Career Decisions: Radical Candor Podcast

Radical Decisions: Cutting Through Career Chaos 6 | 19

How do you decide on a career? Join Kim and Amy to delve deep into the concept of choice overload, a common trap for many facing career decisions. They define choice overload and how it affects our ability to make satisfying career choices. This episode of the Radical Candor podcast is a must-listen for anyone who feels stuck at a career crossroads or overwhelmed by the multitude of paths available.

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Radical Candor Podcast: Episode at a Glance


@radicalcandorofficial What job would you never want to do no matter how much you got paid? #radicalcandor #podcastclips #careertiktok #mayonnaise #phobia ♬ original sound – Radical Candor

Kim and Amy discuss the challenges of making career choices and prioritizing values in a world of near-infinite options. They emphasized the importance of taking the next step and making choices, rather than getting bogged down in analysis paralysis. They also share their personal experiences and insights on discovering one’s true passion and creating a fulfilling life. They also reveal their visions for their future careers and personal lives, highlighting the importance of having a supportive environment to achieve their goals.

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I’m kind of obsessed. I’ve noticed this over the years, obsessed with the idea of jobs that have an end. I feel like almost everybody has a job that is never ending. There is no mountaintop. It’s just a constant climb. And I think that if you’re working in a garden, or if you’re doing something like making a suit, you go, and that’s it. And you’re done. And there it is. That’s the final product. And you can do another one or you can stop forever, but at least you have that thing. Like you produce something. And I think that that has to be extremely satisfying.”

  1. Don’t get paralyzed by too many choices. Make your choice, try to make it work, and don’t be afraid to quit if it doesn’t work, it’s OK.
  2. Beware the hedonic treadmill of money. So go ahead and adjust your desires to your income and your income to your desires. It’s OK to have desires. Just don’t be so overwhelmed by them.
  3. Both maximizing and satisficing can work. If you’re a planner, plan, and if you’re opportunistic, be opportunistic. My friend who was a planner had a great career. And if I do say so myself, I also had a great career, even though I was not a planner.

The TLDR Radical Candor Podcast Transcript


@radicalcandorofficial What job would you never want to do no matter how much you got paid? #radicalcandor #podcastclips #careertiktok #mayonnaise #phobia ♬ original sound – Radical Candor

[00:00:00] Kim Scott: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Radical Candor podcast. I’m Kim Scott. 

[00:00:08] Amy Sandler: I’m Amy Sandler. Today, Jason is off on vacation and it’s just Kim and I talking career choice overload. So many choices, what if I choose the wrong career path? We wanted to start with a definition of what we’re actually talking about today. So, there was an article, uh, in the Decision Lab,, we’ll put that in the show notes. And it defines choice overload, also known as over choice, choice paralysis, or the paradox of choice. I’m getting more and more nervous as I read each word. People get overwhelmed when they’re presented with many options.

[00:00:44] While we tend to assume that more choice is a good thing, research has shown that in many cases, we have a harder time choosing from a larger array of options. And even just putting this podcast together, there were so many articles. I started going to them rabbit hole after rabbit hole. I just had to stop and focus on this one article. Kim, where are you when it comes just in general to feeling overloaded by choices and decision making? 

[00:01:11] Kim Scott: So before I jump in and answer that, I just want to take a moment to express a little bit of gratitude, uh, for all of you, for you, Amy, and Brandi, for coming up with this great topic. I’ve been looking forward all day to having this conversation, and I also want to thank all our listeners. Because I don’t think we would have taken the time to have this conversation if we didn’t think all of you listeners would be listening to us having it, so, um, a moment. I know there’s so many things wrong with the world right now, but podcasting is awesome. Nick, thank you for making us sound good, uh, I just want to, like, start off with some radical positivity, alright. So.

[00:01:53] Amy Sandler: Can I say thank you? Yes. I appreciate that. 

[00:01:55] Kim Scott: To answer the question that you asked me, um, before I took us on the little gratitude, uh, journey is, uh, it is really, it is, I just want to acknowledge, like, it’s, I would say I tend to just make a decision so that I don’t have to think about it too long. Uh, and so I, would say at a certain point, I overcame my career paralysis. But I did early in my career, I remember I wrote a whole essay about the luxury of necessity. Uh, because I felt burdened by having so many choices, but I felt like that’s a privilege, not a, I shouldn’t feel burdened, I should feel grateful, and yet it still was, uh, it still did make it hard, um. And then I remember a friend of mine who was watching me with these struggles sent me this article, which we’ll also try to dig up and put in the show notes. But this was early in my career, so it may be hard to find online, uh, about Balaam’s Ass.

[00:03:00] It was in the New Yorker, and it was about this donkey that was in between two equally giant, delicious bales of hay and the donkey starved because he couldn’t decide which one to go eat from. And I felt, I have felt that way often at different points in my career. 

[00:03:18] Amy Sandler: There’s something, you know, there, the story and there was kind of the laughter and we actually had a podcast about kind of nervous laughter. And it’s, I find that story just so poignant because I feel like it’s such a depiction of where we are now with so much information and so much choice. And I know you talk a lot about sort of late-stage capitalism and what that actually means. But, you know, especially for people that might feel overwhelmed starting at the beginning of their career, or maybe you’ve recently been laid off or you’re looking for a new career. Just that feeling of overwhelm that if I go in one direction, I’m sort of closing all of these doors behind you.

