Lindsey Pollak is an author, an in demand speaker, contributor to a variety of outlets from the Wall Street Journal to CNN, and one of the world’s leading career and workplace experts. Of her four books, two have been on the New York Times bestseller list. Her most recent, Recalculating: Navigating Your Career Through the Changing World of Work is a response to covid and the way it completely changed the way many people get their work done every day.
Like many of the talented people we profile Lindsey has taken a circuitous route to get to where she is at. After graduating from Yale, she went to Australia for a couple years on a Rotary scholarship before going to work for a dot com focused on helping women develop their careers. While she loved the work, the company folded just eighteen months later, a situation that led to Lindsey’s first book, Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World.
If you’ve noticed, there is a pattern emerging. Lindsey finds herself faced with a crisis situation and turns it into an opportunity. In fact, this is a behavior she recognizes, stating that each book she’s authored is a response to some kind of crisis, with each book being the book she wished she had to help get her through it. Recalculating began when she saw her calendar get very empty when covid hit. Instead of a calendar full of paid speaking engagements, she found herself with a lot of free time and the need to…recalculate how to pursue her goals in a drastically altered environment.
It is also the first book she’s written that deals extensively with the importance of mindset. How do you look at the world? How do you view yourself and the contribution you can make? She’s had interviews with women who have been out of the workforce for a while and are convinced that no one would be interested in hiring them and others in the same situation who are full of energy and willing to take on the world. As you can imagine, your mindset can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for good or ill.
One important mindset to cultivate is the willingness to step outside of the norm, to take a risk and think outside the box. Thanks to technology, the opportunities to do this, to act on some wild idea are greater than ever and of course Covid has made it a necessity for many. When your job disappears or your business goes under you can either sulk or get back in the saddle, even if the horse rides are a little different. Many have started with a simple blog or an Etsy shop and many more are capable of it. Just as an example, I used to work with a guy who decided to take a chance and move to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. He left a job that was guaranteed money, and good money, to take the biggest risk of his life. Currently, he’s one of the fastest rising stars in the industry. He thought outside the box and took a chance.
Not that it will always be easy. As Lindsey points out, one thing that people need to get used to is rejection. Whether you are applying for a job or submitting an article, or a fundraising pitch, you need to have thick enough skin to take ‘no’ for an answer. It’s okay, you aren’t the first person to get rejected and you won’t be the last. You might well apply for a hundred jobs and only get an offer for two. Which is fine, because you only need one.
The key is to be just a little hard, to be willing to do hard things, to be willing to go against the stream and do the unexpected, and yes, to be willing to take the lumps that come with rejection and not let it stop you. As Rocky Balboa once said, “It’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
What’s your future worth?
Alexander McCaig (00:07):
Hello, hello, world. Welcome back to TARTLE Cast with Jason, myself, and a very special guest, Lindsey Pollak. To say she's well authored is an understatement. This is her second New York Times Bestseller, the first was, Becoming Your Own Boss, which is a very interesting theme, and we'll get into that because this mindset has also trailed over into what she has created for more turbulent times of larger catalyst, and that's a book called Recalculating. And again, Lindsey, thank you so much for sending me this book. I like to actually go through these things and actually understand the-
Jason Rigby (00:44):
How many tabs do you have in there?
Alexander McCaig (00:46):
I have an infinite amount of tabs.
Jason Rigby (00:48):
Here, show it real quick. He's got all the little-
Alexander McCaig (00:50):
I think Post-it-
Jason Rigby (00:52):
Yeah, little Post-it tabs.
Alexander McCaig (00:52):
... I accounts for probably about 2% of their global revenue.
Lindsey Pollak (00:58):
I can match you with my rainbow highlighter collection, which is something I like to [crosstalk 00:01:02].
Alexander McCaig (01:01):
Look at that. Whatever it takes.
Lindsey Pollak (01:06):
Nothing makes me happier than to see my book covered in notes and Post-its and highlighting, so thank you for sharing that.
Alexander McCaig (01:11):
Sometimes I can't even put it in the bookshelf because I got so many tabs on it, and then I'm like, "Well, I don't want to destroy the tab," whatever. But this sort of color coding helps me go through here because if we're looking at this as a tool book, any good NASCAR pit crew, they need to know exactly where to reference what needs to be referenced at that time. So that's why I go through this process. But when you're talking about referencing your own life, and as Jason had stated, what generation?
Jason Rigby (01:37):
Alexander McCaig (01:37):
Yeah, this is the gen Z handbook. And we highly recommend picking this up, especially after listening to this podcast. We're not going to be able to get into all of it. There's so much that it can crack into and help you actually figure out what you need to be doing with your life. I tell you, it's quite beneficial when you're really down on yourself. So Lindsey, would you mind kicking us off and telling, where did this all begin for you? I understand in the book that in 1999, you had some ideas, 2002, you starting your own business, things are happening on college campuses. Was that really the genesis of everything for you?
