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“Once you’re in the real world, there’s so much ambiguity. There’s so much less structure, and as a result it’s not necessarily about keeping up, but it’s about stepping up. It’s about navigating this wilderness expedition that is our career.” – Gorick Ng 

In today’s workplace, there are many “unspoken rules” that aren’t spelled out clearly but early career professionals need to understand and navigate through them to set themselves up for great success. Although these rules may appear to be common sense, or known by everyone, in reality they may not be understood or even be in the consciousness of the people who would benefit most by applying them. And they most likely will ever be articulated verbally by your manager. Today’s guest — with an inspiring backstory that demonstrates why he’s passionate about this topic — reveals what these unspoken rules are and how they can be used. His messages will not only benefit recent grads, but also all contributors, leaders and managers in any organization. 

Gorick Ng is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right, a terrific new book published by Harvard Business Review Press. It is a practical guide to help early career professionals become top performers at work and create work that is fulfilling and rewarding, based on 500+ interviews with professionals across geographies, industries, and job types. Gorick’s book is quickly becoming required reading for students, interns, employees, and managers across Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and educational institutions around the world. And this year, Harvard Business School gave Gorick’s book to every MBA student to give them an edge in their internships and full-time jobs.

Gorick is a career adviser at Harvard College, specializing in coaching first-generation, low-income students. He has managed new employees at Boston Consulting Group, worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse, and is also a researcher with the Managing the Future of Work project at Harvard Business School. He has been featured in The Today Show, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Fast Company, and CNBC. Gorick, a first-generation college student, is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

I encourage you to read a copy of Gorick’s incredible new book, and both of us want to hear from you, our listeners. What are the unspoken rules you struggle with? Do you disagree with any of them, and which ones moved the needle the most for you? We want this conversation to inspire you to rock your career at the highest level, in a way that is authentic to you.

Highlights from this Episode: 

  • What compelled Gorick to write his book, and the one burning question he wanted to answer with it [4:49]

  • How he is leveraging all his experiences, including being raised by a single mother in a low-income household, and the gifts he’s received on his journey that he feels were privileges that prompt him to want to help others succeed [7:16]

  • The significant role that having the right mindset has played in the success he’s achieved so far [10:16]

  • What are the “3 C’s” and why employees who are new to the organization need to be aware of them [11:47]

  • The reasons that both performance and potential are key factors in the success of any employee [13:14]

  • What Gorick means when he says that it’s critical to understand “what matters most to those who matter” [14:22]

  • The biggest struggles young people entering the workforce will face in implementing these unspoken rules [16:57]

  • Gorick’s thoughts on reputation and the need for humility when you’re starting out in a new position [21:37]

  • What to do if your new position isn’t what you expected it to be, and the steps you need to take before and after you get the job [24:50]

  • How to start being both a leader and a learner [30:16]

  • The rule that has the most impact, even if most people don’t think it’s important [31:46]

For More Information:

New Book, The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right

Resources Mentioned:

Order my new book The Most Powerful You today! 

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK (avail now!) click here.

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Subscribe to Kathy’s weekly newsletter at for book updates, free offers and giveaways, free webinar trainings, and more. And to discover if you are experiencing any of the 7 damaging power gaps today, take Kathy’s Power Gap Survey and find out! 

My New Book The Most Powerful You Honored in Two Wonderful Lists This Month – “100 Great Books in Leadership!” and “7 Books To Inspire New Grads To Make a Dent In the Universe” 

I’m absolutely thrilled and honored to see my book The Most Powerful You included in two powerful new lists of books making a big positive difference. The first is “100 Great Leadership Books” (my 1st book Breakdown, Breakthrough was included too!)  from the journal Leader to Leader, compiled by Bruce Rosenstein, Managing Editor of Leader to Leader, celebrating his 10th anniversary in that role and the 100th issue. The 2nd list is “7 Books to Inspire New Grads to Make a Dent in The Universe,” from the Next Big Idea Club, which is curated by the inspiring authors Adam Grant, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink and Malcolm Gladwell. Don’t miss these powerful lists if you wish to grow fast in your leadership and professional impact today!                                          


Other resources mentioned:

Kathy’s Forbes Blog with Gorick, How To Start Your Career Off Right, In The Most Promotable Way

Glassdoor & 

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey & Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success

Her TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Amazing Career Project video training course & 6 Dominant Action Styles Quiz

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We’re excited to be accepting new sponsors for Finding Brave now! If you have a business, program, product or service that helps professionals thrive and that resonates with the messages we share on Finding Brave, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us via our contact form on the Finding Brave site to share more about your work/organization and your proposal. We’d love to speak with you!

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Don’t delay – spots are very limited! 


“What if we could shorten the learning curve for folks entering a new job, a new position, or onboarding onto a new team? How much more effective can we all be if we just take what is otherwise an oral tradition, and write it down and democratize it to the world?” [6:16]

“The level of energy I have on a daily basis isn’t necessarily correlated with how much rest I’ve gotten the prior night, but it’s correlated with how much I’m looking forward to the next day and what I’m about to do.” [10:53]

“The better you understand what matters to those who matter, the more you can align yourself with work that matters, and the more you can align yourself with work that matters, the more you will matter.” [14:22]

“When learning a new environment, look left, look right, and see how others do things. Let others go first, and then emulate and follow along.” [32:28]

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Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


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