[00:03:55] And I thought, I found some, some, if not comfort, just some, my brain appreciated reading this idea of that we can be maximizers or satis, and I think the word is pronounced satisficers. I don’t know, Kim. 

[00:04:08] Kim Scott: Yes. Satisficers. 

[00:04:09] Amy Sandler: Satisficers, which I have never. 

[00:04:11] Kim Scott: That’s how I’ve always said it.

[00:04:12] Amy Sandler: I’ve never actually used the word out loud. Um, but, uh, this is again from this, uh, piece, uh, called, uh, in the Decision Lab about choice overload. Some people, what we call maximizers, people who feel compelled to search until they find the best option available. Maximizers must compare all their choices and evaluate alternatives on a whole host of attributes before they feel ready to decide. And I just have to pause there. I feel like that’s certainly something that has always been, I have defined myself that way. And even just taking jobs that were, you know, research analysts and research associate and doing things that really going into the details and being a high context person. And, you know, uh, the article goes on to say that maximizing isn’t inherently bad.

[00:05:02] It can lead people to compare all their options more systematically than they might otherwise, which can help them make more informed decisions. But in a world of near infinite choice, maximizing can create several problems driving us to seek out more and more alternatives for our consideration and pushing us into choice overload. Which is what the, uh, the ass or donkey in the story was, sounds like even just with two choices was facing. But they also, they contrast this with satisficers, folks just looking for something that meets their basic requirements. Satisficers are content with good and don’t feel the need to seek out the best. And it goes on to say that satisficers aren’t necessarily bothered by an abundance of options because they have no compulsion to research each one of them. 

[00:05:52] Kim Scott: So, yeah, this is tricky, uh, because I think we all do some of both. I mean, at different points we are all satisficers, and at other points we are all maximizers. Um, are you, do you have a guess as to which bucket I would put myself in most of the time?

[00:06:15] Amy Sandler: My guess for you is that, um, in most things, uh, especially with work that you would be a satisficer, that you are going to kind of, you know, uh, focus on get stuff done and jump in and get going. And I think that maybe when it comes to, uh, personal life or family things, there might be some more personal things where you might be a maximizer. Um, I don’t know. I’m just positing. 

[00:06:46] Kim Scott: I think I actually am in my heart of hearts, a maximizer. Uh, but as a result of feeling stuck between, you know, the unhappiness that my tendency to maximize caused me has forced me to learn satisficing habits. 

[00:07:09] In fact, I remember at one point when, I don’t remember which book, which of Gretchen Rubin’s books, I think it’s The Happiness Project, must be. She talks in that book about the value of learning how to satisfice. I mean, I am actually, obsessive, uh, in many, many ways. But the, one of the ways that I manage my obsessive tendency is just to sort of do something, you know. Uh, almost flip a coin, sometimes, rather than, uh, just to make a decision.

[00:07:48] And sometimes as a result, I make decisions too fast. I remember, uh, at one point, uh, in my career, maybe a couple of years after we got out of business school, I was talking to a colleague of mine who was absolutely a maximizer. And she was talking to me about her decision process for what job she was going to take.

[00:08:11] And I mean, I, you know, it was intimidating. I was like, oh my gosh, you are really thinking much more deeply about this. Like I’ll try to generate three or four, you know, options, and I’ll at some point just choose one, uh, based on what my gut tells me. Uh, because if I had done all that research, I would never have been able to stop. Like sometimes, a friend of mine gave me a notebook that says, if I start, I may never stop. And so sometimes I just don’t even start analyzing. I just make a choice. 

[00:08:47] Amy Sandler: I’m just thinking of that notebook because I have so many like nice fancy notebooks that I’m afraid to actually start writing in because then they’re, it’s going to be like not as pretty handwriting as like what that, what my vision of what should be in the notebook.

[00:09:01] So there’s something here with like procrastination and perfectionism. You know, as you were talking, Kim, with, maximizing and satisficing, I mean, I feel like for me, the last few decades of all of the different healing techniques and meditation and mindfulness and breath work and Qigong and all of this different stuff has been to try to counteract the overthinking tendencies of maximizing.

[00:09:27] And I’m, what’s coming up is when we think about career choice as being such an important choice, whether it’s where am I going to live or what career am I going to have? There’s sort of these big-ticket items that we feel are potentially irreversible. Um, or if I go on this path, you know, am I shutting down all of these other options versus where should I go to lunch and, you know, can I send this email without spending too much time, etcetera?

[00:09:52] I feel like I do that for all of the things, whether it’s the email with type, a typo, I don’t want to have a typo in the email, to the decisions. And so it’s like almost the same level of thought process, whether big or small. And I don’t know how you think about that for yourself. Because efficiency is so important for you, you’re not going to spend a lot of time replying to an email or some other things that might not be as important. 