Lindsey Pollak (02:18):
It's a great question. And thank you both so much for having me on the show and reading the book. I followed a non-traditional path out of college, which sounds really cool, but was really hard. I graduated 1996 from Yale, where most people go on a traditional path to law school or medical school or business. I ended up going to Australia for two years on a Rotary Club scholarship, which was amazing and put off the decision, but I really struggled because I just didn't want a job. It just didn't make sense to me. And I don't know where that comes from. My mom was an entrepreneur, I think that's part of it. But I ended up at a dot-com, which was obviously the place to be at the time in the late '90s, called workingwoman.com.
Lindsey Pollak (02:59):
And I thought, "Well, if I go work at a place that helps women figure out their careers, maybe I'll figure out mine." And I loved it. I loved it. And what happened was, I would still be there. What happened was, it went bankrupt after 18 months. And I was like, "What do you mean? I found what I wanted and now it's gone. How could that happen?" And I started half-heartedly applying for jobs, but I was really, really depressed, I think, and anxious and upset and frustrated. And I started talking to people and saying, "How did you figure it out? What did you do?" And I started writing about it because at that time, if you didn't have a blog, you weren't alive. Everybody had a blog talking about whatever they wanted to talk about.
Lindsey Pollak (03:38):
And I was just very, very, very early on the career blogging world, and I was very fortunate to get a book deal quite early for my first book, which is called Getting From College To Career, and I decided, I'm going to write the book I wish I had when I graduated and had no idea what I wanted to do and talk about toolkit. The subtitle, which they made me change later because they thought it was too intimidating, but the subtitle of Getting From College To Career was, 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World, eventually they changed the title because they said 90 is too much, but I was like, "Tell me absolutely everything I can possibly do."
Alexander McCaig (04:14):
Are you kidding me. 90 is the checklists. That is like the accoutrement. I'd be like, "Okay, one, two, three." I hit 90, jobs a guarantee at that point for me, right?
Lindsey Pollak (04:23):
That was the idea. So essentially, each book I've written, you mentioned Becoming The Boss and The Remix, each one is like the book I wish I had had when I was struggling through something. And so, no surprise when COVID hit, I'm a speaker in addition to writing, and I went in March of 2020, and this is no exaggeration, I went from having a fully booked calendar of speaking events to absolutely zero. Every single one of my paid speaking gigs was canceled.
Alexander McCaig (04:48):
So what do you do with your boredom at that point?
Lindsey Pollak (04:51):
You pick up the phone. and I did the exact same thing I did when Working Woman went under, which is, I picked up the phone and called everybody I knew and said, "What are you doing? How're you handling this? What's going on?" And slowly but surely. that became this book, Recalculating. When I started to see, "Oh, this person is doing that, and this person is doing this." And slowly I picked up steam, and that's what led to this book and the new pivot that I'm in right now.
Alexander McCaig (05:17):
I find this quite interesting, your problem, whether warranted or unwarranted, known or unknown, became your solution. Did you see that after the fact?
Lindsey Pollak (05:30):
Many, many years after the fact.
Alexander McCaig (05:33):
And I think this is the crux of the whole thing here, you found it years after the fact. And many people are like, "Oh, I wish I knew that sooner." the value of what you're writing here, you've taken that learning lesson, you've put it down so people can capture it immediately. And this really not so much a function of the material things that are happening in the world around us, but a function of the realization that happens in the mind. That's where the recalculation is. I can't tell you how many times I've been on the highway in traffic, and I'd love your GPS analogy, and the thing, it says, "We're going to recalculate, take a different route." I'm like, "I know that back route's longer. I don't want to be doing that."
Alexander McCaig (06:17):
But what you find is that the path that it's taking you, you're like, "Wow, look at these trees." And then I'm in La la land. I'm surprised I haven't jackknifed the car off the road because I'm looking at the apple blossoms or whatever it might be. But what seemed like a left-hand turn that was not going to go well for yourself, that awkward, crooked path that's not a straight line like your super highway actually brought you exactly where you needed to go. And it's only the retrospective look at these things that say, "Wow, now I understand the value. Now, I see why my path turned out the way it did."
Alexander McCaig (06:50):
And the fact that you are bringing light to this through your own story, your own approach, and then offering it down and sharing it with those who need to hear it, that do feel down, because their calendar is empty, they want a full calendar, they want to feel like they have some of that value and they want to feel that, "I went to college so that I could get a job after it," or, "I've been working in a career so that I could increase in that career." But you're saying, well, maybe the increase isn't for you, maybe you need to go somewhere else to something that you're truly passionate about. Am I off base with this?
