March 29

Episode 836: Invest in Yourself – Interview with Mark Herschberg author of “The Career Toolkit” – Part 1

Inspired Stewardship Podcast, Interview, Invest In Yourself


Join us today for Part 1 of the Interview with Mark Herschberg author of "The Career Toolkit"

This is Part 1 of the interview I had with speaker, teacher, and author Mark Herschberg.  

In today’s interview with Mark Herschberg, I ask Mark about what his book The Career Toolkit teaches for people at all levels of their career.  Mark also shares how you need to develop a career plan even if you are self-employed.  Mark also talks with you about how he views calling when it comes to career.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 836 Invest in Yourself - Interview with Mark Herschberg author of The Career Toolkit – Part 1
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Thanks
[00:00:00] for joining us on episode 836 of the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:00:07] Mark Herschberg: [00:00:07] I'm Mark Hirschberg. I encourage you to invest in yourself, your organization and others around you to positively impact the world by using your time and your talent to make this world a better place. Having the skills to succeed in your career.
[00:00:22] Your business is key. One way to do this is to listen to the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott made her.
[00:00:30]but by vocabulary, just to understand the comprehension of what it actually needs, what the job is actually what does it mean to manage people? We all, at age 16, I saw Hollywood movies. I saw that person's the boss and they have some scene about what it means to be a manager. So that's what I thought management was.
[00:00:52] Scott Maderer: [00:00:52] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcasts. If you truly desire to become the person who [00:01:00] God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true calling and the inspired stewardship podcast. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence.
[00:01:15] So that you can impact the world.
[00:01:18]And today's interview with Mark Hirschberg. I asked Mark about what his book, the career toolkit teaches for people at all levels of their career. Mark also shares with you how you need to develop a career plan, even if you're self employed. And Mark also talks with you about how he views calling and what it applies to when it comes to your career.
[00:01:42] One reason I like to bring you great interviews. Like the one you're going to hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. But if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read. [00:02:00] And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible.
[00:02:03] Go to inspired to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from. And instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there. That's inspired to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast.
[00:02:31] From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web creating marketplaces and new authentication systems. Mark Hirschberg has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and fortune five hundreds. And in academia. He helped us start the undergraduate practice opportunities program, dubbed MIT's career success accelerator, where he teaches annually at MIT.
[00:02:57] He received a BS in physics, a [00:03:00] BS in electrical engineering and computer science and a master's of engineering and electrical engineering and computer science focusing on cryptography. At Harvard business school, Mark helped create a platform use to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also worked with many nonprofits, including techie youth and plant a million corrals.
[00:03:22] He was one of the top right ballroom dancers in the country, and he now lives in New York city. Or he is known for his social gatherings, including his annual Halloween party, as well as diverse cufflink collection. Mark has also recently published a new book called the career toolkit, essential skills for success that no one taught you.
[00:03:42]Welcome to the show, Mark.
[00:03:45] Mark Herschberg: [00:03:45] Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
[00:03:48] Scott Maderer: [00:03:48] So the things that we just talked about in the intro is this book that you've got out the career toolkit the, these essential skills for success that no one taught you, by the way, I love the subtitle. [00:04:00] And you outline in here some of these skills and what they are and why they are important.
[00:04:06] Could you walk us through a little bit of what are those essential skills that nobody
[00:04:11] Mark Herschberg: [00:04:11] taught us? Sure the book itself is divided into three parts. The first section is on pure career in office skills. It begins with how we think about creating a career plan, right? How we think about to that job.
[00:04:27] We want, whether it is a corporate job or whether it's even starting and running our own business, how we can make a plan to have all the skills we need to be successful in that role. Chapter two talks about how we can be effective at work. It's not just about being good at accounting or good at programming or where your role.
[00:04:46] It also means understanding how to manage your manager, how to fit into a corporate culture, how to understand how you're delivering value in your role. And then chapter three is on interviewing and I focus more than other books on how to [00:05:00] interview other people. There's lots of resources out there on how we answer some tricky interview questions, how we do things as a candidate.
