Episode 87: How to have a squiggly career

Episode 87: How to have a squiggly career

Secrets of the serial switcheroo

This podcast will:

  • Reveal the concept of the squiggly career and how to have one
  • Explode the myth of the make-or-break career decision
  • Show why employers are embracing pivots and internal mobility
Podcast transcript

Sophie Peterson  00:03

Welcome to the CIM Marketing Podcast. The contents and views expressed by individuals in the CIM Marketing Podcast are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the companies they work for. We hope you enjoy the episode.


Ben Walker  00:19

Hello, everybody, and welcome to this CIM Marketing Podcast. And you know, when I was at school, I had to fill in a questionnaire about careers. And I filled in this questionnaire and it told me that I would be a architect. That would be my future role and architect. And since that point, I have sold shoes, from stilettos to cowboy boots, I've sold fish briefly door to door. I've worked in an unemployment office, and for the last 20 odd years or so, I've been a journalist, which shows that careers can be odd and crazy things and they can also be squiggly. And we have an expert with us today about the squiggly career. In fact, she's got a new book out called the Squiggly Career and this is Miss Sarah Ellis, who is founder of Amazing If delighted to have you on the show to talk about what to think is a very compelling topic. Sarah, how are you?


Sarah Ellis  01:17

I'm very good. Thank you. Thank you for inviting me to talk to you today about Squiggly Careers and selling fish and stilettos, what a combination.


Ben Walker  01:24

Not at the same time, you know, the same time I never, I never tend to do it. At the same time, maybe I missed a drink their Kool Aid, then you tell us apart from my slightly facile example, what is meant by a squiggly career?


Sarah Ellis  01:39

When I think so often, when we think of career, the image that springs to mind is something that looks like a career ladder, everyone thinks the job to do is to climb the ladder. And that defines how successful I am. And it's about following in other people's footsteps, and we should all want the same thing at the same time. And we really want to encourage people to let go of the ladder as a useful framework for a successful career. It was it's about 100 years old. Now, it doesn't reflect people's experiences or their aspirations. Because we all know now careers are full of opportunity and obstacles. They're full of choices and challenges. And there was a brilliant quote from the World Economic Forum recently where they said, we used to go to work to learn to do a job. And now learning is the job. And on average, we will have five to six. And that's probably a conservative estimate careers, so not jobs careers, during our working life, the idea of retirement is rapidly changing. So we're probably all going to be working in different ways. And for longer. And also this idea of early in your career, you have to make a choice. And then you must stick to that. And that's sort of it forever. Whenever you talk to anybody about their career, everyone's career and reality is squiggly. Everybody has knotty moments, there's definitely no such thing as a straight line to success. And careers are also really personal. So what matters to you, and what's really meaningful for you, Ben, so you and your career will be really different to me, will be really different for all of our listeners today. So we really want to support people with very practical skills, so that you can feel like you're drawing your own squiggle. Essentially, you're not following a formula or doing what other people think you should do, or even what you might think you should do. You're really deciding you're really active about your career, which is worth doing, because we all spend so long at work, right?


Ben Walker  03:40

We do. We don't I love this. I love this concept straight away. The first thing you said near enough was let go the ladder. What a brilliant mantra that is let go of a ladder. We have been taught about career ladders, we hear it all the time. And when we you're saying it's outdated, it's an anachronism. To have this idea of a ladder, we have five to six careers typically in our lives, and nor do we retire and in the same way that we wants to don't want my aim is actually not to fully retire actually, to do things that interests me, which is things like this, but maybe do fewer of them and less of them or do them in a different way. And I think that's common to many people. Draw your own squiggle. You're saying draw your own squiggle. I mean, it's a wonderful concept is a liberating concept. Is it a concept that employers and industry share?


