In The Rising Podcast

Episode 126: Mark Herschberg and Uncovering the Career Toolkit

January 18, 2022 Bettina M Brown with Mark A. Herschberg Episode 126
In The Rising Podcast
Episode 126: Mark Herschberg and Uncovering the Career Toolkit
Show Notes Transcript


Wonder how to create a successful career?

  • Education
  • Experience
  • More Education and Experience
  • Networking- .... ummm....what?

Mark Herschberg has spent a great deal of his career teaching at MIT- about dynamic career strategy, developing a high-value network and building leadership skills. 

Because it is often overlooked in our education....


 1 Minute Book Summary: The Career Toolkit

Leadership, networking, negotiation, teamwork, effective communication–all skills we’re told are essential for success, but skills rarely ever taught. This book provides a quick and accessible means to begin learning and applying these skills filled with helpful anecdotes and actionable tips.

If you feel this Podcast is beneficial, I encourage you to share it, and I invite you to leave a 5-Star Review. It does so much for putting this podcast in the hands of those that may need it.

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Speaker 1:

Because to get where we want to go in our careers, whether that's within a corporate environment or building our own companies, maybe as a preneur, as a side hustle or an entrepreneur, building a large organization,

Speaker 2:

Hello and welcome to in the rising podcast. My name is Betina, and I'm so glad you're here because so many of us want to rise up in our career that, that wheelhouse, that slice of pie of life that is so important. And, you know, we have done it all years and years of experience and education and higher education, and another little bit of higher education. We have all this education. We have all this direct knowledge, and yet we're still not equipped to handle our career plan, how to negotiate and how to lead be a leader within our group, how to be noticed for a position, how to be effective in all the things that we've gotten experience and education in. Well, my guest today, mark Hershberg has really spent the last several decades focusing on that very point. He, he is an incredible speaker. He's an incredible author of the career tool, kit , essential skills for success that no one taught you because no one has and really is just so effective. So I'm so, so happy that you're here today to listen to his wisdom, mark , I , I am ready. I am ready to speak with you because you know, I, I, I resonated with so much about with what you're doing and I'm gonna just start off with your book, the career toolkit, essential skills for success that no one taught you. And it's the second half of that title that just stopped me. You know, essential skills that no one taught you and you, you have all this education like physics, which I put my hands up for. Um, I only took two classes for biochem and physics blew my mind, you know, engineering, computer science, but it's not just about education. It's all the stuff that's not there. Share with us. Just some main , those main points where you think this is what we should be learning. This is what you're teaching. Now,

Speaker 1:

The way education is designed is we teach what I'm gonna call technical skills, and I'm not referring to stem or software. I'm talking about the skills within your discipline. That might be accounting or market or psychology. And we convey that knowledge to our students. That's very useful. It's helpful. I couldn't be an accountant because I don't know enough about accounting to do it, but that is while necessary, not sufficient because to get where we want to go in our careers, whether that's within a corporate environment or building our own companies, maybe as a preneur, as a side hustle or an entrepreneur building a large organization, there are so many other skills. We need networking, leadership, negotiating communicating. And if you think about this, isn't a surprise. We've all heard since we were kids networking so important. I kept hearing it from teachers and parents, but it's so important. Why did no one ever actually teach us how to do it? And so that's, what's missing from a lot of education today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And like what you said was networking and that word kind of a chill up a lot of people's spine . Like I have to go network. I ha you know, like, there's this anxiety that comes with it. And I read on your app, which is the same as the book. This, this phrase, the currency of real networking is not in greed, but by generosity, it was from , um , miss Ferrazzi , expand on networking. And what, how we could really look at it.

Speaker 1:

The mistake people make with networking. We have this stereotype, we have this idea of the guy who walks into a conference and 30 minutes later, he comes back with 20 cards. Oh, he's a great networker. No collecting business cards is not networking. We unfortunately have this idea, especially with social media of metrics. Ooh . How many followers do you have? How many connections on LinkedIn? Oh, you're so networked saying someone who adds you on LinkedIn is in your network. That's like saying someone who swipes right on you on Tinder is now your significant other mm-hmm <affirmative>. We would never accept that. If I say, oh, look, Jennifer swiped right on me. I'm practically married. Uh , mark, slow down there. She's shown interest, but you have to build that relationship. In that case, I'd go on dates with her same thing, with networking, getting a business card or connecting a LinkedIn. That's not networking. That's showing some interest, but now you build that relationship. And if you've ever had a friend, which I'm sure everyone has, you know how to build a relationship, that's all it is. The mistake people have. They think it's collecting cards. It's adding contacts and it's oh, okay. I have to go sell you . So I have to network. That's not networking. That's sales, go sell, walk up and say, hi , I I'm trying to sell you this. Are you interested? But don't pretend that's networking because networking is not about what can I get from you today? It is about relationships. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Now with that relationship, do you feel that just that change from, from networking and business card collection to networking, is that kind of a, a black box for a lot of people that you encounter when you're speaking and interacting with them? Well,

