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Takeaways from the Fireside Chat with Gorick Ng (and the first 25 pages of his book)

Profile picture of Bagavan SivamBagavan Sivam
May 5, 2021Last updated May 7, 202110 min read

So recently I was able to attend a fireside chat with Gorick Ng, the author of "The Unspoken Rules" and it was 🔥 (I guess that's why its called a fire-side chat 😂)

This man dropped tons of knowledge bombs throughout the chat and throughout his book, and I thought I would share it with you guys!

Here are some of the biggest takeaways/learnings from "The Unspoken Rules" by Gorick Ng.

The Three Cs

One of the biggest things that his book touches on throughout the book is the 3 Cs: Competence, Compatability, and Commitment.

Credit: The Unspoken Rules by Gorick Ng

The best way to get promoted/hired is to make sure that your manager or boss says "Yes" to all three of these questions. If not all of them are a yes, then you won't make it :(

The Spectrum

Now, these three Cs don't exist in a binary state. Meaning, it isn't non-competent and component; incompatible and compatible; or not committed and committed.

These all exist on a spectrum.

This means that overshooting one (or all) of these Cs can be bad as many would start to see you as a threat as opposed to a friend. However, at the same time, you shouldn't be undershooting it. If you do, then you would be seen as lazy and as a fool as you aren't taking work seriously.

You have to find that perfect sweet spot in-between.

Performance vs. Potential

Another factor that is used when determining whether you will get promoted or not is the concept of your performance and your potential. You need to be good at both of these things!

If you are great at what you are doing right now, but you don't have that much potential, then well... your manager won't see you as a person to get promoted.

If you show people that you can do further than what is asked of you, then that shows that you have the potential to do something more.

How do I show this "potential"?

The easiest way to show this potential is really by just asking other coworkers and other people if they need any help with anything (you still don't want to come off as threatening).

Another thing you can do is when you provided with work that you have to do, go beyond and go further into how the company can make more money. If you logically think that what you are doing isn't too important compared to doing something else, then tell the manager that you should be focusing on that thing next.

This will show them that you can work out of your comfort zone and be successful in any other area of the workplace.

How to apply for other jobs without the "required experience"

During the fireside chat, one of the questions that popped up was related to when applying for jobs and/or internships. Generally, if you are applying for something there would be this requirement of the fact that you have been already had prior experience.

You must have 5 years of experience with X.

Now, getting these requirements are tough, especially since you are new to your career. You get caught in a loop where in order to start working at Google, you need to already have prior experience working with something like Google when you've only worked at Pizza Hut.

This makes starting your career even harder.

However, during the fireside chat with Gorick, he talked about different ways to escape this loop. Now, depending on how long you have to apply for these positions, the things that you do may vary.


Now, when you have a specific job you want to find but you don't have that much time to do anything, you can use the fill-in-the-blank framework to translate what you've done in another position into this position you are applying for. An example of doing this is by doing the following:

A is just like B, the only difference is C.

Now, this is where you find the similarities between your current/previous job (B) and translate that to how it is like the job your applying for (A). However, these jobs are still not the same job, and so you have to identify the difference between them (C).

"Working in marketing at Google is just like working at my local pizza shop. The only difference is selling to large corporate clients instead of individuals."

Now although working at Google and working at a pizza shop are completely different things, you can still see that you can twist your words a bit to make them seem very similar.


Now when it comes to the long-term you can instead focus more on your resume and experience. Whenever you are going through an experience, you always want to do the following prior to and even during the experience:

Set goals for yourself that will show that you've improved/grown

"By the end of this experience, I want to have...

  • Owned a project

  • Went to X amount of meetings

  • ....

  • Written Y amount of blog posts"

This way, you have goals that you want to complete so that you don't just blindly enter through that job/experience.

Resume Building

Resumes are one of the most important pieces of work you have because it is what tells everything about you and your experience.

Have a list on a google doc or something that has what you've done during your internship/experience as you go on.