Lindsey Pollak (07:23):
No, I think you're spot on. And I think I've gotten quicker at realizing it, but it's still hard. Believe me, I had a lot of dark days in March and April and May. I didn't immediately think, "Oh, I just need to recalculate." The only thing I like about the recalculating metaphor... And it's funny, the book title came first. I was like staring at my window, looking at cars, thinking, "Oh, it's like that moment." And I felt really optimistic because your GPS never says, "Recalculating. Oh, sorry, there's no other way." And it never-
Alexander McCaig (07:52):
Actually, in New Mexico, there is only way.
Lindsey Pollak (07:53):
Someone said to me, "What if there's no wifi?" I'm like, "Okay, okay. There are exceptions to the recalculating analogy," but the idea is there's always another way and it may not be where you expect it to go, or to your point, how you expect it to go, but you can try other things, and you have to get that mindset. And it's funny, this is my fourth book. And I tell you, it is literally the first time I've written about mindset. My 90 things were so practical and I'm a really practical person, but you could not be practical in March of 2020., you couldn't, you couldn't. You had to think differently.
Lindsey Pollak (08:29):
And that forced mindset shift, which I think is the real value or lesson of COVID, is when you're forced to not be able to rely on anything that you have expected or used in the past, the only thing you can change is your mindset. And so that's where I started, that's chapter one of the book.
Alexander McCaig (08:46):
Well, I honestly, Jason and I speak about this. This is why TARTLE exists. We feel that human thought is the real thing that drives it all. So once you can understand yourself and then understand others and their thoughts, now you can effectually take the action that is really needed to get us to where we have to go. And so many of us have found ourselves down paths where like, "Man, I don't know how I'm here. This is not me." I don't like using the term blessing in disguise, but it's a this new opportunity that happened through this catalyst. And you can look at it as something like, "Oh, this has all been quite negative." But from that, there are many other opportunities that come up because it forces that adaptation.
Alexander McCaig (09:39):
But if you're not flexible within the mind, those opportunities can never be seized, correct?
Lindsey Pollak (09:44):
100%. And it's also your attitude. I interviewed a lot of people who had been out of the workforce a long time. A lot of them were parents who had taken care of children or people who had illnesses. And this is why I think the interviews are so important, I would speak to one person who would say, "I've been out of the workforce for four years. Nobody's going to hire me. I've been a mom." And then I'd get on the next call and they would say, "I've been out of the workforce for four years, I'm raring to go. They're not going to wait to hire me. I have so much to offer. Nobody's going to be more excited to be there than I am."
Lindsey Pollak (10:14):
And I'm like, "It's not your situation, it's how you tell yourself the situation is going to be. And when you speak to many, many people, it's how you approach data, how are you going to think about it? It's your choice how you approach it. And it's not always easy. But that was so stark when I started speaking to people and getting those contrasts.
Jason Rigby (10:34):
Lindsey, I want to talk about, because I know this first chapter, Adjust Your Mindset, but you use this word twice and you even used it in your own life when you went into the unconventional way that you did. Most of our audience is 18 to 24-year-olds, so this is perfect timing for them and this is really why we're excited about having you on. You use the word hard for your life. When you talk about adjusting your mindset and knowing that it's going to be hard, can you explain that to someone that may be in college right now, don't know what they want to do, maybe they love climate stability and they want to work for a not-for-profit like you did? How does this play out, in more of a micro way, this hardness?
Lindsey Pollak (11:23):
I love that you pulled out that word, and I don't think anyone has pulled out that word before. And I do, I use it a lot. And I think what's hard is doing what is not expected or what everybody else isn't doing. It's not fundamentally hard to write a blog instead of applying for a job, the work isn't harder. What's harder is to go off the beaten track. And I think what's so interesting... So I graduated college in '96, 25 years ago. I was just speaking to a college student two days ago, and I said to her, "The path is so more expanded now." I'm sorry, nobody was doing a startup when I graduated nobody was there. Google was barely around.
Lindsey Pollak (12:00):
This was all so new, and now, everybody doesn't have to become a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or a nurse, but whatever you do that seems a little different than either what people expected or what you expected, or what you think is "the norm" is always going to be more challenging. And I remember at my 15th college reunion, a friend who had gone to business school and become a banker, he came up to me and he said, "Now, I get what you did. That's really cool." And I was like, "Oh, 15 years later?" That's what's hard. What's hard is being in your apartment, working by yourself when everybody else is in an office or at a job, and they say, "What do you do all day?"
Lindsey Pollak (12:35):
That's what's hard, is keeping on a path that feels different, the road less traveled, I think you said. And what I think you have to do, the antidote to the hard, which is advice I would give to this audience is, find your people, find the other people who are doing it. Because when you're doing it with other people, you feel more normal, you feel more connected, and it doesn't feel as hard when you're not alone.