Speaker 1:

It starts with this mindset shift of going from, I have to collect business cards, or I have to go to this big event and talk to lots of people. No, you don't networking happens at those events. Sure. But also happens if you and I sit down for coffee, it happens actually, as you and I are recording this and we're gonna get to know each other and we'll probably chat afterwards. That's part of networking. I'm not trying to sell you anything. You're not trying to sell me anything. We're just getting to know each other and building a relationship. So any way you have ever built a relationship with someone, that's what networking is. Networking is actually spending time with your clients, your customers, your coworkers, getting to know them better. That's networking. So don't think of it as these mechanics. Now, there are certain techniques we can use to be more effective when we do that. And unfortunately, we haven't been taught many of those, which is why I threw in a lot of those tips into the book and app. But the mindset shift is the most important part of it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Do you feel that , um, because you all also have taught at MIT, you've gotten , um, you know, given speed , uh , talks. Do you feel that mindset shift is kind of , uh , an easy thing for, for more educated, you know, with this degree, this degree, this degree for people to change or is that kind of that first step is the hardest.

Speaker 1:

It depends on the person and circumstances. So for some, it can be hard. It can be, I don't get, I don't understand what, what do you mean? I get the business cards, but what do you mean relationship? Right? Yeah. Networking relationship. It's shifting to, oh, it's like friendships. Maybe that resonates with some listeners. Maybe not with the teaching idea at MIT, we don't simply lecture at our students. We actually do interactive activities. Some of its role playing some of its case studies for the networking lunch that we do with our students. Students are always used to career fairs. They're used to, okay . I'm gonna show up. I'm gonna stand here with my resume and oh, I'm next in line. Okay. Here's my resume. Do you having internships? That's not how life works. You and I don't find our jobs or our clients at career fairs. And we say , look as a lunch, we're gonna bring these people in. Don't just say, hi, here's my resume. Do you have a job? Talk to them, sit down, chat with them . What come near are you at, tell me, what do you guys do? How do you get into this job? What do you wish you knew when you were my age? Just have that conversation. Maybe it leaves to something maybe not. And once they gain that experience, say, oh, okay. Um, I, I get it. In fact, I'll share with you. One of my students, I remember she was so nervous going into it. She thought, oh, I , I don't know what to say to people. I don't know what to do. And so, as we began, I walked her over to a guy I had known for many years. I knew he was in the field. She was interested . So he just introduced them. He wasn't hiring. It was just, oh, come talk to Brad. He works in this field. Want you guys chat ? This is my student. Here's what she's interested in. And after a few minutes, I stepped back and let them continue the conversation. By the end of the networking event at the end of two hours, as we kind of rang the bell and said, Hey, everyone, wrap up your conversations. We're gonna finish up in five minutes. I happened to be somewhere. And she went by me and said, oh my God, this is so much fun. I can't believe this is over. I love it so much. And so in those two hours, we shifted her from someone who said , I fear networking events. Mm-hmm <affirmative> do I love networking events. So it can be quick. Once you get that shift, how easy that shift is for you. That's a really personal journey.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. And, and I, that story resonates with me because I am very, like, you talk about the nanogram, the person now test , I'm very , um, shy. <laugh> that I have a podcast at all, and I'm shocked. Um, but it took practice. What I like is that you said, this is a skill that you practice like tennis, like bowling, like anything else. And once you have practiced it, you actually can enjoy it and, and see that there's fun. And so when you have a mentor helping you, that can make a huge difference. And you talk about mentorship, how, again, that's something that happens kind of offset , but it's not really a focus for a lot of people in their career. How did you learn that? That was important.

