Career advice for millennials (and really, anyone) from Margaret Heffernan

In her career, Margaret Heffernan has been the CEO of five businesses. What advice does she have for people just starting their careers? First: Get to know your coworkers. Photo: Paul Clarke/TED
It’s a month after graduation, which means the luckiest new college grads are a month deep into internships and entry-level jobs. How to stand out? Business writer Margaret Heffernan suggests: Start by taking a coffee break with your coworkers. Companies grow best, she suggests, when workers are connected by social bonds.
Heffernan’s TED Book, Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes, rounds up the academic research that backs up her workplace-tested insights. She’s calling for managers to feed workers’ hunger for connection — and for workers to recognize that coffee breaks and hallway chats can actually make them more valuable, and valued, employees. (Learn more in her TED Talk, “Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work.”)
Last week, just before Heffernan hosted the TED@BCG conference, she sat down with curator Juliet Blake to offer advice for young people just starting their careers. Insights from their conversation:
The job requirement

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TED@BCG focuses on the many meanings of growth

Douglas Beal kicked off TED@BCG with a look at how growth in terms of GDP doesn’t always align with growth in terms of citizen well-being. Photo: Paul Clarke/TED
Growth is usually a good thing. For a person, it means more wisdom; for a business, it means more profit; for a country, it means increased prosperity. But growth has a darker side too: aging, a sense of impersonality, waste and pollution. At TED@BCG — the latest TED Institute event, held on June 30, 2015, at Old Billingsgate Market in London — speakers explored both edges of this term. In three sessions of talks, curated by Juliet Blake and hosted by Margaret Heffernan, speakers shared their insights on what it means to move “Onwards & Upwards: In Pursuit of Growth.” Below, a taste of each talk.
After opening remarks from Rich Lesser, BCG’s President and CEO, great moments from the talks in session 1:
“Which country do you think is growing faster: China or Poland? … It’s actually Poland. … Poland is the best in converting its GDP growth into improved well-being.” .
—Douglas Beal on why leaders should

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