[00:10:16] Kim Scott: Well, I mean, it’s not that replying to the email is unimportant. It’s just, I just, I find that if I block time, block time in my calendar, then I can’t spend much time on emails because I want to spend X number of hours writing and therefore I, and I want to spend, you know, I want to have dinner with the family and I want to take a walk. And if I put all those things I want to do in calendar, that only leaves a little bit of time for email. And so I have to go fast. It’s not, you know, it’s not that it’s unimportant. But, 

[00:10:50] Amy Sandler: But you have, you have made some kind of prioritization in values. Cause even when people think about career decision making, I mean, for you, the walking is important. The time with the family is important. The writing is important. So you, there’s some prioritization that might be underneath that? 

[00:11:06] Kim Scott: Yeah, I mean, yes, obviously there’s some prioritization. But, I also think, like, I remember there was, again, early in my career, I was wrestling with what to do next and what did I really want to do?

[00:11:21] And I think for me, part of the problem was that what I really wanted to do was read and write novels. And, uh, but I didn’t want to go into academia. Because I did not want to read or write literary criticism. I wanted to read and write novels. And there wasn’t really a career that would pay me to do that. And so I, you know, I was like trying to figure it out. Uh, and I think I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating, this therapist said to me, you know, only about five percent of us know what we want to do with our lives. Know what we want to do when we grow up and they confuse the hell out of the rest of us.

[00:12:06] And so don’t feel like you need to know what you want to do. Just like take the next step. This was career advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald. He said, just don’t stub your toe. Don’t spend so much time thinking about things. Just take the next step. Um, because you can’t, I mean, life is gonna throw so many, uh, obstacles your way, so many surprises your way, so many wonderful things, so many terrible things your way, like you, you can’t predict it.

[00:12:37] At a certain point, I mean, another time I remember struggling with this choice was where did I want to go to college? And I hadn’t even been accepted anywhere to college, let me hasten to add. Uh, and I was already agonizing about where I wanted to go to college and sort of obsessing over it. And finally, someone said, look, you’re gonna make a choice, and then you’re going to make that choice the right choice. So just do the next thing, make the next choice, and then get the most out of it. And if it’s not working, you can try something different. Um, there was a young man who I love recently came over, relative, came over, uh, to talk to my husband and me about like his future.

[00:13:24] He was just about to go to college, he’s seventeen. And he said, you know, everybody’s like you have to have this vocation. And why can’t I just get a job that is okay, that pays the rent. Like what, is there anything wrong with that? And no, there’s everything right with that because the thing that you love may not pay, which it didn’t for me. I mean, novel reading and writing doesn’t pay. I’ve written several novels. None of them have been published. 

[00:13:58] Amy Sandler: Um, so Bill Burnett, who, do you know Bill Burnett from the Life Design Lab at Stanford, Kim? I don’t know if you’ve ever, uh, and so this whole idea of like designing your life, we’ll put it in the show notes. There’s a great, uh, TEDx talk, but one of the reframes that he does around this idea of designing your life is that rather than what do you want to be when you grow up, it’s this who or what do you want to grow into? And the quote, you know, life is all about growth and change, it’s not static. Um, and if I may bring in Rainer Maria Rilke as one likes to in these conversations, um, it’s a, it’s about, you know, you know, living into the questions, like, don’t expect to answer all the questions now. And to your point, there’s no way that, you know, in nineteen ninety-six, you might have known that Radical Candor was down the road.

[00:14:49] And so it was just sort of the one step in front of the other. But there’s something for me about, um, that I really like about that reframe of who or what do you want to grow into, and what is that one next step, um, that’s going to help you grow into that. In some ways it’s about, you know, career conversations. Um, there was another line that I really appreciated that was in, uh, this, uh, Decision Lab piece. 

[00:15:14] Kim Scott: Sorry, before we move on from that, can I say something? 

[00:15:17] Amy Sandler: Please. 

[00:15:17] Kim Scott: I think it’s also really important to ask yourself, what do I like to do? Uh, and this is, this sounds like, like, who do I want to be? Um, is one, is an important question to ask, but also what do I like to do, uh, can give you a good sense of what you can do to take the next step towards becoming who you want to become.

[00:15:41] Uh, and I remember when we first, I don’t know if you remember this, but right before we went to business school, they gave us this sort of, I don’t know, test. It was a bunch of, you know, would you rather do this or do that? Would you rather do this or do that? Uh, to try to help you identify what career might be interesting. And of all the things they suggested, the only thing that sounded like what I really genuinely like to do was what this quiz called, sit around and talk about the meaning of life, etcetera. 

[00:16:16] I was like, like just the way they phrased it. It was like, well, that is really what I like to do, but it’s clear that this quiz doesn’t have a lot of time for sitting around and talking about the meaning of life, etcetera. Um.

[00:16:31] Amy Sandler: I don’t know what to say that I don’t recall that test, but I, 

[00:16:34] Kim Scott: Oh my gosh, I recall it so vividly. And then when, then they had this like, um, first week of school, like before we even started classes as we’re like getting to know each other, they put us into these little groups. And in the little groups, the guy like read the tea leaves from this fill in the, you know, circle, you know, fill in the bubble of what you like to do.

[00:16:59] And he, you know, what it, they all wanted to go out and, you know, make a lot of money. And he looked at mine and he said, huh, we usually don’t see a profile like that this year. And then without, you know, he kind of looks up at me and he says, maybe fashion design. 

[00:17:16] Amy Sandler: Oh my god. 