Alexander McCaig (12:58):
It's a natural self-supportive nature. Many hands make light work. Or you can still be self-responsible for your own work, but when we're all doing it, you're essentially sharing in whatever that pain might be. In a sense of that, I don't want to say commiseration, but... If we look at our mindset, we had a gentleman on here, Patrick McGinnis talked about FOMO, he's the guy who coined it. And when individuals are out there looking for jobs, trying to find that new opportunity, a lot of this stuff becomes a non-starter. And you spoke about this with some of the labor data after COVID-19, people filing for unemployment.
Alexander McCaig (13:40):
And you'd think that people would be, "Okay, we've got to apply for more jobs," but actually, nobody was applying, looking at the ZipRecruiter data. The mindset was that, "First of all, I've missed out on the opportunities, they've been taken by those individuals who are clearly better than me, have a larger skill set, what have you. Why should I even get started on this? Why should I even put in the effort?" But doing those things that are hard, coming together in a group collaborative mindset and saying, "Well, let's embrace what is actually going on here. Let's actually take some actionable steps rather than sit here on social media, have the FOMO of other people doing these things."
Alexander McCaig (14:18):
Well, if you want to do those things, you have to go out there and effectuate on that opportunity itself. They're there, you just are not seeing it. And when you talk about the recalculation of those rules, and one is like, you need to embrace creativity, you need to prioritize your action, you need to control what you can. And that is such a major thing, controlling what you can is saying, "I've realized what I'm actually responsible for. And in that realm, that frame of reference for my responsibility, I know what can be acted upon. And then through that, action creates that opportunity."
Alexander McCaig (14:54):
But most people have the FOMO and they say, "Well, my frame of reference is the entire world. There's too much to do, I don't even know where to start. People are already way ahead. So I can't even move." How do you help bring back that self awareness in the self. How did you do it for you where you're like, "My goodness, I did get a little depressed," but what is the thing that pulled you back up? It wasn't anything from the outside. How did you do it internally?
Jason Rigby (15:15):
That forged your new path?
Alexander McCaig (15:17):
Lindsey Pollak (15:18):
The tiniest action you can possibly take to act on that FOMO. I'll give you an example from my current situation, when I had insane FOMO, even though I've been doing this for 20 years. I thought, "Well, I can't really do any speaking right now, what else can I do?" So I started writing the book proposal, but I thought, "Maybe I can teach, get an adjunct job at a university or something like that." So I looked at this woman I know who teaches at two colleges and I thought, "Oh, everything is so easy for her. She always gets the good stuff. She got these prestigious jobs. She must be perfect and magic."
Lindsey Pollak (15:54):
I'll tell you what I do, which is gutsy but doable, is I reached out to her. I was like, "Hey, can I ask you some questions?" And she could've said no, but she said yes, so I think sometimes you have to be a little gutsy. And I asked her, "How did you get those jobs?" And was the answer that she was magic or perfect? No, she said, "I applied for 100 and I got two." And I was like, "Oh, I can apply for 100." When you actually look at what think you're missing out on and you look at what work did that person do to get that thing, then it becomes doable. So you get out of your crazy head and onto your to-do list and say, "Okay, I need to apply to 100 places."
Lindsey Pollak (16:37):
You will not get 100% of the jobs you don't apply for, you will not get 100% of the funding you don't pitch. You have to get out there and do it. I mentioned I went to grad school on a Rotary Club scholarship. There were two per state, and I was in Connecticut, and I asked a lot of people, "Did you apply?" "Oh, no, I'd never get it?" No, no, no, no, no. I applied and I got it. And I asked the committee, how many people applied? You know how many applied in the entire state of Connecticut? 11.
Alexander McCaig (17:02):
No way. I was going to like-
Lindsey Pollak (17:03):
So my odds were out of 11. That's not so bad, right?
Alexander McCaig (17:08):
Lindsey Pollak (17:08):
Because people don't finish their application, they don't do it. They take themselves out of the running. And so it's about these little actions. Control what you can me and apply for the job. People say, "I don't want to network. I don't want to reach out to people. They'll never respond." I'm like, "Have you tried? Have you clicked Send on the email?" And I know it sounds simple, but that's where it starts.
Alexander McCaig (17:31):
This is fundamentally interesting. Even with the Rotary Club we can go with this as an analogy. You had some idea of reality for a moment about the Rotary Club. When someone was telling you, "Oh no, I didn't get it. Don't apply for it." Blah, blah, blah. But until you objectively looked at the world that was in front of you, you picked up the phone and you said, "How did this work? How many people applied?" Then you received the facts, but you could have dealt with what all these other individuals said who didn't have the facts and lived in their state of belief, their state of non-action. And then frankly, you may be not even be sitting here talking to us if you think about the chain of cause and effect throughout this life.