Sarah Ellis  04:27

It is now. But I say now. So when we first started talking about squiggly careers back in 2013, individuals got it really quickly. So when we were first running workshops, everybody straight away when Yeah, you're right, we should let go of the ladder. Then we talk to companies and they weren't quite so sure. Companies have lots of layers, lots of hierarchy. And also they've been legacy of the ladder is very present in lots of organisations. So you know, we get asked in interviews, what Do you see yourself in five years time? What's your next step? All those things that take us back to the ladder? Because step we think, or we must take a step up. Otherwise we're failing. Who can have a five year plan that is actually realistic and useful? Nobody? I'd get rid of that interview question if I could. And so initially, I think organisations were still grappling with having to unlearn something that has been around for a long time, and relearn and basically rewire how they thought about career progression. But now I would say organisations of all shapes and sizes, really embrace with a careers, we don't sell it. I don't feel like I sell squiggly careers to organisations, what we sell is, we really want to upskill people with the right skills to succeed in those squiggly careers. And there's maybe some hard changes that aren't going to happen overnight. But I don't spend much time convincing people anymore, that squiggly careers are a thing.


Ben Walker  05:51

 It's interesting, isn't it? I love your example about the five year plan. Question. I hate that question.


Sarah Ellis  05:55

I hate that question.


Ben Walker  05:56

I hate it when I'm told I have to ask it. And I hate having to answer it. If I'm being interviewed. I think it's a nonsense, because the only rational answer to that is well, it depends on the opportunities that present themselves along the way, how could anybody know what's going to happen in one year or two years, or less than five, five years? So opportunity?


Sarah Ellis  06:13

And that you just said that opportunity is a really good word. We often talk about like squiggly swaps what's better? So if we're going to let go of plans and destinations and titles like, okay, you've got to have an instead. So what should I use instead? And I think possibilities, opportunities, options, titles, over letting go of titles, and instead of replacing them with talents, so really starting with skills and strengths, we are seeing a massive move in organisations, like starting with people skills and strengths. And I think that is encouraging, because that's much more, you know, we can transfer our talents, you can squiggle and stay in your organisation. It shares much more about who you are and what you've got to give. If I just know your title, I only know a really small slice of who you are and what you do. And now titles are so wide ranging, you have no idea what anyone does. But actually, if you start to talk to me about what are your strengths? And how can you be most useful? How can you stretch those strengths to make them even stronger? Those sorts of questions are much more useful for individuals. But organisations are really on board. I think with that sort of thinking.


Ben Walker  07:19

I mean, I think this is great, isn't it? Because we talked about the pivot nowadays, that's a new concept isn't it's part of a squiggly, squigglyness, I think is a pivot, it's this, we are trying to get rid of the idea. And thank God, we're trying to get rid of the idea that if you want to take a change of direction, you necessarily have to change company. I mean, what a what a crazy art concept. That is it's no good for the employee, and it's no good for the employer. This idea that if you want to take a change of direction, you have to leave your employer. We talked about the pivot. So if we focus on strengths and opportunities rather than job roles and job titles, we're immediately making ourselves more squiggly.


Sarah Ellis  07:55

Yeah and I did it in Sainsbury's. So I worked in marketing, and then I moved in Sainsbury's to be head of corporate responsibility and sustainability. And I had zero knowledge of that area. So I had never worked in that area before. So all I had was, how do I transfer the talents that I've already got? And then how do I learn about those things and the gaps that I've got and the things that I need to know. And I think what I really saw from doing that kind of firsthand for myself is a few things need to be in place to make that work to make that successful, you need a supportive leader. And at that time, I think I was probably quite a big risk, you know, some will take quite a bit risk on me. But I think she could see through the you must tick every box on this job description. And most job descriptions, let's face it, our wish lists, not job descriptions. And so I think she sort of saw past that. And I think she saw what I could bring, and the fact that I would bring fresh eyes and difference and my leadership skills and some of my creative skills, how that would all be useful kind of in the mix of car. And what we have seen through research is your learning curve is much, much shorter when you move internally. So if you bring somebody else from the outside in, and which is good to do to you know, we all move sometimes between different organisations or different industries, and I've done that as well. But certainly when we squiggle and stay our speed of how quickly we learn about that role. How quickly say I learned about CR was so much quicker in Sainsbury's because I already knew Sainsbury's, I already got some relationships, you've probably got a bit more confidence as a result. And so then you start adding value back to that organisation much faster.