Speaker 1:

It's rec that all of us have areas where we can improve. We're so used to thinking, I go to school or I go to some formal activity where there's the expert standing in front of me and I gain knowledge. Mm-hmm , <affirmative> a book, a podcast, a class, but there's a lot more that you can learn and you don't need to use that methodology. You can use that mentor, that guide. And especially for these skills, that's so important because when you read a book like mine, or you listen to a podcast and you hear, okay, well, this is how this person thinks of leadership or networking or communication. I get in the abstract, but I have to translate that to this very real problem I have right now with my coworkers. Mm-hmm <affirmative> . And sometimes it's not always easy to see that. And we can't in the book explain every possible scenario. Yeah . So having that mentor where you can say, okay, get this concept, but here's my situation. And I'm not exactly sure how to apply it. That's where the mentor can come in to fill in the gaps. So finding a mentor can help supplement the knowledge that you get from books, classes, and podcasts, or other means.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I, as I became , uh, and I'm sure this will, will kind of make that light bulb moment for you too. As I began to teach in my own profession, as a physical therapist, I noticed what I was teaching was nothing that I learned in a , a book. It was from my mentors, from the people that I interacted with and I used their skills and their experience. And that was the growth part. And now, as I'm continuing on in my career, and I'm realizing how much more comes from people versus text and everything that I learned in school, <laugh>

Speaker 1:

For sure. Well , if we think about physical therapy now, I'm sure what you learned about how the body works, which muscles do what and how to deal with this type of muscle tear. That was all very useful. But when you actually have a patient who isn't doing his exercises, mm-hmm <affirmative> or someone who she's afraid of doing this, how you deal with that, they probably didn't cover that in the class. And that's what you learn from more experienced people. It's the raw information, those accounting rules, for example, that's what we can learn in class, but how you actually apply them with people, how you actually get your patients to do this and respond to you and connect to you. So they feel comfortable. Mm-hmm , <affirmative> , that's what we have to learn in the field. And it's hard to teach that in just that class setting of I'm going to tell you what to do, because ultimately there is no formula for leadership. There's no three step apps for , if you do ABC , you communicate always it's subtle, it's situational. And that comes from experience. If not yours, then the experience of others around you, you can learn from through mentoring or other means. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And you know, I went through your app, <laugh> went through your website and I have the book it's on order. Um, with, with this book, the career toolkit, I feel like so many of us could use that earlier in our career, probably when we're not sure we need it yet. Right. Um, when we're still at career fairs with our resumes, but we tend to do things mark that are in alignment with goals right now to put in an , an invest time into writing a book is substantial and you've done it. Where do you feel like what are , what is so important to you as a value or set of values that prompted you to dedicate this kind of time and change other other people lives with it?

Speaker 1:

One of the things I really enjoy is helping people with their professional efficacy. It's been a lot of the work I've done in my volunteer activities. Currently I'm with techie youth, for example, we take students who are at risk and in the foster system, and we help train them up in skills to put on a path to a career it's been other community work I've done. And of course, to teach at MIT and elsewhere. And I just love helping people now having taught at MIT for so long, I've learned not only what are the skills that companies are looking for, which also apply to solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, but how to teach them feedback I've gotten from readers is you explain something on one page. And I have a question, I flip the page and you've answered that question. That's because I've taught this for 20 years. I know when I say this, this is immediately the question I'm gonna be getting, I better address that. So I just wanted to help a lot more people than just those who could take my class. I wanna help as many people as possible. Right. Right.

Speaker 2:

