Prab and I know each other from WeWork. We both joined when the company was still run by Adam Neumann, and everything was growing at an insane pace. In 2019 when our manager was let go, we had a few minutes to sync with him and say goodbye - then we walked quietly to a room on the floor below to plan what's next for the team and us.
We closed the door and decided to vent until we get it out of our system so we'll be able to put on a good face and not create any unnecessary concerns. Then we headed together to meet the team and started a super transparent communication process and a restructure.
Before that day, Prab and I were peers. He became my boss and my partner in managing change on that day. To this day, we keep in touch, I consult with him, and we have a lot of respect towards each other professionally and personally as we've seen each other on good and bad days.
Give me your philosophy to "Starting from Scratch"
"Today, there are fewer and fewer situations where people stay in a career for a long period, and we need to get comfortable making sudden or often changes. This means career management is now a job. What I experience is that people reactively manage their careers. Something happened at your job, so you look for your next thing, your boss says something wrong you react by looking for a job. Today you need to be reactive, but not many are wired this way and lack the necessary confidence to constantly shop around. I see people with little experience having big egos and lots of followers doing well because they shop a lot. The average person doesn't have that, and they become a needle in the haystack".
How do you suggest starting to change?
"I really think people need to invest more in knowing themselves. Really, know thyself! Write down everything you know about yourself as a human and professional. Break down your skills, what you are good at and what you lack - spend time making this list.
Then, spend time making yourself better, both as a person and as an employee. I come from a different generation, where what you do, makes you who you are, and that's how you gain respect. These days there is "fast money" and "crypto millionaires." To survive, you need to invest in having real skills. It's a journey."
Going through change requires resilience. How is that built?
"You and I had some terrible days at work! What kept me going was my wife and children. One needs to do the hard work. There's no "me at work" and "me at home". You can't silo the two. Resilience comes from a deep crossover of yourself at work and outside, as a human, not just as a professional. Write down what makes you happy outside of work and invest in that as well. Meet friends, spend time with your family, build a more wholesome self, and then you gain a certain confidence that if something happens at work, it doesn't rock your whole world."
What is the most helpful tip on being better that you can share?
Prab pulls a post-it from above his screen and shows it to me. "Just decide what you need to be better at, write it down and put it in place you can't miss. People aren't visible to their flaws, and I need a constant reminder, so it's here, in front of me every day."