Alexander McCaig (18:19):
This objective take on reality, getting the facts for yourself, working with the probabilities, seems like a very real way to live your life. And I think that can apply to many, many, many things, even the aspect of reading the news, for that stance. Is this legitimately what is going on? Does this legitimately make sense? Can I find out where that information actually comes from? Your ability to, and we love using this phrase, go to the source, whether that be that individual, whether it be that committee, and speak with them directly has afforded you knowledge, that makes you look like you're the genius and the superstar.
Alexander McCaig (19:04):
But in truth, you are a human being like all of us, but the difference is you take that extra step to go to where these things are actually occurring. And then through that occurrence, you can make actionable decisions that look albeit intelligent because you have the facts at hand, because you work with those probabilities of opportunity. So I think you are a leading example, not just of the book, but how you should be living your life in that objective reality of what's in front of you, because you get down, you won't adjust your mindset and be bogged down with that sort of negativity. You don't have to live in other people's states of belief because you're living in your own real world at that point.
Lindsey Pollak (19:46):
I appreciate that. And I'm thinking now of things in my life where I'm like, "Oh, I have to do that," because I'm getting stuck in that area. It's a constant reminder of doing it. I'm also reminded that, again, especially with younger people, it's really intimidating. "Oh, I'm just going to call Alex and Jason and see what it's like to work at their company." I understand that is a really intimidating thing to do. But I interviewed this guy, Steve Dalton, who wrote a book called The 2-Hour Job Search, he works at Duke University. And as he said, what he teaches students is that a lot of people are going to say no to you or not answer your questions. You can't always go to the source, but the people who do help you or the people who do give you information are going to be so inordinately helpful that all of the no's don't matter.
Lindsey Pollak (20:31):
And that's what I found. I could have reached out to that woman and she could have said, "Yeah, I just got the job." Or, "I don't want to tell you." But the person who did give me the information was so valuable that it was worth it. So you do also have to build up a thick skin, which is when you ask people for things, when you ask for information, sometimes you are going to hear no, you just can't let that stop you from asking more people. So I don't want to say that you can always go to the source and get what you need, but if you go to enough sources, you'll eventually get what you need. Does that make sense? It doesn't always work.
Alexander McCaig (21:01):
Can you tell me more about asymmetrical payoffs? Yes, of course. Playing risk is interesting because I'm not betting on a horse. You're putting the chips on you. If there's a number on the table that is fully representative you, you're always putting the full stack all in, and there will be a payoff. You're hedging your risk by diversifying those nos across thousands of people. You know how many people tell us no all day long? You know what we say to ourselves over here? Well, fine, we'll do it anyway. What's funny you develop that subconscious reaffirmation of doing these things and then it becomes so normal that when you hear a no, it's like, I coined as like a fart in the wind.
Alexander McCaig (21:47):
It's annoying for a second, but then it disappears. It doesn't actually carry with you at that point. And so that recalculating is this subconscious builder. This book is just the start for individuals to understand a framework of their own mind so they can continue to practice and refine their own processes and how they look at themselves and their self-awareness. I think it's something that is deeply, deeply needed, not only for work, but people looking for that value. And if we go back to the beginning of this conversation, you said you started with the title of the book.
Alexander McCaig (22:27):
This is also a very fundamentally important concept that I like to talk about. You knew what the end game was. The Germans call it a zeal, it's that point of focus. It's like the top of a mountain for someone who's going to go climb Everest, you know where you want to be. But if you don't know where you want to be, there's no chance of you ever getting there or taking a path. And you can take a million paths in 1,000 different directions, but at least where you want to angle them in to head. But if you don't have that heading, you're essentially lost in this ocean of life.
Alexander McCaig (22:58):
And so this right here, I think Lindsey, is a fantastic compass for all of us to get started. And if anything for people, skip the intro, skip everything else. Start with just the mindset, that may take you five years to figure out. And you may be regenerative farmer, or you may be working at that nonprofit or whatever it might be, but you'll find something that truly matters to you. And the payoff from that will be absolutely massive. And the people that you find along the way, like us speaking with you, those are the things that enhance life, these are the conversations, the access to that information that truly effectuates upon that change and keeps things that are lasting and valuable.
Lindsey Pollak (23:40):
I do want to say to younger listeners because that's our audience, it's okay if you don't know the exact end goal, because I think that's a lot of pressure. I have to find my purpose, or I have to find my absolute dream job, which I don't think there is. So I would say, if you don't know your exact destination, what do you know? I know that I want to hang out with cool people, I know that I want to have big experiences, I know that I want to do something that helps the world. Start with anything that you do know, because I think there's just so much pressure.
