Column: CEO Learnings
A book review of The Unspoken Rules, by Harvard career advisor Gorick Ng— If you are a recent graduate or an early professional looking to make a splash in your career, then The Unspoken Rules: The Secret to Starting Your Career Off Right, by Gorick Ng is a book that you definitely need to read. As a Harvard grad and former career advisor at the prestigious university, Ng is uniquely qualified to help guide new professionals in the right direction.
Ng draws from his personal experience as a first-generation, low-income student to offer practical advice on how to succeed in the workplace. He had to learn the hard way, without the guidance of mentors or a well-connected family. Ng had to gain the vocabulary needed to navigate the professional world by trial and error. He learned that IQ, EQ and guts were what differentiated the high performers from low performers.
He has been named as one of TIME magazine’s “Top 25 future leaders,” and his coaching of first-generation, low-income students at Harvard shows that he has a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by young professionals from under-represented backgrounds.
One of the key takeaways from the book is that if these unspoken rules are ignored, it could cost you thousands of dollars in income, frustrate your advancement, limit your search for financial independence and success.
School is often seen as a conveyor belt that takes you from one level to the next, but work is different. Paths are many, and choices are not always clear. This book provides a roadmap for those who need guidance in navigating the world of work.
The three Cs, mindset and showing up
Ng highlights the three Cs that are critical to success in the workplace: Competence, Commitment, and Compatibility.
He explains that being competent is not enough; you also need to be committed to your work and compatible with your colleagues and company culture. He provides practical advice on how to demonstrate these qualities and improve your chances of success.
The Unspoken Rules also includes secrets to getting started in your career, such as having a mindset oriented towards opportunity and showing up like a performer. Ng emphasizes the importance of shaping other people’s perceptions of you, taking ownership of your work, and learning to read people in order to get along with everyone.
The book provides guidance on how to get ahead in your career, including mastering meetings, managing feedback, showing your potential in everything you do, and positioning yourself for promotion. Ng stresses the importance of learning from others and asking for help, as well as finding someone who can help pull you up.
Not just for job seekers
In addition to providing useful advice to early professionals, The Unspoken Rules is also a valuable resource for managers who need to understand how to engage young employees. The book clarifies some of the most common early career blunders and provides insight into how to impress your boss when working remotely.
One of the most important themes in the book is the importance of building trust, which is key to advancement in the workplace. Ng emphasizes the need to be reliable, keep promises, and demonstrate integrity in order to earn the trust of colleagues and supervisors.
Overall, The Unspoken Rules is an excellent resource for young professionals who are just starting out in their careers. Based on 500 Plus interviews with professionals across geographies, industries and job types, it provides practical advice on how to navigate the unspoken rules of the workplace and achieve success. The book is particularly valuable for those who come from under-represented backgrounds and have not had access to mentors, but it is also useful for anyone who wants to improve their chances of success in the competitive world of work.
Whether you’re looking for guidance on getting started in your career, building trust with colleagues and supervisors, or positioning yourself for promotion, The Unspoken Rules has something to offer.
You can listen to Gorick and me discussing the “Unspoken Rules” in an episode of THE MENTORS RADIO.com which was broadcast worldwide on the Salem Radio Network and IHeartRadio. It is now available on all podcast platforms or by going to our website and searching in the “Index of Shows,” using the keywords “Gorick Ng”.
- The Unspoken RulesL Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right ‚ by Gorick Ng, Harvard Career Advisor
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