[00:17:17] Kim Scott: And all he had seen was my gender. And then everyone in the group burst out laughing, you know, and they’re like, look at her clothes, dude. And he was like, well, maybe furniture design. I was like, oh my gosh. I’m paying eight thousand dollars for this boneheaded advice. Um, anyway. 

[00:17:37] Amy Sandler: No, well, I, it’s so interesting. I mean, I, maybe I didn’t get that questionnaire ’cause I was so busy having to take accounting and, um, finance beforehand over the summer. 

[00:17:46] Kim Scott: Oh I had to do that too, believe me. At Memphis State University. I took accounting and statistics. 

[00:17:51] Amy Sandler: But I really appreciate what you are saying about, um, you know, not just who do you want to be. For me, the, who do you want to be is really about like, what are the activities of a day that you would really enjoy doing? Like what are the parts of a job? So what are those parts that, you know, for me, if it’s, you know, it’s not just about the actual, um, work. But it could be about, oh, well, I really like working on a project with other people.

[00:18:15] So I like collaborating. There might be some other ways that I could get to that sort of spirit of collaborating beyond just my, the specific thing that I’m doing. So I really appreciate that, that frame. Uh, Kim, you know, when you were looking at your kind of career trajectory and history, I know that you’ve expressed, uh, a certain lack of fondness or ability for, uh, being at a bank teller. But, you know, just even as you moved through your career in different roles.

[00:18:50] Were you aware, do you think you were aware at the time, like, oh, this is a time when I really just have to focus on, um, the top priority is just earning money or the top priority is, you know, stability for my family. Like, do you feel like what was almost like the through line of your self-awareness of like why you were choosing those jobs, or was it almost like not until after you had been through those jobs that you started connecting the dots of what those jobs were.

[00:19:19] Kim Scott: I think that I was pretty conscious of, I sort of feel like I was always trying to create time and space for my writing. That was the thing I was optimizing for. And I decided pretty early in my career, that the best way to do that was to make as much money as quickly as possible so that I could quit working, which is not what I recommend that most people do. But that was what, that was sort of pretty 

[00:19:48] Amy Sandler: But why would you not recommend it if it worked for you?

[00:19:52] Kim Scott: Um, I mean, I got extremely lucky that it worked for me, uh, you know, I won the career lottery and my husband also won the career lottery. Uh, so it could be the case that I’m still, you know, working away in a job, uh, you know, that I hate. But I think that the, and I never really, well, there were a couple of jobs I hated, but for the most part, I liked the jobs.

[00:20:18] What I was trying to do was make a reasonable living. Uh, not, uh, the other thing that was very important to me early on was not to get too wedded to a lifestyle that was gonna put me on the hedonic treadmill. Where I was always having to make more and more and more money, where, you know, I wanted to decide what was gonna be enough, and then I was never gonna do anything for money ever again, um, and I think that was important.

[00:20:45] So thinking about, I mean, very early, I was fifteen, uh, my mother took me to China. And I grew up in Memphis. I had never even been to New York City or Europe or like, I had never been really out of the South. I had been to Memphis, and I had been to this little town in Florida called Destin. And those were the places I had gone.

[00:21:07] Maybe, I guess I had also gone to New Orleans. Um, so I had not traveled, uh, too much. And then my mother took me to China when I was fifteen. So one of these, uh, sort of eye opening trips, uh, I, uh, it really helped me understand, uh, the world very differently. And there was a man on the trip, we were walking on the Great Wall of China, and this man said to me, there are two ways to be wealthy. One is to adjust your desires to your income, and the other is to adjust your income to your desires. And if you don’t want to be, uh, you know, if you don’t want to be beholden to money, you’ve got to be able to do both. And there were times in my career when I was writing, I remember I was writing, I was living in this really horrible rent control department on the fifth floor walk-up.

[00:22:05] Smelly, smelly in New York City, a couple of days a week, a couple of, yeah, maybe twice a week there would be a lot of police activity on the stairwell. It was not, I did not feel safe in that place. I’ll put it that way. Uh, and I realized at that point I had gone too far in trying to adjust my desires to my income and I needed to work on the income part of the equation. And that was part of what prompted me to take the job at Google, you know, and that worked. That was very, but like you can’t always count on winning the job lottery. So try for it for sure. Um, but I think that it is, to me, what I was always looking for was the freedom to read and write. Freedom to read novels and write novels. Uh, and I, you know, I would say, I have now gotten what I wanted . And that’s a great, that is an awesome feeling. 

[00:23:03] Amy Sandler: It’s so interesting. So back to that quote about, you know, only about five percent of people have a real vocation in life and they confuse the hell out of the rest of us. I mean, in a way that vocation, that desire of being free to read and write, um, was a passion that’s, that was driving you in some ways. Would you agree with that? 

[00:23:25] Kim Scott: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. In fact, it was funny. I was having dinner with Richard Tedlow, who was a professor of mine at business school, and then we worked at Apple together. And Richard was one of those incredible professors who really took the time to get to know his students. And he pulled, this was, I was having dinner with him many years after graduating from business school, like a de, more than a decade. And he pulled out the class card that he had me write for his class.

[00:23:54] He had kept everybody’s class card all these years. And he said, let me read to you what you wrote you really wanted to do with your career. And I had written down, I want to write a great novel. That was what I wrote in my business, like I was stunned that I had actually written that down for my business school professor, but I had, and he had the proof.