Lindsey Pollak (24:13):
This woman I was speaking to, it was so impactful to me. She said, "I love computer science, but I love creative writing. How do I pick between those two? Which one is my focus?" And I said, "You can do both. You're going to find a way to integrate them. But I think that a lot of younger people feel like they have to pick one thing, and I think it's so important to send the message that that's not necessarily the case. You could pick one thing that's true for you right now and navigate toward that. And it might be people, it might be purpose, it might be a particular job, but it doesn't have to just be one thing forever that you know about. So I tried to take the pressure off of that concept too.
Jason Rigby (24:44):
I love that Lindsey. And you have, and we're talking about networking. In chapter four, is all about that, but you have a statement where it says the new normal, can you describe to everyone what the new normal is?
Lindsey Pollak (24:57):
It's such an overused phrase, and I feel like we're already talking about how... I know it's the next normal and everyone's trying to change it. What it means is I think COVID has fundamentally changed, a lot and I think it accelerated things and I'm not the first person to say that, a lot of this was in the works already. But in some ways it gives you a fresh start to say, "Well, post-COVID I'm going to do this." Or, "Here are the lessons I've learned." So it creates a before and after. And I think there are a lot of analogies with the generation that came of age after World War II. There was a before and an after that was very stark.
Lindsey Pollak (25:30):
And I think particularly for young people who are in high school or college or in their careers, this is a moment where you can say everything changed for me, or I wanted to alter my path. And I think there's going to be a lot of compassion and empathy and understanding of that. I think it's true for anybody, but particularly for young people. So the new normal is that anybody who wanted to make a change could make one. And I think because we've experienced what a global pandemic is, the things that have changed for a very specific example would be something like virtual recruiting.
Lindsey Pollak (26:02):
Companies are not going back to being on campus all the time and doing every interview in person, a lot of what they did during COVID, not all of it, but a lot of it is now going to be virtual. So in some ways, the quote, new normal is that anybody who wanted to change to become more digital and less than person is able to do that. And we have to be able to navigate that.
Jason Rigby (26:24):
In this new normal when we're talking about networking, I want to get into this, there's an elephant in the room. I've talked to a lot of people and you get about 60, 70% of them, the ones I've talked to said that 2020 was actually a turning point and you mentioned that, but in a positive way. And I don't want to discount all the negative and the sicknesses and deaths and all that, but there was a lot of people that said I stopped, I became more self-aware, I started focusing on myself, I was working at home, I was doing all these things.
Jason Rigby (26:50):
And I'm finding that people are finding out that they're introverts. So they've had this guilt and pressure to always be an extrovert. When you're talking about networking, especially with those that are introverts, how are some of those, and I know you talk about this in the book a little bit, but how can you work around that if there is such a workaround?
Lindsey Pollak (27:12):
There are advantages and disadvantages or opportunities and challenges to being an introvert. And I agree with you, I think a lot of people are more introverted than we ever knew. I would count myself among that, there's a lot I liked about being at home. I love the work of Susan Cain, who you probably know who wrote the book Quiet, and has a great Ted Talk on the power of being an introvert. And what I think introverts bring to the party is introverts are usually very authentic. They will not go and tell a joke at a party if they're not comfortable, they won't walk into a room full of 20 people and turn on their personality.
Lindsey Pollak (27:45):
They often prefer to connect one-on-one or in smaller, more intimate, more authentic settings. And my response to that is go for it. If you go to an event and you connect with the person sitting next to you and have a great authentic conversation with them and you keep in touch, go with that. Be who you are, but you do have to do that one thing. I think some people use introversion as a way to never do anything, and I think what you have to do is realize, I'm going to be like... It's like tortoise and the hare. I'm going to be more of the tortoise and build one connection at a time that's really authentic and very real instead of going to a party and throwing my business cards to everybody at the table, but you do still have to do that one thing.
Lindsey Pollak (28:22):
So I think introversion is very powerful right now, and I actually think the Zoom one-on-one mentality of COVID is probably going to stick around in a lot of ways. And that can be very good for introverts.
Alexander McCaig (28:34):
I'm not an introvert.
Jason Rigby (28:37):
Alexander McCaig (28:40):
Not a chance in this universe am I an introvert, so I can't say that I completely understand, but I do understand probabilities, and I do understand genuine conversations with people. I do like being out there, I do like to talk, I do like to ask questions. And then through that question and asking, you get to find out what people really are. I can just do it at a much faster rate than an introvert would. So I think that's the benefit of taking on that networking approach even though it makes you a little bit uncomfortable. I've done things my entire life that I've been uncomfortable with, but then you're uncomfortable all the time.
Alexander McCaig (29:12):
It's like, "Well, I don't even remember what uncomfortable felt like." Because you've left that frame. And I do have one question that's been pinging me here when you talked about adjusting the mindset. You said the final tactical step to building more belief in yourself is the most difficult one. You talk about self-awareness, Lindsey. You talk about people being objective, being responsible for doing these things. Why the word belief in yourself? Because when I think of belief and how I understand it is that I don't have the facts, so I have to have somebody else tell me apparently what reality is rather than me searching for myself.
