By John Worne

An important insight for Specialist-Generalists from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (among a great many others) is Eric Schmidt of Google’s advice that only one criterion matters when picking a job – fast growth. 

Sandberg writes:

‘When companies grow quickly, there are more things to do than people to do them. When companies grow more slowly or stop growing, there is less to do and too many people to not be doing them. Politics and stagnation set in, and everyone falters.’

Schmidt told Sandberg: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.” 

My time in mobile telecoms was like this in the 1990s. 

As Sandberg points out, not everyone has the opportunity or desire to work in an industry like high tech. But as she goes on to say: 

‘Within any field, there are jobs that have more potential for growth than others. Those in more established industries [or sectors] can look for the rocket ships within their companies [or institutions] – divisions or teams that are expanding.’ 

And in careers like teaching, medicine, universities and public services, the same approach is actively choosing to go where the demand is high, the growth is strong or the ‘people like you’ are fewer.

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