[00:24:18] Amy Sandler: I love that. I also find it so touching that, that he kept that. And, um, 

[00:24:23] Kim Scott: Not just mine. I mean, he kept everybody’s. 

[00:24:26] Amy Sandler: I’m a little sad that the original person, um, was putting you into a furniture design career. We really wanted to just write that novel. 

[00:24:34] Kim Scott: Look, you gotta take the good with the bad. 

[00:24:36] Amy Sandler: That’s right.

[00:24:37] But I think there’s something really cool about those kinds of exercises. There’s an exercise that, um, that Bill Burnett from the Life Design Lab has mentioned. Do you want to hear about this exercise? 

[00:24:50] Kim Scott: Yeah, yeah. 

[00:24:50] Amy Sandler: Sort of envisioning like three possible futures. So life, number one, this is the life and job that you’re currently living and you just make it better. So you kind of put in all the bucket list stuff. So if you want to go to the Galapagos or write a book, for example, um, and so it’s basically like your life right now, but things go really great. And they include the stuff that you want. 

[00:25:13] Kim Scott: Sort of like the dreams conversation. 

[00:25:15] Amy Sandler: It is kind of like, yeah, exactly. Like where are you now? But like you sort of add in some of those things that you’re really looking for. Then there’s number two. And that your job just doesn’t exist, um, which I think a lot of people could relate to, like, all of a sudden AI is here, your job has disappeared. So what are you going to do instead?

[00:25:34] So if life number one, like if that’s not an option, what would you do? Um, and that starts to get some, I think, imagination going. And then life number three, he defines this as kind of a wild card plan. So if you didn’t have to worry about money, um, which is obviously a big if, but all of a sudden you had enough money, you know, not sort of over the top wealthy. But enough to live on, like, what would you do? Right?

[00:25:56] And he adds also, if you knew no one would laugh at you. Um, so whatever that means in terms of societal expectations. But you know, we’re studying butterflies or like being a bartender, um, editor’s note, I did go to the Boston Bartenders School after graduating. 

[00:26:13] Kim Scott: Wow. You have done a lot of things, Amy.

[00:26:14] Amy Sandler: Well, this was after graduating from business school. And then I learned terribly that’s 

[00:26:18] Kim Scott: Film school and bartending. 

[00:26:19] Amy Sandler: Yes. Well, the bartending career was quite sad and short because they didn’t want people who went to Boston Bartender School. They wanted people with experience. Um, and as Brandi shared, those people never get hired.

[00:26:30] Yeah. I was like a reject that I had my MBA and my uh, BBS. So, um, so to go back to this kind of thought experiment, is that when people do, and he calls them sort of odyssey plans, they realize like all three of these plans are actually really interesting and doable. Um, and that there are things that have gotten lost in the way, um, as we kind of get into our day-to-day stuff.

[00:26:55] And sometimes like, just as a result of doing this exercise, it puts you on another path. But I think even more important, it just, it’s a method to start to almost like ideate all the different, possibilities of what might be out there. And one, one way that I also like to do this when I’ve done these kinds of envisioning exercises is going, is like, how would I feel? Like, who is this person? Like, how does this person feel in the morning when they’re waking up? And so it’s making it like a sensory thing. So it’s not just like a cognitive visual thing. But it’s actually like, how does this person feel and like move into their day? And then, for me, that’s a way to actually bring some of that feeling, even if my life might not look like that yet, I’m actually trying to experience it based on, um, sort of that best possible outcomes. 

[00:27:41] Kim Scott: So should we do it? Should we do the exercise here? 

[00:27:45] Amy Sandler: Wow. All right. Um, Kim, imagine you’re sitting in a quiet room. How would you like to do it? 

[00:27:54] Kim Scott: Well, why don’t you ask me the question and then I’ll ask you the question.

[00:27:57] Amy Sandler: All right. So, 

[00:27:58] Kim Scott: Or vice versa, whatever you want to do. 

[00:28:00] Amy Sandler: Okay. I’ll start with you. Um, so basically like the life and job that you’re currently living and just kind of making it better. Um, and so what would be some of those ads? 

[00:28:14] Kim Scott: I think if I could, uh, spend eighty percent of, my goal, which I never achieved is to spend eighty percent of my time writing. Um, my current life is great. Like I have no re, I’m very happy with my current life. But if I could spend, if I could have consistently, a minimum of two and a maximum of three hour and a half long writing blocks every single day. That would be better than what I’ve got now, where I’m really just have a lot of time to write.

[00:28:45] And also, this is the thing that I realized recently. I haven’t been booking enough time for myself to read. I need to read more than I do. So, maybe I also need, let’s say two writing blocks and two reading blocks. If I could have three hours to read and three hours to write a day, that’d be awesome.

[00:29:06] Amy Sandler: Actually, I think just to pull it back out on the career front, you know, one of the exercises when we do this sort of envisioning the future, when you actually speak something out loud, um, not only does that sort of put it out there, but people want to help and then people know how they can help. 

[00:29:21] Kim Scott: Yeah.