[00:05:08] But most of it certainly if you're a business owner, but many of us, even as it is individual contributor, have to hire people. No one's ever taught us how to do that. It's so important to have the right people on your team, but if you don't know how you're going to be inefficient, Then section two goes into leadership and management.
[00:05:25] I look at really the fundamental components of each of these management. I breakdown into the. People aspect of management, as well as some of the core process aspects of management and the key things here. It's not about being in a management or leadership role because all of us do this. Even if you say, I never want to be a manager, or I never want to be a leader or an executive, you manage other people whenever you've gone to a coworker and you've said, I need your help.
[00:05:53] Or, Hey, we have to work on this for next week. How do you want to divide this up? How should we do it? You're managing. In a [00:06:00] maybe limited way in a casual way, but these tools can help you be more effective. And then section three goes to some fundamental skills that includes communications, negotiations, networking, and ethics.
[00:06:13] And these are skills all of us can use in the workplace and out. And a
[00:06:19] Scott Maderer: [00:06:19] lot of these are ones that we'll dive into some of these a little deeper as we go through the next couple of weeks together. But. One of the things that jumped out to me, as you were saying, that is, you mentioned back at the beginning of the career planning or the career plan.
[00:06:36] And, again, I talked to a lot of different people and I know even myself, I never sat down and had a career when I started, looking back. Yeah, got it. I can connect dots in reverse, but I didn't do a lot of forward planning, especially when I was first starting out. And you mentioned even if you want to launch your own business and this sort of thing, you should still.
[00:06:54] I have a career plan. Would you walk us through, what do you mean by a career plan? What does that [00:07:00] look like? And what does you know, where does that fit in kind of in the different stages, whether you're just starting out in your career or whether you want to launch your own business. And you're in that continuum,
[00:07:11] Mark Herschberg: [00:07:11] I'll start with an example from my own career.
[00:07:14] When I began, I was a software developer and I knew that I wanted to be a CTO, chief technology officer. Obviously I needed to know how to write code. I already knew how to do that and sure I could get better and I was pretty good at, but to be a CTO, it wasn't just about being the best coder. In fact, usually we're not.
[00:07:35] Cause by the time you're a CTO, you're not even touching the code anymore. I knew to be a CTO. I need to know how to hire people. I need to know how to do a budget. How to create partnerships, how to work with my peers and finance in marketing and other areas, how to manage people, how to deal with two people on the team, having an interpersonal conflict and I'd have to go mediate that
[00:07:56] Scott Maderer: [00:07:56] never happens.
[00:07:59] Mark Herschberg: [00:07:59] These are all the [00:08:00] skills. Certainly I was never taught this in school. Yeah, my program classes do say, by the way, one day, you're going to manage other people. And here's what to do when they disagree. These are the are things that are not necessarily written in a job description. Although if you talked to people in the roles, you can figure it out.
[00:08:16] You can hear, Oh no, I spend a lot of time doing this. These are the skills I knew I needed, but had not yet acquired. And so I need to set out a plan. I couldn't just say I could be a CTO because I want to be, I had to prove I knew all these things. And of course I wasn't going to learn them all next week.
[00:08:33] So I had to lay out a plan. What am I going to learn in the next few years? Right next one to two years. How about three to five years out and want me to do later? And of course the nearer skills was more concrete. What's my actual plan to do it. The skills further out were okay. I'll get to this later.
[00:08:50] It's just on my long-term plan. And you mentioned, so you didn't have a plan. I've certainly heard people say, Oh, you can't plan your career. It just happens to you. But [00:09:00] let me ask you, have you ever had a project at work or your manager said, you know what? Let's not bother planning.
[00:09:05]Let's just start, see where it goes. And maybe we wind up with the project working. Maybe not, we'll just have fun with it,
[00:09:12] Scott Maderer: [00:09:12] that. Gosh. No, I don't think that's ever really happened.
[00:09:16] Mark Herschberg: [00:09:16] Yeah. Has ever said to the board, I'm not going to bother giving you a strategy for this year. Let's go who's out right now.
[00:09:23] We all know our projects never go according to plan. They never work out exactly whether it's, Oh, this was harder than we thought or a little different or a global pandemic happens. And we adjust our plans and the same is true for your career plan. It's not just about saying I have a plan I'm on fixed it saying here's my plan.
[00:09:44] And I'm going to regularly come back to it and figure it out. So whether you have. A traditional corporate job, or you're saying, I want to start a small business, to start that small business, you're gonna need certain connections. You're going to need certain skills. You don't have to know how to do everything, but you're gonna say, I'm gonna be good [00:10:00] at this stuff.