Ben Walker  09:32

I mean, this is fantastic. This is an amazing case study, big case study of yourself. There's, there's a couple of things to unpack there to think of the audience will find extremely interesting. The first one, I'll go to this one about the learning curve, because you've got that little bit more psychological safety, because you know, the environment you know, some of the people, you learn quicker, you tend to learn quicker. You can concentrate on the things you need to learn rather than the people you need to know and get to know and so on and so forth. The things that scare people about a new job is you're going into a completely new environment and build a new building with completely different people. So a lot of it is that social learning, isn't it, you know, you got to get to know a whole bunch of people again, you don't know you. But if you can make that pivot within a company, you don't have to do that stuff. You can concentrate on what you want to know. I mean, this is really interesting. What a switch you went from marketing to CSR, which is a big leap, you say, you say, I'll take your word for it, you say you didn't know anything about CSR, when you made the leap. And you had a manager, a leader, actually, and she was very accommodating to the idea. presume that there is a science in trying to find the person who is doing the recruiting who has that sort of mindset that, you know, if you if you've got someone who's locked in the old and squiggly past, to make those sorts of pivots is going to be difficult. But if you've got someone with that open minded mindset, and you can identify that person, you are more likely to be able to squiggle yourself. Well,


Sarah Ellis  10:57

I think you can spot the leaders who look for talents and strengths and skills over titles, and have they done this exact thing before in this exact way. And often, those leaders are learners themselves. So you see that the behaviour is that they role model, and I think role modelling is so critical, I think it's the most important thing that managers and leaders do, because what people do is so much more important than what people say. So when I was thinking, you know, I'm naturally curious, I quite fancy moving out of marketing for a bit. I love marketing, but I'd like to kind of explore transferring my talents. I looked for leaders who I could see, were sort of always learning really energetic, really open, they were really curious, because I felt like well, they are much more likely to then give me that same opportunity because they value those things. I've also had an interview before, where I talked to somebody about something I wanted to learn. And this person basically said to me, I think that's a complete waste of time. And I remember thinking, right, if you think that that is a waste of time, that learning, it's a good way of finding your fit, I always say like, try and find your fit, because I went, you are not going to be the right leader for me because you are very fixed in what you think this should look like. And we often talk about, you know, fixed versus growth mindset, or sort of being a limited learner or a limitless learner, you look for those limitless learners. And I could see in Alex Cohen, who I went to work for, I could see that she had just got that energy and enthusiasm, and that she really wanted me to succeed. It didn't mean it was easy. You know, I was I was working for someone who really knew that area well, so I knew nothing. And she had done that similar job before. So you really felt the gap of what you didn't know, it felt really obvious. And so it definitely felt like you know, a steep learning curve, a fast learning curve. But it's also interestingly, the job that I stayed in for the longest in any of my corporate roles. Wow. I think it just had the most learning and opportunity for me. And I did get back to marketing. In Sainsbury's, I squiggling state back to marketing eventually. But I stayed in car for a long time because I just I loved the difference and I could see the impact that I could have.


Sophie Peterson  13:07

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Ben Walker  13:22

The job that you stayed in longest was the one where we you you had the most squiggle and you're the person who this lady Alex, Alex Cole had the right mindset to allow you to squiggle she focused on your strengths and what you could bring rather than what you've done in the past experience. So the message to leader the manager has been more Alex, but nevertheless, if he's listening be more. But there's been a shift somewhere. There's definitely been a shift. I mean, there are the Alex is of this word or use you are suggesting becoming more commonplace. They were a rarity. And now they're becoming more commonplace. They're not necessarily the norm, but they the shift is on. What do you think is caused that shift in industry is what happens dancers that have triggered some sort of change in mindset from employers.