[00:29:21] Amy Sandler: And the more specific, the better. We were just talking about this recently on a mentoring podcast, but actually that, that sparks some things. Okay. So Kim, life number two, uh, your job doesn’t exist. Uh, your job has disappeared. What are you going to do if all of a sudden, um, like sands through an hourglass, life number one has just faded away.

[00:29:41] Kim Scott: Uh, I think I would, uh, I think I would teach high school English. 

[00:29:46] Amy Sandler: Ooh. 

[00:29:47] Kim Scott: That’s what I would do. 

[00:29:48] Amy Sandler: And hi, tell me about high school, that, that age group. 

[00:29:51] Kim Scott: Well, so I really enjoy the teenage years. I am a rebel at heart and I love the rebellion. I love the smartassness. I really enjoy teenagers a lot. Uh, and I also really love, uh, novels, and, it, teaching high school English, there’s no literary criticism to deal with. Although I am beginning to understand why literary criticism exists. But mostly I just love reading the books, and so that’s what you do in high school English. So that’s why high school English. 

[00:30:30] Amy Sandler: I, well, I have to say that was on my original list of careers that, and having, I went to boarding school and one of the unique traits about the school that I went to, Exeter, was that they had something called the Harkness system. Where for every class except, uh, the sciences, everyone sat around like an oval table, the teachers as well as the students.

[00:30:51] And the philosophy was basically that everyone at the table, um, is intended to contribute and that everyone has an equal voice. And everyone can learn and teach. And also, you know, just as much for math as well as for literature. And I loved that idea, and especially at a time of, uh, when people, when young people are exploring those ideas for the very first time. And actually that their voices are just as important as the teacher’s. So I can see you thriving in a, uh, although you don’t like work, you don’t like doing workshops. 

[00:31:26] Kim Scott: No, but what, so my, one of my English teacher, high school English teachers had us read, what we did was we read novels and then the assignment was to write in our journal about like what was going on in our life and what the novel had to do with what was happening in our lives.

[00:31:43] And, uh, and I loved that. It was like so soothing to me. I felt like that was like one of those moments where what I really wanted to do and the work I was supposed to be doing were the same thing. And, uh, and so that’s, and it helped me with my writing. You know, maybe that’s, that was the moment when I conceded the desire, I just want to do this for the rest of my life, read and write.

[00:32:08] Uh, and also it was like, I was, uh, you know, as a lot of high schoolers are, I was going, you know, I was like struggling with maybe a little depression. And I remember feeling, I felt very lonely, very alone, and I was sort of, the book was, I don’t know about, I don’t remember what the novel was even now, but I remember writing about that feeling of being alone and wanting to have a life partner. And my teacher wrote in the margin, she said, read Hermann Hesse, that you know, there’s this, within me there is a place at which I can retreat at any time and be myself.

[00:32:51] She said, you need to find that place before you can find a life partner. And that was excellent advice for a sixteen year old. Uh, and it, you know, it took another, almost, you know, thirty, forty-five years, but eventually I found the place and then I found the partner. So, I think that it was, like, it was very meaningful to me for my whole life, that class. And I think high school is a time when, when, uh, when you need people like that in your life. 

[00:33:18] Amy Sandler: You know, as I hear you share that and even just reflecting on this conversation, those moments of those nuggets of wisdom, whether they’re coming from literature or philosophy or, um, you know, for me, I read a lot of Buddhist texts. Um, but so much wisdom and that, that line, which I, can you just say that line again, the Hermann Hesse line?

[00:33:39] Kim Scott: Yeah, it’s like within me, there’s a place to which I can retreat at any time and be myself. 

[00:33:45] Amy Sandler: Yeah. And I think especially now when there is so much choice and so much information coming at us, and I think that’s why, whether it’s going into nature. Or whether it’s, you know, finding those ways to access that, that inner knowing, um, and that we don’t have to do it ourselves. We, that practice is for ourselves. 

[00:34:04] Kim Scott: Yeah.

[00:34:04] Amy Sandler: But that there can be so much wisdom from those teachers and from those people along the way. Um, I would say my, uh, my life number two, if it all went away is, can you, uh, what, what was that line at business school with the, etcetera, just talking about the meaning of life, 

[00:34:21] Kim Scott: Talking about the meaning of life, etcetera, sitting around and talking about the meaning of life. 

[00:34:26] Amy Sandler: Yeah, sitting around. I would like, I would like the sitting around. I would like the talking about the meaning of life. And then I would just like an intermittent dance party in between. Um, so, and then, so I think that sounds, and I think our, as different as we are, I think we’re actually coming at it from pretty much the same thing.

[00:34:46] Amy Sandler: We’re, we’re, now, maybe we’ll do it in the Galapagos. All right, so now, 

[00:34:49] Kim Scott: You know, Amy, before on the intermittent dance party, when I was at Google, we had a jukebox and every day at two o’clock, we had five minutes of fun. And somebody put on music and everybody got up and danced.

[00:35:05] Amy Sandler: I love that. Do you think the kids even know what a jukebox is? 

[00:35:10] Kim Scott: Well, they may not, but I bet if they Google it, they can find some images. 

[00:35:14] Amy Sandler: Google it, somewhere next to a phone booth. 

[00:35:15] Kim Scott: We had like an old timey jukebox. 

