03: Why You Need to Take a Career Selfie

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Society 3.0 with Dr. Tracey Wilen

Our host Linda Hlavac interviews Tracey Wilen who shares insights on the future of work and careers, based her personal experience and extensive research. What her findings mean for the personal development of current and future HR leaders as well as the development of the next generation of leaders. Dr. Tracey Wilen is a global speaker, author and frequent media contributor on future workforce trends, focusing on career, gender, leadership, technology, and education.

Key Learnings From This Episode

Download the Show Notes

  •  Tracey’s career journey. An old quote applies to her career journey with its twists & turns and ups and downs. Every experience has a value. “When doors close, windows open.”  ”Whenever something looks like a possibility, it’s up to me to take that opportunity and run with it.” 
  • Take “Career Selfies”. Today we can anticipate multiple careers and longer career spans of 60-70 years, since many of us will live to be 100. Tracey advocates for the “need to keep taking a career selfie” – which is a career assessment to identify if and when to change career paths. Tracey does an annual review and quarterly check ins.
  • Biggest career lesson. Used her first layoff in her early 20s to learn the importance of taking accountability for her career. In today’s competitive environment, we can all expect layoffs, career ups and downs, so taking personal responsibility was what Tracey was fortunate to learn at a young age.
  • Tracey’s passion. As a pragmatic person, she didn’t grow up with a single passion although she knows many people who do. Rather, she continually explores what she wants to do next that plays to her interests and pays well, recognizing that these will change and evolve over time. Having a portfolio of skills.
  • How to become a better leader. Lot of feedback on her book “Women Lead” – surveyed and interviewed thousands of women and men across three generations and industries. Learned that there’s something for everyone in all career stages. Book captures the stories of those successful in leadership.
  • Technology interest & expertise. New reality that work and careers would be influenced by technology. Originated from a career move from New York to California where she couldn’t get a job. Learned that she needed to adapt from fashion to technology.
  • Macro & micro workplace trends demanding proactive HR. Extreme longevity is a macro trend that HR needs to be cognizant of. Three micro trends:
    • Loyal worker is replaced by an entrepreneurial employee. Tracey advises HR and organizations to create the environment for employees to become entrepreneurial.
    • Longevity at a firm does not mean promotion. Contribution is more important than longevity. HR executives need to recognize this change and facilitate career growth without the traditional obstacles. 
    • Corporate culture is becoming a glue. Employees need to understand and engage in the corporate culture, irrespective of geography. Interaction and culture must be consistent across borders.
  • Traits and skills demanded for future HR Leader success. Communication skills, complex problem solving and ability to lead teams. Results from research for her book “Women Lead’ - women ranked women highest on all ten leadership skills, characteristics and attributes measured. Men did not rank men highest. Suggests that workforce is ready for women leaders.  Younger generation (Gen X and Gen Y) were impartial to leader gender. Rather, they want to see a really good leader.
  • HR leaders are accustomed to working in hierarchical organizations and need to be aware of the problem of emulating past beliefs and practices of unconscious biases, which will prevent young people from growing.
  • HR advice from Tracey. Successful HR executives that she has met have rotated through different jobs and different experiences, taking control of their careers through lateral, vertical and horizontal career moves. HR Executives need to make sure employees get to where they want to go too, recognizing that leaders can be groomed from day one – not when they are in 30s and 40s.
  • Who does Tracey admire and why? Enjoys a broad variety of news, interesting shows, learning about startups and technology. Her mother and grandmother were both strong women and inspirational in her life. Mothers have emerged as significant role models in latest research.



We are all dealt a hand, it is up to us to play our aces and know where our jokers are .... and to play a really good hand for ourselves.”


Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

  • Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders by Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Courtney L. Vien and Caroline Molina-Ray.  Women Lead is an in-depth examination of women’s role in today’s workplace. Drawing on interviews with nearly 200 women leaders, and survey responses from more than 3000 male and female managers, the book explains 21st-century career trends and provides practical advice to help women excel in the new world of work.
  • Employed for Life: 21st-Century Career Trends by Tracey Wilen, Courtney L. Vien and Gary Daugenti. Employed for Life: 21st-Century Career Trends is the first book to explore career development from the viewpoints of firm managers, HR professionals, recruiters, job seekers, and employees. It examines such topics as new developments in recruiting and career development; the ways social, cultural, and technological forces have changed careers; and best practices for job hunting and career planning. The authors use primary and secondary research to provide insight on how the nature of work has changed and what that means for individuals' career plans. Employed for Life shares career advice from recruiters and HR professionals and provides a framework that readers can use to ensure lifelong employment.

To Follow Tracey Wilen

Tracey's Question to HR Studio Podcast Group Members

Dr Tracey Wilen HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Dr Tracey Wilen HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Monday, April 18, 2016 - 8:00am
Linda Hlavac
Dr. Tracey Wilen
HR Studio Podcast