Alexander McCaig (29:59):
And I just think that it contradicts actually your actions about what you do in your life, that you ask people to believe in themselves, but you're the one that called the rotary club instead of believing in that other person, you didn't actually didn't need the belief. So why put that into that reframing of the mind? Why the word belief?
Lindsey Pollak (30:21):
I think that's where I'm reconnecting with my 21-year-old self, which is at that point, I didn't have a lot of data that I could do the things I thought I could do. The three of us talking, we have a lot of experience now, we've failed and we've tried and we've done things, and we have data to say like, "Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't." When you're younger, everything hurts a little bit more because you have fewer opportunities, you try something 10 times and you fail five, that hurts more than trying a million times and failing 500.
Lindsey Pollak (30:51):
So at a certain point, I think it goes to the guts of calling the rotary club, the guts of reaching out for the networking, the guts of pitching and just going forward. And interestingly, and I'm sure you've heard this before, when I interview athletes, or actors, or musicians, kids who have experienced being rejected, trying and sometimes getting things and sometimes not, they realize that there is a level of faith, or belief, or guts, or confidence that has to go in to that situation to get you going back again and again, and again, and again, even if you don't win every time.
Lindsey Pollak (31:27):
So at a certain point, even if you failed nine times, what is it? Fail nine times, get up 10, whatever, I think that it's so important to have that little inner flame that says, "I need to try again." And I do think though that you can train yourself in the self-belief because again, I want the check mark. And the way you do that, this is the best exercise ever, and I can't take any credit for it, but there's a writer, and I've done this as a writer, she calls it The 100 Rejections Project. And she said, "I'm going to write articles, and my goal is not to get published, my goal is to get rejected 100 times." Because what happens if you get rejected 100 times? You're going to get a lot of yeses.
Lindsey Pollak (32:03):
But if somebody says, "No," you're like, "Yes, I get to put out my hunter rejection list." If they say, "Yes," you say, "Awesome. I got published." You're training yourself to be just as comfortable with the no as you are with the yes. So I think it's a muscle that can be built, and I think athletes and actors and singers are often good at that because they've just built up that muscle. Does that make any sense at all?
Alexander McCaig (32:24):
Of course it makes sense. I spent a long part of my life rowing for some pretty competitive stuff. And you would understand that, you went to Yale. And a great majority of what you do comes down to five minutes. You put in all this work and then five minutes sums up the totality of many years. And if you lose, it's a very crushing thing for a moment, but what do you do? Give up? You can't. You have to tell yourself, "I just need to get to the next step. Can I evolve? Can I push myself further? Am I going to let a loss define me, or will I turn it into a positive learning experience?"
Alexander McCaig (33:05):
And I think that's just where that state comes in, because for actors or with those people, where is your limit? Do you have a limit? Is there an upper limit problem for you? I don't know. But that's that internal look, and so I just personally, I don't like the word belief. That's just me, nothing against you using it. I'm just curious-
Jason Rigby (33:25):
This is his pet peeve on every podcast.
Alexander McCaig (33:27):
Lindsey Pollak (33:28):
What do you prefer? Confidence or data?
Alexander McCaig (33:31):
No. I like thinking for yourself, and I think that's fundamentally different than believing, because belief drives us into some areas because of how I've looked at data, whether it's in context of religions, or finance, or economics, whatever that might be, where the three combined, belief drives us to do things that we otherwise should have been doing, especially when the data says that it's the wrong thing to do. I'm curious, and I'm glad you explained it because that is making sense. And I do appreciate you saying that it is something that can be trained and learned where it's like, if you want to reinforce those aspects, build that thicker skin whenever it might be, there are great benefits that can come from it.
Jason Rigby (34:16):
Yeah. And I want to get into, before we go, Lindsey, I want to get into chapter six. You talk about transform every position into an opportunity. Let's say there's a 20-year-old out there now, and they're working as an intern. That position, let me say, it's not paid, and I have to do this, and I'm doing their social media and they don't really care about me, that type of thing. When the position that they're in now, how do they turn it into an opportunity or how can they adjust their mindset to be able to create that opportunity?
Lindsey Pollak (34:49):
Chapter six is called Turn Any Job Into a Great Job. I really, really want to bust the myth that there is a perfect job out there, or a perfect company, or a perfect employer, or dream job. I think it's very damaging, that idea that you have to do one thing, because it could change at any moment. And I think one of the best things to come out of COVID is to realize things can change at any moment, you've got to be adaptable. Recalculating is not like this thing that you do because you face a fork in the road and you go left. It's something you have to constantly be doing and navigating, and pivoting all the time.