[00:35:17] Amy Sandler: An old timey jukebox. That is so great. Well, I have to say, I was updating my LinkedIn profile. I’ve decided that this is the year I’m going to actually start spending a little more time on LinkedIn. And I was trying to find some, 

[00:35:29] Kim Scott: That doesn’t sound like five minutes of fun. With all respect to LinkedIn. 

[00:35:33] Amy Sandler: No, but I’m trying to make LinkedIn more fun because I have really, um, not had a good relationship with it. And I was trying to add like my sort of third thing to it. So the first one was, you know, Lead Coach and Podcast Host at Radical Candor. Then I said, you know, mindfulness and breath work. And then I was trying to do the third one, which was like making work fun since the early, or since the late twentieth century, like. But then I just sound tired. 

[00:36:00] Kim Scott: You can do bartender and film. 

[00:36:01] Amy Sandler: Failed bartender and, uh, 

[00:36:04] Kim Scott: Failed bartender. That is good. 

[00:36:05] Amy Sandler: Yeah, that, oh, that is good.

[00:36:07] Kim Scott: That’s your thing. Failed bartender. 

[00:36:08] Amy Sandler: See, this is why I need to collaborate. 

[00:36:10] Kim Scott: Okay. 

[00:36:10] Amy Sandler: Failed bartender. 

[00:36:11] Kim Scott: See, people, these are the benefits of these conversations. 

[00:36:13] Amy Sandler: These are the benefits. If you need a failed bartender for an intermittent dance partner. 

[00:36:17] Kim Scott: Amy is your woman. 

[00:36:18] Amy Sandler: I am, I am here for you. Life number three, wild card. You didn’t have to worry about money. Um, I feel like Kim, this feels somewhat similar to what you’re, or is there just even more reading and writing? 

[00:36:29] Kim Scott: No, no, no, no. I think if I, if there was, so here’s like the orthogonal. I think I would, um, I would be a yard person. I, like, I really enjoy being outside weeding and, um, but you would have to let me do what I wanted to do in your yard. You couldn’t tell me what to do. 

[00:36:52] Amy Sandler: People come home and they’re like, what the? 

[00:36:56] Kim Scott: What is that? I really, I love being outside and getting the dirt under my fingernails and just seeing, it’s not, I am not a gardener. I am a, maybe what I really want to do is, I just read this wonderful book. 

[00:37:12] Amy Sandler: You want to edit nature.

[00:37:14] Kim Scott: I don’t want to edit it real, well, maybe a little. I think of myself, here’s how I think of myself on a mountain. I think of myself as a discriminating sheep. Um, like I’m, I’m just eating the things that need to be eat, I’m not eating them, because I can’t. 

[00:37:28] Amy Sandler: I think we’re going back, are we going back to Balaam’s Ass? So you’ve like rewritten the proverb, 

[00:37:32] Kim Scott: Yeah, here we go. We’ve met, we’ve gone, 

[00:37:33] Amy Sandler: And yet we’ve come full circle. 

[00:37:34] Kim Scott: Full circle. There you go. Uh, yes, I’m a discriminating ass. That’s what I am in the yard.

[00:37:41] Amy Sandler: You could add that to your LinkedIn profile. Perhaps the word is discerning. 

[00:37:46] Kim Scott: Discerning. Yes. 

[00:37:47] Amy Sandler: Well heeled. 

[00:37:48] Kim Scott: Yes, yes. Not, um, well, I am discriminating, I guess, in the yard. I’m choosing some weeds over others. 

[00:37:55] Amy Sandler: That’s right. Um, I was just looking at some friends who had gone to, uh, be with gorillas in Rwanda and also had visited, um, these youth villages. And there’s something about, I think not just travel, but being in nature and having experiences that are so kind of unrelated to your day to day. I don’t know what that would look like for me. I know that I feel so much more myself when I’m in nature. And I don’t know how many listeners can relate to this, but once I get sort of in the zone and I’m, my head is in the Zoom, it’s actually very hard for me to decompress out of it and to almost go into nature.

[00:38:40] Like I literally have to force myself to like, step away from the computer and actually walk outside. And so there’s something about how can I make the nature part more of my like default, versus the screen is my default. Um, so I don’t know that I yet have wildcard three, um, figured out. Brandi or Nick, when you look at wildcard three, do either of you have something that instantly sprung to mind?

[00:39:06] Nick Carissimi: Like a dream career type thing or an alternate,

[00:39:08] Kim Scott: Not career, but like, if you can do whatever the hell you want. 

[00:39:11] Amy Sandler: Like you could do whatever, 

[00:39:12] Kim Scott: You win the lottery, and now you can do whatever the hell you want for the rest of your life. 

[00:39:16] Nick Carissimi: I think also that it would be something outside. Like I do, I think that just being outside and doing something that has work to it. I like the idea of working very hard physically and then being done with it. So I do love that. I’ve also, and I have absolutely zero, uh, time doing this. But tailoring, like I always thought it would be cool to create men’s clothing. 

[00:39:41] Kim Scott: Oh, wow.

[00:39:41] Nick Carissimi: I like that world. I think it’s very interesting, very intricate, very specific. I like, I think that would feel really good. But I haven’t, a lot of my stuff is kind of what I’m doing. Like, I’m happy doing this stuff I genuinely like it. 

