Google HR boss shares his best advice for succeeding in today's
Since Laszlo Bockbecame Google's senior vice president of people operations
in 2006, the company has grown from a workforce of 6,000 employees to
Today, it has more than 70 offices across 40 countries and receives more
than 2 million job applications every year.
In that same time, it's secured a comfortable No. 1 spot atop several
rankings of the best places to work.
Bock recently spoke about his new book about Google, "Work Rules!," with
venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Beyers(an
investor in Google since 1999) for a podcast episode of Voices of KPCB.
At one point in the conversation, Doerr asks Bock to share his best career
advice for a knowledge worker, and Bock has an unorthodox answer, which we've
edited for clarity:
The conventional wisdom on how to manage your career is to specialize. They
talk about the T-Model, where you finish school and you spend your first 10
years specializing, and then 10 years out you get good, and then you become a
general manager (that's the top of the T). I have completely the opposite
Because everyone's doing that. So if you want to win, you need to do
In the first 10 years of your career, try a lot of different things. Don't
overthink it. Experiment. Work in different companies. Be in a startup; be in a
big company. Work for a branded company; work for somebody nobody's heard of.
Work for a nonprofit. You're going to get a level of breadth that somebody who's
specialized won't have.
Ten years in, by the time you're around 30, you should declare your
"major." That's when you decide here's "what I want to be when I grow up," and
If you want to be a user interface designer, you're going to be competing
against a bunch of people who have been doing that for 10 years, and they're a
dime a dozen. You're going to come in having done something like working for a
historical society or having traveled the world, and you're going to be
Because you're different you're going to have an advantage with the insight
you can bring. The cool things are happening at the intersections of fields, not
deep, deep, deep in a field — with a few exceptions.
And then in your next 10 years, you accelerate.
In the third decade of your career, you sort of reap the rewards. You're
C-level in a company, or you're a founder. And you just do your own thing.