This is extremely important because sometimes after the whole thing, you tend to forget what you did and it starts to make your experience less accurate.

These are pretty much two different ways to bypass that required experience when applying for jobs/internships.

Maintaining/Building your Network

This part is extremely important. You won't become successful or do anything, without people you know.

These people can help you open gates to new opportunities, write referrals about you (good impressions), and will overall just allow you to meet new people(warm outreaches).

The best way to build networks is by helping your coworkers with anything. Volunteer for assignments - "Would I be helpful if I did X?" / "How can I be helpful?". Just make sure you aren't overshooting yourself (part of the spectrum of compatibility), otherwise it would appear threatening.

Whenever you are leaving an experience/workspace, you should always send a goodbye email to everyone. This way you can still keep in touch with them and maintain that network.

"The people who leave behind with the best reputation are the ones that set up other teams for success" - Gorick Ng (I think... it was something like that at least)

Process for building the relationships

Starting out in a workplace can be hard to build relationships which is why you should follow this process (or something along the lines of this):

Volunteer/Interact - "Is there anything I can keep an eye out you for?" (Generally during meetings/ 1-on-1s). This is an easy way to keep in contact with this person and build a relationship with them

Another way you can get these relationships is by "making friends on the playground".

In kindergarten and younger grades, almost everyone is playing at the playground. They aren't inside the class (during recess at least). So, just make sure you are at that playground too, and just start off with introducing yourself.

Like I mentioned before, maintaining these networks and building new ones are only going to help set yourself up for success.

But I work in a virtual workspace?

Now, times have changed and so many people do have virtual workspaces. However, the rules are really similar. Even if you can't really talk to them during work, you can just message them on LinkedIn saying something like: "Hey, we actually work together at _____, and I noticed that you and I do have a bit in common like x, y and z. I would love to get to know you better and help you out with anything" (I made this up on the spot, so it's not the greatest). This way, you can connect with them and start following the proccess mentioned above just through zoom calls instead.

Being Subjective vs. Objective

Whenever you are at an interview or are applying to different jobs, it is always important that you stay objective instead of subjective. When you are being subjective you are basing your own opinion, and that isn't that credible (it will also just make you look like you're "showing off").

Going back to the 3 Cs, the best way to avoid overshooting you should make sure you are being objective.

Okay, but what do I mean?

"I am super great in math (subjective)" vs. "I won the 2018 international math contest (objective)" - This is just made up, it isn't true... or is it?😳

You see, when you are being objective, you are stating facts which is more credible that will then help people see that, in this case, you are great at math. When you are objective you are also speaking the truth and not selling yourself. And trust me... no one likes a sellout. No one.

Another way to avoid being subjective is by not being your own judge - just let other people judge who you are and make sure you show them who you are (this can also be useful with referral letters - another reason why you should build your network + reputation).

When applying for jobs, there are things that are objective, and things that are subjective.

Objective - Resume, ACT, SAT, Exams, etc.

Subjective - Essays (depending on the context, but generally subjective)

Reference letters - these are a bit of both, but more on the objective side (since it's someone else).

Gorick's Advice for teens that want to start their career

Alright, so one of the questions asked in this fireside conversation, was related to how teens/young adults can start their careeer. Here are some of the key pointers:

  • Start early - getting different experiences as early as possible will allow you to adapt and learn more about certain topics. This will also help you apply that to future workspaces.

  • Broaden your "T" - Find a bunch of different areas in different fields to see what you are interested in early on. You don't want to be in your 30s working as a professor only to realize that you would rather be an accountant (okay, that was a bad example, but you get the idea).

That's all :)

Alright, I know this was a bit long but if you managed to read it all then congrats! :D

I would highly recommend checking out Gorick Ng's full book here (if you scroll to the bottom, you can get the first 25 pages for free). - Even though, I only read the first 25 pages, I still think that the whole book is going to have tons of knowledge bombs, and is going to be even better than the fireside chat!


Anything related to blogs and/or personal experience not fully related to the other subjects.