10 TED Talks on career moves

Are you considering whether to make a career move – or well on your way to exploring new job options? These TED Talks offer career shifting advice from a diverse group of experts
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Job hunters have no shortage of practical advice for how to land a new or better position. Some good news: While this year may be a particularly challenging one in which to make a bold career move, it may also offer some unique opportunities to make a change that wasn’t possible before the pandemic.

And the ever changing and advancing technology function, as always, gives IT leaders and managers significant room to explore new career paths.

Whether you’re just considering whether to make a move, or you’re well on your way to exploring new roles, companies, or areas of focus, the following 10 TED Talks offer career shifting advice, new perspectives, and information on what really makes us happy when it comes to our work.

1. The career advice you probably didn't get


Speaker: Susan Colantuono

While Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women and author of "No Ceiling, No Walls," is focused on what’s holding women back from leadership roles, her insight applies to everyone aspiring to make the leap from middle management to higher level roles. “In order to move up in organizations, you have to be known for your leadership skills,” she says. “It means that you have to be recognized for using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others.”

Long story short: you have to use your skills and talents and abilities to help the organization achieve its business, strategic, and financial goals by working effectively with others inside and outside of the organization. The problem is, she says, no one tells you that. In particular, no one tells women that. It’s the skill set has to do with understanding where the organization is going, what its strategy is, what financial targets it has in place, and understanding your role in moving the organization forward that has an outsized impact. Conventional wisdom – become more assertive, become more confident, develop your personal brand, learn to self-promote, get a mentor, enhance your network – is necessary, but not sufficient.

2. What makes us feel good about our work?


Speaker: Dan Ariely

Behavioral economist and author of "Payoff" Dan Ariely presents a couple of profound experiments that reveal the value of meaning in our work. What motivates? It’s not money. Or joy. Rather, Ariely says, we thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose.

Consider the mountain climber: It’s a miserable trudge to the top often devoid of joy or happiness, but filled with frostbite and difficulty.

The fruits of labor are actually all about accomplishment, not payment. Ariely articulates the value of meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, and pride in our work, and how their creation makes us more productive and happier.

3. Looking for a job? Highlight your ability, not your experience


Speaker: Jason Shen

Shen, who studied biology and became a product manager at a tech company, talks human potential in this talk. He notes how few of us hold jobs that line up directly with either our schooling or past experience. Careers paths are trajectories of human potential.

Shen argues that legacy hiring systems we built in the 20th century are failing us, even as advances in robotics and machine learning transform the way we work, paving the way for a day when we’ll all take on roles we’ve never done before.

He shares tools and strategies for expanding the hiring field to look more at ability versus credentials, and at the same time, illustrates how and why job seekers can make themselves most attractive to potential employers.

4. How to know if it's time to change careers


Speaker: Chieh Huang

Leaving a secure job is scary, says Huang, who did time as an English teacher, attorney, and video game creator before launching his current career as an entrepreneur. But there are guideposts that can help individuals design the career that’s right for them. He shares how to know when it’s time to move on – and what can you do to prepare. “Life is about finding the intersection of what you really, really love with what you’re really, really good at,” he says. “As simple as it sounds, it’s really not that easy to find…

Huang offers three things to consider when deciding whether it’s time to move on – and three things to do immediately when it’s time for a change.

5. How to find work you love


Speaker: Scott Dinsmore

When Dinsmore discovered what Warren Buffett once said – "Taking jobs to build up your resume is the same as saving up sex for old age” – everything began to make sense. By Deloitte’s count, he says, some 80 percent of people dislike their jobs and wind up living lives of quiet desperation. However, the 20 percent who love their work are doing things instructive to the rest of us. He reviewed 300 books on purpose and career to find out what sets those people apart. In studying the passionate world-changes, he developed a three-part framework for personal discovery through incremental steps and considered risks. The fundamental question, he says, is “What work can you not do?”

Let's explore five more great TED Talks on careers:

Stephanie Overby is an award-winning reporter and editor with more than twenty years of professional journalism experience. For the last decade, her work has focused on the intersection of business and technology. She lives in Boston, Mass.