue in your current one or maybe you want to plan a longer term pivot and transition to another one. And those are great ways to get started and lay the groundwork. I want to jump in there and really hammer that home a second because this really is your superpower Dory. You are personally very, very good at it. One thing that I think is new about the time that we live in right now is that it used to be that if you were a journalist, as you began, and as I am, then it made sense for you to be writing on these platforms branding yourself as it were. But today, kind of anything that you want to do professionally, you're going to better position yourself for the future if you brand yourself through content. And I think that's really overwhelming for a lot of people. And a lot of people ask me, and so I would ask you, where do I begin? How do I know what is useless and spinning my wheels and what matters? I will second what you're saying. I think it really is important because ultimately, when you are creating content, we are putting something out into the world, that is the way that people who do not already know you personally can get a better sense of who you are as a person and what's powerful about that is it eliminates a large part of the risk that's involved in hiring you. And whenever you can do that, it is way better for your career. If you can make it less risky for people to pick you rather than someone else, that is a great thing. So one of the best ways that you can get started is literally to just make note of all of the questions that people ask you all the time. You're at a cocktail party. You're hanging out with people, and they have questions about your field, your industry, they want to know certain things. Maybe there's myths or misconceptions that bother you. You might have a contrarian opinion. You might say. No, location based interfaces are not the future of XYZ. Well, okay, tell us why, share your opinion. Put it out there. If you don't feel ready to start putting your own opinions out there, something that I tell people is a fantastic way to get started with training wheels is to interview other people. To reach out to colleagues or senior leaders or even somebody potentially who has a book out, I can guarantee that for many people, if you're not talking about world renowned level, almost anyone with a book wants to promote that book. And if you say, hey, can I interview you? Can I talk to you and write something about it, even if it's for your LinkedIn page, or if it's for something on a platform like medium where anyone can contribute, the odds are, they may well say yes, and it's a great way to help shine a light on someone that you admire and also begin to create content under your name and to hone your own thinking about professional development

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