Sarah Ellis  14:12

So firstly, I think every organisation is getting flatter. No organisation is adding more hierarchy. And so actually, if you think about the business case, for squiggly careers, the kind of the cold hard facts essentially of squiggly organisations can't just promise progression equals promotion, that very kind of binary thing about progression. And so I think we've got to rethink what does growth and progression look like and sort of decouple it from? Well, I must get promoted to a more senior version of what I do today. I think that limits us as individuals, and it limits our organisations. That's not where organisations need people to be. They actually now need people to do a lot more what's described as learning agility, which is succeeding in first time situations. So the because organisations are dealing with so much more uncertainty, there's much more complexity and less things that are complicated. So things that are complicated, are still hard. But you can base what you're going to do on what's gone before. So you think, well, this happened in the past, we can sort of do something similar. And when we've got a good chance of succeeding, when you've got complexity, you can't rely on what you already know, to help you succeed. You're starting from scratch, you're navigating newness, you're navigating a lot of uncertainty. And so actually, those sorts of they're sometimes described as like meta skills, but just like, big important skills, essentially, those things are becoming more and more important in organisations. So organisations need people who they can sort of go, well, actually, our priority now is we now need to launch this new product in this different country, right? Who can we bring together to make that happen? It's less about where you've worked before, it's more about what have you got learning agility? What talents can you bring? What skills can you bring? So I think when when organisations are sort of thinking about what did they need to reach their goals to achieve their quarterly objectives, or those kind of like the day to day practicalities of a successful organisation, they need what they describe as internal mobility, and what we describe as Switzerland stay, they need people to do that, because you suddenly think, well, this person is brilliant. But we now need two people in this area, not five, I don't want to lose those three people. Actually, I might want those three people to then go and work in a different area, because actually, we need more resources over there. So that sort of, I think of it as like the flow, much more kind of free flowing of like, where you sit and how you spend your time.


Sarah Ellis  14:43

It's more of a project mentality, isn't it? Yeah. Teams for projects, teams for ventures, rather than, you know, sort of the quasi sort of stereotypical paths. We were in factories, and we all produce the same thing day after day, after day. But now it's more of a project mentality, here's the opportunity to use your favourite word opportunity. How can we squiggle out people into that opportunity, do it for a year or two years, then move on to the next opportunity,


Sarah Ellis  17:03

it's letting go of seeing yourself in a box. And this might be my age telling her. But certainly when I started my career, and I mainly worked in very, very big corporates, you sort of you're always in a box, because you're literally in an organisational diagram in a box. So you sort of get boxed in, titles do become more important. And then you're very aware of how you sit versus all the other boxes. And then I think you fall into traps around comparison, and getting stuck. We hear that word quite a lot with careers. I feel like I'm stuck, or I'm stalling. And that's often because you get very anchored in seeing yourself with where you are today. And that's often what we're trying to help people sort of get away from,


Ben Walker  17:43

I think that boxing starts earlier than the workplace. I think that boxing school does. Do you not think, Oh, wait, you're starting the show, I said that. I felt like we all had to fill in this questionnaire. And it said, your job is an architect. That's what you will be. Yeah, I don't know how that happened. But I had some early interest in houses, I don't know, whatever. But I've been done nothing like that. And nor do I wish to do it.


Sarah Ellis  18:07

But what's reassuring, is certainly I've got a six year old who is being taught growth and over mindset at primary school. And you know, we are starting to see we are getting approached by lots more schools, universities, colleges, around squiggly careers. And they're sort of saying, Well, how do we take what you do? Because we mainly do it for working people. But how could we make this useful for people basically young people? So work like we do work on something called gremlins. So confidence, Gremlins beliefs that hold you back. We've been running sessions with organisations all over the world on those. And then we get these emails from somebody saying, Oh, I use those Gremlins with my daughter because she's struggling because she's just changed schools or she feels she has a real Gremlin around not being liked or about comparison. And so parents are just started to use these Gremlins with their kids. And then that's so interesting, because I'm like, Oh, if we can help people with those skills, knowing that their careers are going to be squiggly, I don't want people to worry about their jobs before they need to. But actually, just some of the skills I think as a starting point around building yourself believe thinking about what you enjoy what you're good at. I think those things stand you're in really good stead whether you're 16 or 56,