[00:10:01] And the rest I'm going to find people who can help with that. So that's what you want to set up over the next few years, developing those skills, developing those connections, developing that, understanding to set you up for success when you're in that role, whether it's a corporate job or running your business.
[00:10:16] Scott Maderer: [00:10:16] Yeah. Now hearing your definition and reflecting on it. I definitely planned points in my career and plan for different career transitions. I guess I, what I didn't have is like where I am today. When I started my career path, this was definitely not the destination. I would have put down on paper as the plan.
[00:10:33] But when you talk about it as adjusting as you go, I definitely did that. As I learned things, as I got further along and went as an example, I actually went to school. I was going to go into medical research. I was going to be, you'll get a PhD and do you know? And then I started doing some research work while I was in college and figured out that it was really about chasing grant money.
[00:10:52] That was like what the PR people that were doing, what I thought I wanted to do were spending 90% of their time doing. And I'm like, I don't really want to do that with my [00:11:00] time. So I pivoted and changed and went a different direction, so there I, yeah. Okay. That makes sense. I would actually change my answer.
[00:11:07] I think I had more of a plan than I thought I did use it using your definition of a career plan. So that makes sense.
[00:11:13] Mark Herschberg: [00:11:13] I certainly have 22 coming out of MIT with a couple of technical degrees. I never want to expect him to write a book on business skills to be UnPodcast talking about business. I thought I'd be talking about really quantitative stuff and software or physics or something like that.
[00:11:31] And I'm not going to talk about these soft skills. That's not me. I didn't even have these skills when I first graduated, but along the way, I recognized their importance and I adjusted my plan and focused on them and even spend time teaching them for a couple of decades. And here we are talking about soft skills on a podcast.
[00:11:50]Scott Maderer: [00:11:50] Yeah. Speaking of that, we both talked through, we both had a transition where we would have said we were going 20 years ago, 30 years ago. And where we are today, [00:12:00] do you believe? Cause a lot of folks will think, I've got to find that one perfect job or that one perfect career, the one thing that I'm called to do or supposed to do or especially, I think that happens a lot to us when we're younger.
[00:12:14] What. What's different from what you're talking about in this book and that idea of finding your one true thing that you're supposed to do for the rest of your life
[00:12:26] Mark Herschberg: [00:12:26] concept of having one true calling. I don't think that applies to everyone. There are certainly people we know and certain professions, we see it in medicine, in teaching, in the clergy where you do have this overwhelming calling to do something.
[00:12:42] And if you have that and you find it. Wonderful. But I would say to those who don't, this isn't a failure on your part. Many of us were dynamic. The world is dynamic. Ask yourself, what was it you wanted to do when you were five, right? What was your dream job then? [00:13:00] Firemen or, whatever else that
[00:13:02] Scott Maderer: [00:13:02] changed the Indian chief cowboy.
[00:13:05]Mark Herschberg: [00:13:05] I, if he asked me a 12, how would I want to spend my life? It would've been playing with Legos. And
[00:13:10] Scott Maderer: [00:13:10] not a bad job, if you could get it. Here's
[00:13:12] Mark Herschberg: [00:13:12] the interesting thing about Legos. I spent a lot of time thinking about this. I love playing with Legos. I'm an engineer by training. We all did that, but at a certain point I stopped playing with Legos and I'll bet I see from your face, you certainly enjoyed playing with Legos.
[00:13:26] You probably don't play with it as much as you used to. And if we think about why that is Legos had. They're fun, but they are a very narrow problem space. I would build spaceships. I'd fly them around the room. I'd build on those spaceship. I fly it again around the room and by spaceship 63, this guy, little repetitive for me.
[00:13:47] I said, you know what? I want different experiences. At this point, when I first started playing with Legos, I could've played with them all day every day, but over time I changed and developed. Now, that's not [00:14:00] surprising for someone going from say age eight to age 14, or if we're literally developing, but even into adulthood, we tend to grow and develop.
[00:14:09] What's important to us, how we want to spend our time, the impact we want to have on the world. Certainly going from not having a family, to having a family, all of these things change who we are, and even our industries change. People talk about, yeah, the industry. It's not what it was 20 years ago. So if you say this is a job for me and I want to do it the next 40 years, you're going to change.
[00:14:31] The industry is going to change. The companies you're at are going to change. So it's okay if that's no longer what you want and you might even be consistent what you want, but everything around you, the view is changing and that causes you to change. So don't feel there's one job out there and you have to do that for your life.
[00:14:49] If you don't, something's wrong. It just means you're growing the world is growing and that's normal.