And with that, helping you also say that with advice from you, people can make a substantial change personally and financially <affirmative> how have you seen this feedback? Like how, how is it you've gotten to a place that you can state this? Like, what are you seeing from your students and people who you've mentored.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Here's the specific claim I make and how it works and how it will work for the listeners. I say, look, if you read my book or honestly, any other book on negotiating, you can earn $30,000. That's a pretty bold claim. I know it's a little like click bait , but let's just do the math and understand how this works. Imagine you are 30 years old and you have a job offer for $60,000. Instead of taking the job as is, you've learned to new negotiate, you call the manager back and say, I'm interested in the job, but here's why I think I should get 61,000. And you negotiate to get 61,000. So a thousand dollars more, that's not asking for tens of thousands of dollars, $1,000 more takes about five, 10 minutes for that negotiation. You now get 61,000, if do nothing else in your career. If you stay in this job, the next 30 years, you've just gotten a thousand dollars more for 30 years learning how to negotiate just a little bit better. Just got you $30,000. Now, of course you're saying, but I'm not gonna be in a job for 30 years. I will have raises and promote and other jobs . In fact, you will get more than $30,000 learning to negotiate. We're not talking about being the world's top negotiator, just getting a little bit better, can add tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to your lifetime earning. And now here's the really big secret we can do the math here . I said, okay , a thousand dollars, 30 years, I get, I understand how this works. It's easy to see that with negotiating. And I've done this with my students. I've had them do this. I had one student at his internship. He asked me, what do we do? We talked through some techniques. He came back and said, I got a lot more equity in this company. It was an early stage company. They didn't have a lot of cash. He got a lot more equity and hopefully that's valuable, but I've seen people. They come back minutes later and they've gotten more. If you put the same investment into your leadership, into your communicating, into your network, into any of these skills, you're gonna get the same results. Now. No, one's going to say, oh, better networker. Here's a thousand dollars more, but that will lead you to more opportunities, more clients, more partners, more providers. And that's going to bring you more success. Same thing. No , one's gonna say you're a better leader, but they'll say we want you on this project. We want you involved. So learning to be a little bit better in any, or all of these categories can have a massive return on your overall success financially and otherwise. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And with, with just that what you said, I think it just looking back on my career in 2020 years when you are in the same circles and whether that's nationally or internationally, you start running into the same people and you will start to your reputation as being an effective leader, being a team player, being someone reliable is very important, and that will continue. So when you negotiate, <laugh> a contract later, that is not forgotten that , you know what I mean? So it starts to build up in the earlier you can learn these skills, the more effective that is over the entire lifelong , just like what you give your example.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. But look, even if you are 50, if we do the math and you say, well, I'm gonna get little better at negotiating. Get 50. I get that a thousand dollars more, you retire at 65. That's still $15,000. And of course with negotiation, it's not just about salary. It is when you deal with customers, it's when you deal with coworkers. Yeah . It's when you deal with all sorts of people. So all these skills, no matter where you are in your career, learn them to today because they will be helpful for the time you have. Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

And what you also talk about , um, it , what , what I really like is that you cover other things like , um, what do you do after reading this book? Like, it's not like it's not just the end. All , it's a huge first step. It really opens up a pathway, but you give other people ideas and you even talk about even personality tests. How, how do you feel knowing more about personality, tests, personalities, yours, and other people's will help you in those different categories?

Speaker 1:

Yeah . I call them and I think others personality assessments. And I specifically say, not test because there's no right or wrong answer. You know what I'm saying ? Like , you're , you're this type, no, you fail. They're assessments. They tell us more about ourselves and they tell us about other people. This is helpful when engaging with other people, when communicating, understanding how you think, even understanding how I, of myself, we do some of these in the teaching at MIT. And I remember when I first took it, I saw, okay. I was off the charts in terms of quantitative skills, not surprising for a guy with multiple degrees from MIT. I didn't need an assessment to tell me this. No bad <laugh> . But it told me, for example, I was avoidant of emotional issues, which I suppose wasn't a surprise once I thought about, but I never really thought about, and I recognize these are things I'm avoidant in. Well, here's the thing. When you're avoidant, you don't do something. So for example, I love doing math as a kid, I would do math problems for fun. Not surprisingly. I got good at math. I avoided doing poetry. I don't really like those assignments. I'm not very good at poetry. Okay. That's fine. I live life without poetry. On the other hand, I also know I'm avoidant of vegetables. I'm much more seeking towards chocolate chip cookies. But as an adult, I say, you know, as much as I like chocolate chip cookies, maybe I should get those vegetables in. I'm not gonna like them as much as the cookies, but I need to consciously focus on gain more vegetables life. Many of us have made that very same decision. So here I said, well, I'm good at the quantitative skills when there's a quantitative problem at work. Yeah. I can tackle it. But when there's an interpersonal type of issue, when there's an emotional type issue, I avoided it. I didn't develop the skills to deal with it. And so I wasn't as strong. Okay. I recognize I need to focus on this. Just like I need to focus on eating more vegetables. Mm-hmm <affirmative> , it's still not my preference. I'd still rather solve quantitative problems. But by working on this, by training myself up, I am now more effective in those situations. So these assessments help you understand yourself and can help you direct where you need to focus your time and energy and development, or how you approach a problem. Even to say, I might say, you know what? I'm not good at. I recognize quantitative thinking, isn't right for this. I've gotta bring in someone through my network. Who's better at this problem. Cause that's not me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. And that's good to recognize again, awareness is so, and it sounds like that's just the underlying theme awareness of things that you may not have been taught and how to move forward with that. For sure.