Ben Walker  19:18

Focused on squiggly, squiggly strings. And rather than being locked into a box, I remember probably still happened, sadly, obviously happens, you know, those sorts of catch lines, you heard from teachers, you're gonna get a shock when you hit the real world. Do you know where you want to be in 10 years time? Well, first of all, probably everybody gets a shock when they hit the real world is different to being at school. It may not be a bad shock, and some people probably find it a good shock. Nobody knows where they want to be in 10 years time. So we need to stop saying this stuff in schools, don't we?


Sarah Ellis  19:49

Yeah, I think so. And actually we get a very different reaction to squiggly from people, just leaving education to everybody else, which is interesting. So most of the time, people People will give us feedback that the thing we do best is we are useful and practical. We're sort of relentlessly practical, unashamedly. So. But when I talk to people are sort of 21, or 20, and I'll talk about, you know, I introduced this diagram of, it's not a ladder, it's a squiggle. And then I talked to those people afterwards, what they say to me is they feel really relieved. And I was like, really relieved. That's not the word I typically hear. And the reason for that is I think sometimes they're putting so much pressure on themselves to make the perfect decision. And I always say to that group, I always try to remember to tell them some brilliant advice I got from one of my mentors, which is, I was a real dilemma like about a decision, like, what career choice should I make. And he just said to me, Sarah, never forget that your next job won't be your last job. And you know, just that ability to zoom out a bit. And to know that you're going to have five or six types of career. And don't choose a job just because the title is great, because it's what your parents think you should do. Choose the job where you're going to learn the most, choose the job where you are going to be surrounded by people who you'll find interesting. And you'll kind of learn by osmosis. And often when I'm talking to people, they're just the ability to let go of, I must make the right choice. And instead, I'm going to treat my career, certainly for the first part of my career, if not all of it as a series of experiments. And you see people going like, oh, okay, that's a different framing, because I think that's what our careers become. They're a series of experiments, we hopefully get a bit smarter each time. With each experiment, we adjust, we get some data for our development, we get a bit closer to those things where we get to use our strengths more, we figure out what do we enjoy a bit more? What do we enjoy a bit less, and we just sort of squiggle and we just sort of keep finding our way as we go. And I just don't want people to have that pressure of feeling like where I am today is where I must always be, is


Ben Walker  21:45

interesting. Isn't that the point of making a decision, we tend to probably as humans, overemphasise, how critical that decision is at that point, because as you say, what it really is, is when you're to choosing whether to take a job, or not, or choosing between jobs or what have you. You feel it's make or break, you can feel it, that's putting a great deal of pressure on you. But what you're saying is, it's not very good break. It's one in a series of decisions you're going to make along your career,


Sarah Ellis  22:13

disastrous decision when I was coming out of Boots, and I went to work for Lucozade And I loved the brand. I love the brand, Lee because I because I love sport, and which probably wasn't enough of a reason to go for this job. But anyway, I did. And it was a really hard assessment process. And I was so proud to get the job. I was so rubbish at this job. It was an out and out sales job. So selling vending machines and coolers to leisure centres and workplaces, industrial estates. And they'd already got Lucozade and I had to just try and sell them more. And I'm an introvert who gets nervous meeting new people, I thought I was going to be like developing the new Lucozade brand. And I don't know meeting sports stars. In an ideal world. None of that was true, obviously. And it was such a, you know, it was such a wrong turn, but made for the right reasons. So I, you know, I did, I did the best I could at that moment with what I knew, and how I wasn't very experienced. And I just thought, Oh, that's a great brand, like brilliant. And I and, you know, I sort of felt like I did really well, in the interview, I really enjoyed the interview process, because she had to talk about a brand that you loved. I honestly turned up with mood boards, very marketing. That should have been my warning sign, I basically applied for a marketing job that was a sales job. And that really failed at that role. And I think, of course, it didn't Did my confidence, and I found it really tough. But I think it was a good early experience to realise that they will naughty moment can sort of knock you back for a bit like you will find your way again, like it might take a bit of time. But it sort of isn't the end of the world. And I think sometimes people are very hard on themselves where they do make a choice, and it doesn't work out. As long as you have been thoughtful. I think that's all you can expect for yourself.