[00:14:54]Scott Maderer: [00:14:54] And I also think there's a degree to which it's, within different I'll use the [00:15:00] example of myself. Now I'm a full-time coach. That's my full time job. I do this podcast. I do coaching.
[00:15:07] I do speaking. I do workshops. I do these sorts of things, but when I go back and look at what I was doing whenever I was a school teacher the way I taught school was much more coach than it was stand up in front of the room. And here's what the words of wisdom from on high. And you must remember these, I never it's not that I never talked to in the classroom, but it wasn't.
[00:15:27] A talking head classroom, it was much more interactive. And now part of it is the advantage that I had. I taught science, which naturally a science classroom lends itself to inquiry and doing other things. It's a little easier to do it in that than it is in some other classes, but still I had that philosophy and that mindset.
[00:15:44] And then when I went into corporate job, same thing, I still had that mindset of coaching and developing others and building teams and doing all that. So a lot of the skills that I use today, Actually, again, if I look in reverse, we're there from the very beginning, I didn't [00:16:00] think of them in the words that I use today because I hadn't practiced them yet, if that makes sense.
[00:16:06]Would you agree that some of that evolution is finding the pieces in whatever career you're doing, and then drawing those out and leaning heavier on them. And so that's some of that evolution as well.
[00:16:18] Mark Herschberg: [00:16:18] Absolutely. And for many of us, when we are younger, whether we are still in school or early in our careers, we don't have, I'm going to say vocabulary.
[00:16:28] You have to find what that means. We don't have the vocabulary to articulate what it is we really want now, the technical words, but by vocabulary, just an understanding, a comprehension. Of what it actually means, what the job is actually what does it mean to manage people? We've all at age 16, I saw Hollywood movies.
[00:16:48] I saw that person's the boss and they have some scene about what it means to be a manager. So that's what I thought management was. But telling you,
[00:16:56] Scott Maderer: [00:16:56] depending on what movie it was that could have had a good example or a really bad [00:17:00] one.
[00:17:00] Mark Herschberg: [00:17:00] Exactly. But at the same thing, I, this is my image of dating came from watching happy days and thinking, this is how dating works, because that's what I saw, there's, there were worse models, but that wasn't what dating was like in the nineties.
[00:17:14]We all have these images from growing up from our limited experience. As we gain a more sophisticated view, we have a more complex understanding and understand the subtleties about why this particular job or role or using these particular skills are more or less interesting to us. And if you are early in your career, one thing you can do to accelerate this learning is go out and talk to lots of people.
[00:17:40] Talk to people in your field, talk to people in other fields, ask them about their jobs, ask them about what they do. What do they like? What don't they like? What do they wish they knew when they were earlier in their career and just start getting lots of input and lots of ideas and listen for patterns.
[00:17:56] Listen for, everyone who does this seems really happy. [00:18:00] Or I hear people talk about this and that. And cross different roles. I hear this particular skill. Sounds really exciting to me. Those are going to be clues about what might be enjoyable to you.
[00:18:09] Scott Maderer: [00:18:09] So a lot of the listeners of the show are either a small business owner or perhaps they, like we talked about, they've got a corporate job, but they wish they could transition into the side.
[00:18:20] Business that they've got or grow some passion project and to being their full-time gig, or at least a big part of their part-time life as well. Yeah. At first glance, the title of the book. This is career toolkit, so it must apply to people in quote corporate nine to five, cube monkeys, is what we used to call ourselves whenever I worked in the cubicle. How does this sort of skillset apply to somebody who's not working your typical nine to five, your corporate job, that sort of world. Sure
[00:18:52] Mark Herschberg: [00:18:52] these are tools in your toolkit, right? Instead of tools, we can apply in all sorts of situations, starting from the [00:19:00] last section of the book, the fundamental skills of communication, negotiation, networking.
[00:19:05] This is going to apply. Whether you're in a corporate job or to your own company, obviously you're going to be engaging in these on a regular basis. And ethics of course, should be underlying everything that we do in our personal and business life, the leadership and management. Now I usually have to emphasize, even if you don't have that title, if you don't have a manager title, this matters obviously for running our own business.
[00:19:31] Then we need to think about these skills. And even if you're saying it's going to be a small business, it's just me. I'm a solo preneur. You're still going to be on projects with other people. You're going to partner say the person who's going to do your marketing. You're gonna say, okay, we have to roll out a marketing campaign.