Speaker 1:

If you're going to diet, for example, what's the first thing you do. You write down calories and discover, wow . That muffin has 400 calories that mochaccino whatever has 300. You weren't even aware mm-hmm <affirmative> so you never thought to change it to something with a different calorie count. So awareness is usually the first step.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So say someone is like really interested . Like, you know what? This , this smart guy he's, he's got it. <laugh> like he , I can feel, he knows something. They get your book. How does the app relate to book ? How, you know, when they're just kinda like, I don't know. Do I just download the app? See what goes on? Do I get the book ? How does , how do they work together, mark?

Speaker 1:

Great question. One thing I've learned with books like this, and I've read lots of them. You read the book, you say, wow, that's great advice. And then you forget three weeks later. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I am not in the business of selling you pieces of paper. I am in the business of helping you change, improve and be more effective. Now the book is a good way to do that. But as you pointed out, I have at the end of each chapter, here are next steps. If you wanna continue to develop this skill, here's what you should do. One of the things is to have the app and the way the app works, it's free from the Android and iPhone stores, the career toolkit app. And we link it from the website, the app, you just need to open it once a month. So we know you're active and each day it's gonna pop up one of the tips from the book. Now, if you're not sure about the book, you can certain download for free. We don't say you have to buy the book first and it's free to download. But if you get the book, having this app is gonna help keep it top of mind. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you set the time of day. You wanna get that notification? It just pops up on your phone. You look at a tip, like the one you read earlier and you go, oh , right. It's about networking. It's not about greed. It's about relationships swipe two seconds a day, but it helps keep it top of mind. Or you might say I'm about to walk into a networking event. Oh, what , what were all those tips? I didn't even reread the book last night. I didn't have time open the app, flip to those tips, go to the networking ones and just flip through those to get that refresher. So the app, I, more books are gonna do this in the future. It's an extension of the book to help you retain the information. Now what you don't get in the app are the stories that help you better understand and retain it. It's like the, the cheat sheet for the book. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but that's definitely gonna help you remember it as you read the book. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And that that's great because if it stays top of mind, you know, our , we drive our direction is always where our focus is . And when we have these daily reminders, those incremental steps that are life changing, that we intend to make life changing, actually pursue. They actually come into fruition with that. Um, my podcast is called in the rising where we're rising next. Right? We're all in our own view at , you know, our own different levels, not necessarily competitively or comparing to other people, but compared to ourselves, what do you see yourself or what's on the horizon for you? What's what are you still rising up to? What gives you some fire?

Speaker 1:

I want to reach more people and help them improve their lives. As I mentioned, I've been doing it in the classes at MIT and through some of my volunteer work, but I could only scale so much. So between the book and the app and some other things I'm doing, hopefully I can reach and help a much larger audience.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That's a great, great answer. And when , if people are listening, they're like, well, it's in the show notes, how to get in touch with you . But there's always something about the auditorium <laugh> listening as well. How can people connect with you? Mark?

Speaker 1:

You can go to my website, the career toolkit, book.com. You can learn more about the book, including where to buy it. You can follow me on social media, again, touch with me. There's lots more content. I put out new all articles each week. There is the app page that links to the Android and iPhone store. There's even a resources page where I link to other books on topics. If you wanna go further, I link to free online resources, including some free assessments that you can do to better understand yourself. And there's free downloads for how you can build up training programs for yourself or your organization or other tools useful for you all completely free. And all of this at the career toolkit, book.com

Speaker 2:

Are you eager to learn more about, you can navigate your career by learning to negotiate and to lead and to balance those hard skills or technical skills with what they call the soft skills in quotation marks of building trust and relationships. And that is not what we're taught, but it's something we can learn. And I will tell you from my own lips and my own experience, this is the part that scared me the most. But once you are in that practice, it's a lot of fun and it really changes the entire trajectory of your career. And it changes your career from just moving up to moving out and expanding. And that's how you rise also. So thank you so much for listening today. I really am grateful for your time. It's the one investment we never ever get back. If you feel this podcast in Mark's words and his book would be a great benefit to someone, you know, go ahead and share it. If you're listening to this on the podcast, I encourage you to leave a five star review. It puts this out to more people to benefit them. And if you're watching this on YouTube hit that subscribe button, hit that like button and forward it and share it with others. And until next time let's keep building one another up .

Speaker 3:

I .