Ben Walker  23:54

And you will learn some useful stuff even though you took you we even if taking that job was a mistake, you will still learn some useful things from it. Just as someone said to me, you will always learn things from people you don't like. You will learn things from jobs you don't like, but try not to overemphasise how critical that decision is at the time it is one in a series. And you went from Lucozade you thought that's not for me. I've learned some good things from it that I can apply to other jobs. I've also learned that I shouldn't be doing jobs like that in the future. And you moved on? Yes, we got you squiggle code. I mean, it just changed. I mean, we talked a lot about mindset. It does require a change in mindset from the traditional, as we've said, from the employer, and from the employee. There has been a shift. You know, we talked about being more Alex going in to having that open minded attitude that this lady gave you sort of such a fantastic opportunity some years ago. Do you expect that to continue? Is it just going to be a natural progression where intent I've got I'm asking you for your 10 year plan now Looking into your crystal ball, do you expect that that natural progression will continue so that companies and employees become more squiggly as time goes on?


Sarah Ellis  25:14

I think so because that is what we have seen over the past five or six years. And one of the things that we always say to everybody is, we want everybody to be really ambitious for where their career can take them. But I just want everyone to define their own version of ambition. And so I think this is where organisations and individuals sort of come together, I think it ends up being liberating for individuals, because you decide and you take you have this, we call it a create not wait mindset when it comes to your career. And it is useful for organisations because they need that sort of flow of people around an organisation, they will need people to squiggle and stay, the world is not going to get more predictable, more linear, there will be more change that the change and uncertainty that is sort of present isn't going anywhere. And so actually the kind of adaptability, the agility, those skills, when we look at the World Economic Forum skills, they sort of look at the skills that are useful now, and are increasing in usefulness. Lots of them are the sorts of skills that we've talked about today, those things that AI can't do for us, which is helpful. And those things where we can we can add value in a different way. We are doing a global experiment with 16 organisations across the world, who are all committed to doing three experiments to support their organisations and people to squiggle and stay and to talk about them externally. So whether they work or whether they fail. So things like career safaris, where you give people holiday days, so in addition to your holiday, you then say okay, Ben, you get an extra 10 days of holiday, to go and do career Safari being in wherever you work. So you could go and do a week with another team. You could go on to two weeks on a project with another team, you could go and do 10 individual days. And basically, essentially, you're trying before you buy, but we're now seeing organisations are being much more proactive in how do we really help people to squiggle and stay because it is scary. And we want to help people sort of almost like dip the toe in look before you leap. So whether that is things like encouraging career conversations as the squiggly career safaris, squiggly swaps, where maybe you and I go, Oh, we're just not quite interested in each other's roles, we're going to swap roles for a month. And we're going to support each other to do that. And then we're gonna go back to where we were before, you've not got to stay in those roles. So making it easy, like, I'm a big fan of easy experiments in organisations, because then they happen, and they are much more likely to then stick if you've got to change every system and structure in a massive company like Sainsbury's or Barclays, it's going to take a long time and will never happen. And so I think we've got to make it really easy for squiggly careers to happen in an organisation, not


Ben Walker  27:58

about easing otherwise, for companies to know the strengths of their people is it it's almost doing the same job day to day, the company's assumption is their strengths are exactly what they see day to day, because they will have other strengths that they don't particularly use necessarily in that role. But doing something like a safari, as you describe, it allows them to discover other strengths and their own people. Yeah,