[00:19:48] And yes, ideally the marketer says here's a project plan and here's what we're doing. And they have it all laid out. But still, you can use these techniques to say, let me check that this makes sense. Maybe this marketer has not [00:20:00] yet read the book. And so I know a little more than she does. I know some extra techniques that can help non-marketing, but how we plan out the marketing and even going to the front of the book hiring, of course, if you're hiring, whether they're full-time or contractors.
[00:20:14] Very important to know how to hire. If you're bringing other people chapter two, where you're talking about working effectively and comes into corporate culture and making sure people understand the entire animal is a business. This is important. I've been in small businesses where we're talking 15 people and I'll chat with someone.
[00:20:34] I go as a consultant, I chat with someone and I ask, what does this company do? And I get six different answers from 15 different people. Cool. You're all basically in the same room together, right? I've been in, I've been in houses than this office, and yet you all don't seem to have the same idea about what's going on.
[00:20:52] And when you understand these things, as you build your business, you can focus and say, Hey, we need to make sure we are consistent. [00:21:00] And then of course the career plan. Even if it's not a corporate job, it's recognizing what are the skills you're going to need to be successful? Doesn't mean you need to know every aspect of the business, but the ones that you're focused on, make sure you've got those down Pat, and then recognizing what you're not going to be an expert at and where you need that to help.
[00:21:17]Scott Maderer: [00:21:17] And as you recognize the skills where you have a weakness, then automatically by default, you just created a situation where you're probably going to work with others. In some way, shape or form because we're either going to be outsourcing it or you're going to be, hiring someone or something, whatever that ends up looking like for you.
[00:21:35]So it's almost either direction you work through it at their skills. I would also point out that these skills apply at some level. To family dynamics, to non-profits to, if you're in a club or an organization it, I could see it playing out, not just in your quote career life as well.
[00:21:55] Mark Herschberg: [00:21:55] Absolutely. These first make you more effective in these other [00:22:00] organizations, you might be a part of likewise, you can use your experiences in these other organizations to help you build these skills for your career. I often promote. There's a great nonprofit taproot in which they take people. Now you, I, and anyone else on the show, all of us can make a sandwich equally.
[00:22:20]I'm guessing, but we all have other skills. That nonprofits need. So in the soup kitchen, we're all equal, but there are other skills we can apply to nonprofits who need help. And TAC group says, Oh, we want to make use of your skills here. And so you can get that experience, help a nonprofit.
[00:22:38] And now you've got something more on your resume and some more experience that moves your career forward.
[00:22:42]Scott Maderer: [00:22:42] You can follow Mark on Twitter under career tool, kit, BK for book, or find him on his He's also active on LinkedIn as at Hershey and [00:23:00] on Facebook at. The career toolkit book, I'll have links to all of this over in the show notes as well. Mark, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:23:10] Mark Herschberg: [00:23:10] These are skills that don't simply help you. They can help everyone, your organization and the more others you work with, whether they are your peers or whether they are your subordinates in your business, the more effective they can be in these skills, the more effective your organization will be. And turns out as you want to learn these skills, whether it's developing your understanding of ethics and where your lines are, or developing your networking negotiation, leadership skills, these are best learned with other people.
[00:23:43] And so don't take this on alone. Create peer learning groups. This is how business schools teach this. Create these peer learning groups and working out together, there's actually a free download on the resources page that teaches you how you can build these organizations within your own company. [00:24:00] You can use my book, you can use other books.
[00:24:02] This is not just a ploy to sell my books. This is a technique that you can use to improve, and you can take whatever content you want, but I really encourage you to do it with others because that's the best way to learn these skills.
[00:24:15]Scott Maderer: [00:24:15] thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoy this episode. Please do us a favor. Go over to inspired rate.
[00:24:42] All one word iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest [00:25:00] your time, your talent and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact. .

In today's episode, I ask Mark about:

  • What his book The Career Toolkit teaches for people at all levels of their career...
  • How you need to develop a career plan even if you are self-employed...
  • How he views calling when it comes to career...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

I make a commission for purchases made through the following link.

By vocabulary I mean the understanding or comprehension of what the job is actually like.  What it means to manage people. - Mark Herschberg

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Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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