Today I talked to Gorick Ng about his new book The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right (HBR, 2021).
This book takes you through one’s career, from getting hired and oriented to trying to gain promotions. The interview follows a similar path, emphasizing how to get along with colleagues and one’s boss most of all. The “north star” of Ng’s advice gleaned from interviewing 500 people across professions and roles is to demonstrate competence (ability), commitment (excitement) and compatibility (pleasant to be around). Get the 3-C’s model right, and you can avoid coming across as too overbearing or threatening as you form work connections, figure out what’s missing and needs to be addressed in a meeting, and how to resolve conflicts. Speaking of conflicts, is a conflict deep down mostly about the people involved, the position one holds, or is it about the place? If the latter, then maybe it’s time to move on to another organization instead.
Gorick Ng is a career adviser at Harvard College, specializing in coaching first-generation, low-income students. He’s also managed new employees at Boston Consulting Group and worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse. His work has been featured on “The Today Show,” and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. Every Harvard Business School student received a copy of Ng’s book this past year to aid their careers.