Sarah Ellis  28:19

well, that's often how you discover like untapped potential. Oh, I didn't realise I could do this. But actually, I can. Some organisations are creating, like skills and strengths, databases and matching. So using tech in a really smart way. One of the biggest things that we've seen, which is the easiest thing for organisations to do, is when they are doing job descriptions internally, they just add a line at the top of the job description saying we're open to applicants from different teams and different areas, their version of that sentence. And just by adding that one sentence, they get a massive difference in who applies for those roles. Because actually, you've given everybody open permission. Let's imagine me back in Sainsbury's. And you see that head of car roll? Like I was probably an anomaly at that point. But if you had advertised that role and said, Okay, we're open to people applying from across Sainsbury's, like, we believe people can transfer their talents come and talk to us about whether you feel like you would be a good fit, suddenly kind of gives them the confidence that they need to have the conversation and start to think about, well, what transferable talents have I got, it often tends to be more about how you do a job rather than what you do? Yeah, it's the house. It's unlocking your house that gets you to your transferable talent, but I love that job description hack. I'd love to see loads of organisations do that.


Ben Walker  29:36

That is a top top tip isn't it? Put that at the top invite people from the silence departments to apply it gives them that psychological safety to apply give them that confidence gets them out of their box and you might find some unvarnished or undiscovered diamonds and you're too young marketers obviously, this is a marketing podcast and people be interested you came from marketing background for a major so supermarket chain. What about three key nuggets of advice that you can give to young marketers who want to become more squiggly?


Sarah Ellis  30:09

Yeah, it's a great question. So firstly, we focus today a lot on you and what you can do. And I talk a lot about ownership, that nobody succeeds in their squiggly career by themselves, you have got to get the right people around you. And it's so important to build relationships that go beyond your day job. So think about your career community, the 345 people who you're learning with and learning from, and make sure they're all the same. Make sure you're not stuck in sort of an echo chamber trap. Have you got someone who is a brilliant Ideator? Have you got someone who's a great challenger, someone who just thinks in a really different way to you. So my first bit of advice would be whether you're an introvert like me or an extrovert, like my co founder who's very extrovert, people are an incredible source of learning, opportunity and possibility. So never neglect that it will never make it to the top of your to do list, I promise you. So you have to choose to do that. But other people make a really big difference to how successful your squiggly career is. So that's my first bit of advice. My second bit of advice is really think about what your strengths are and what you want to be known for you choose your strengths, don't let your manager tell you what your strengths are, or anybody else sort of tell you the answer to that question. You decide what are the two or three things I want to build a reputation for? And be recommended for? What do I want Ben to say about me when I'm not in the room, ask for some strengths based feedback. See if your intent is matching your impact. Do an energy audit. At the end of every day, ask yourself what gave me the most energy today. Usually you unlock some good insights on your strengths there. And once you have the awareness of your strengths, always be thinking about how can I make my strengths stronger? Don't worry about other people. So I might say one of my strengths is developing ideas and coming up with stuff from scratch. That's true. And Ben might say, Oh, me too. And then I might think, Well, maybe it's not one of mine. Because Ben's so much better at that than me, doesn't matter. It's all about you. Investing in those strengths to make you as brilliant as you can be. So know your strengths, grow your strengths, and make sure your strengths stand out and show up. And then my third bit of advice, which is a very short one. never lived the same year twice.


Ben Walker  32:25

Oh, wow. There we go. That's a great way to finish never live the same year try to lean into being squiggly. never lived the same year twice. Amazing, amazing tips, amazing. Advice and an amazing book. By the way, if you want to buy squiggly career by Sarah Alice is out now. fantastic read. Sarah has been great to have you on the show. Oh, that's gonna inspire many of our audiences inspired me it's been great to hear from you. I love the concept of being squiggly. And I don't like the concept of boxes. We don't think there are too many boxes in this world. Right the box and what is it let go of the ladder. Indeed. It's been great to have you I hope to see you on the CIM Marketing Podcast again soon. fantastic advice. This is Sarah Ellis, founder of Amazing If an author of the Squiggly Career. Thank you very much, Sarah.


Sarah Ellis  33:11

Thank you.


Sophie Peterson  33:13

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Ben Walker Host CIM Marketing Podcast
Sarah Ellis Author The Squiggly Career
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