Lindsey Pollak (35:22):
And so what I would say to somebody who's in a position that feels like, "Does this make any difference? Or do they care? Is this going to turn into anything?" Is how much control you have over that situation. They might not hire you, you can't control that. They might not value you. What you can control is, are you going to learn something? And what you might learn is, "I never want to do this again." Or you might learn, "I don't want to be like that guy." Or you learn, "This industry is stupid." I interviewed a woman who graduated from college, had huge dreams for a career, she couldn't find a job.
Lindsey Pollak (35:51):
She needed money. Money was her number one concern. And the only job she could get at the beginning of COVID was working at a grocery store checkout like a lot of people. And she said, "I went into it and thought, 'I'm going to make this worth my time because I got to do it.'" And she said, "I just talked to everybody and got really, really good at communicating and listening to people. And now you put me in any situation, I can talk to anybody. And I will take that with me for the rest of my life." That was her choice to turn that into an opportunity. So I think it's about taking back the control and saying, "I'm going to get something out of this no matter what the job actually is."
Jason Rigby (36:24):
I think even your dream job, the company went bankrupt.
Lindsey Pollak (36:29):
Yeah. It sucked. It was terrible, I hated it. I'm still upset about it, 25 years later.
Jason Rigby (36:33):
You even said that you would still be there.
Lindsey Pollak (36:37):
This would be The Working Woman Show and we'd be doing a joint podcast together. I loved that job.
Alexander McCaig (36:44):
I'd love that, I'd love to be in The Working Woman Show.
Lindsey Pollak (36:45):
I loved that job. And you know what? It doesn't exist, and I couldn't control that. So what was I going to do about it? Or I can still be unemployed and saying, "I wish that job would come back." And that's just not going to happen. And I think, again, you talk about the new normal, some things are not coming back and we have to move on. And it's okay to mourn that. I think I probably could've mourned Working Woman more, instead I'm really sad, this really sucks. But one thing I did and just another practical tip, I hung out with other people who got laid off and were sad. And that actually really helped because we helped each other.
Lindsey Pollak (37:17):
It's about finding your people again and saying, "Hey, we can all sit here and be sad or we can do something about it." And I think that's when the magic happens.
Alexander McCaig (37:24):
Yeah. It's a very Socratic look at life, if anything, you're like the Sherlock Holmes of finding a job. Let's just get rid of everything that doesn't work and you're only left with the truth. Correct? That's how I figured
Lindsey Pollak (37:38):
What else can you do?
Alexander McCaig (37:38):
What else can you do? That's how I figured out what I want to eat. Well, I don't need any of that, so I got these three options. They may not be perfect, but they're definitely going to do for right now. So I would leave it with this, Lindsey, is there anything out of the books you've written, whatever it might be that you would want to leave with an audience across 222 countries, not to put any pressure on you, that wasn't captured in here, but you want to make sure that it is either restated in a different format or actually put out into the airwaves because you feel it's fundamentally important to reinforce this one specific idea. What would that be?
Lindsey Pollak (38:17):
Your career is yours. It's not your parents, it's not your companies, it's not ours as podcasters and authors, it's yours. And you have control over that. And when you take that power on yourself, no matter what challenges you face, you can always find solutions because you are... Keep the metaphor, driving that car, and it's up to you. So don't let anyone take that away from you. That would be my final message.
Alexander McCaig (38:44):
I love that sort of stuff. I'm so jacked up.
Jason Rigby (38:48):
That's so awesome.
Alexander McCaig (38:49):
Well, listen, can you please continue to keep writing books and doing things so we can have you on and we can talk more because [crosstalk 00:38:55].
Jason Rigby (38:55):
And how could someone besides going to Amazon buying the book or their local bookstore, how can they see like your website and stuff like that to get more information?
Lindsey Pollak (39:02):
I love it. Thank you so much. This was such a great conversation. Thank you for knowing the book so well. My website is lindseypollak.com and I am a nerd for LinkedIn. So if you are on LinkedIn and like to connect about professional stuff, that's where it happens. So lindseypollak.com, and find me on LinkedIn.
Alexander McCaig (39:17):
All right, buddy. Everybody, you heard it, all 4.3 billion of you, inundated LinkedIn profile. Here it comes.
Lindsey Pollak (39:26):
You got it. And there, I respond to everybody, it's a policy.
Alexander McCaig (39:26):
Oh my goodness. Well, I guess you'll have a new business or just responding. Well, listen, Lindsey, thank you again for everything. Much appreciated and I'm excited this hit the airwaves.
Lindsey Pollak (39:36):
Thank you so much.
Thank you for listening to TARTLE Cast with your hosts, Alexander McCaig and Jason Rigby, where humanity steps into the future and the source data defines the path. What's your data worth?