[00:39:57] Amy Sandler: That’s so interesting. It’s interesting, both of you, like very tangible pro, like with a men’s suit, like you actually have a product.

[00:40:03] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:40:04] Amy Sandler: At the end. 

[00:40:05] Nick Carissimi: I’m kind of obsessed. I’ve noticed this over the years, obsessed with the idea of jobs that have an end. I feel like almost everybody has a job that is never ending. There is no mountaintop. It’s just a constant climb. And I think that if you’re working in a garden, or if you’re doing something like making a suit, you go, and that’s it. And you’re done. And there it is. That’s the final product. And you can do another one or you can stop forever, but at least you have that thing. Like you produce something. And I think that that has to be extremely satisfying. 

[00:40:37] Kim Scott: Yeah. Physical products. There’s not enough physical products in our life. Yeah. In our work anyway. There’s plenty of them in our lives, but. 

[00:40:45] Amy Sandler: Brandi, what do you think? 

[00:40:46] Brandi Neal: I would, uh, well, I always say that I have like these basic things that I want, which is like a really nice bathtub. Like the kind they have in this hotel I stayed at in Vegas, now I’m not going to think of the name. Anyways, like a nice, a really nice bathtub. 

[00:41:03] Amy Sandler: Are you going to talk about the ads that you get about bathtubs? 

[00:41:05] Brandi Neal: Also I talk about bathtubs so much that I’m getting shown them on Apple News, and they’re always for seniors. It’s like, over sixty-five, Medicaid will pay for your walk-in tub. I don’t want a walk-in tub. I want a nice, like, clawfoot.

[00:41:20] Kim Scott: You want like a claw footed, what’s, describe, yeah.

[00:41:24] Brandi Neal: I want a pool. I want a fireplace. I want a big, like, Spanish style house with a yard for my animals. And then I would love to do, like, something with true crime, like a true crime podcasting or something like that. 

[00:41:42] Kim Scott: Very good. That’s, I love, it’s very specific fantasy. I think it’s achievable. 

[00:41:47] Brandi Neal: I mean, I have not achieved the, 

[00:41:49] Amy Sandler: It’s very visual.

[00:41:50] Brandi Neal: Things. The, uh, I do have a bathtub right now, but my hot water tank is not large enough to fill the tub, so I can’t take a bath. And I do have a pool, but it is in my apartment and it’s not heated. Um, that’s okay though. I still, I swim in a wetsuit. I find ways to make it work. 

[00:42:09] Amy Sandler: Yeah. And I think that, 

[00:42:10] Kim Scott: Step in the direction of your dreams. 

[00:42:11] Amy Sandler: Yeah. And I think just to go back, Kim, to that quote from the, when you were traveling in China of just, you know, before we get into our tips, there was a, um, can you just say again what that, 

[00:42:24] Kim Scott: There’s two ways to feel wealthy in life. Adjust your desires to your income and adjust your income to your desires. And you’ve got to be able to do both. 

[00:42:35] Amy Sandler: Yeah. 

[00:42:35] Kim Scott: Cause you’re going to get to a point where, you know, like, uh, in this super cheap apartment I found. I was like, uh, I’ve gone too far in one direction. I need to work on the income side of the equation. I’ve maybe eroded too many, one too many desires. ‘Cause you need to have some desires, you know? 

[00:42:57] Amy Sandler: Absolutely. I think, when you think about what, what motivates you, I think in the desire part, the part is, for me, I always like to keep asking like, what’s under, like, what is the feeling? What will that feeling of the tub or the pool, like, what is it?

[00:43:11] And generating that so that, um, so that’s almost what’s propelling me rather than, you know, the specific, uh, uh, thing and knowing that there might be some other ways to, to do that as well. And, and Brandi seeing the, uh, the pool, the true crime. Um, speaking of, uh, favorite things, can we give a shout out for one of our favorite, uh, true crime podcasts?

[00:43:34] Kim Scott: Yeah. 

[00:43:36] Amy Sandler: Brandi, do you want to say, you introduced, you started it, so do you want to share what it is and why you like it? 

[00:43:40] Brandi Neal: It’s called British Scandal, and I know I’ve mentioned it on our podcast before, but it is so well done. It is two, a man and a woman, um, talking about British scandals. It’s a, this storytelling, they do voices, uh, and then they have this like banter in between that is just really funny. So. 

[00:44:05] Amy Sandler: And I think, Kim, you would find it very interesting because it really unites, like, history. So the Profumo affair, um, poisoning, you know, Russian spies, Barings Bank. What is it that causes individual people to make decisions? I mean, in the same way we might look at a case study in business school. Why did this person who, after losing a small amount of money at Barings Bank, then continue to make decisions to keep hiding it and hiding, I know you’ve always said the coverup is worse than the crime. And that’s basically what is explored through a lot of, you know, witty asides. But also very poignant, um, reflections on society and class and, uh, and power and corruption. So, um, and there’s a lot of episodes. So if you’re someone who gets frustrated after you get invested, there’s a lot. 

[00:44:49] Brandi Neal: Yeah, unfortunately I’m caught up. So I had to find myself another British podcast. 

[00:44:55] Amy Sandler: Now it’s time for our Radical Candor checklist tips you can use to start putting Radical Candor into practice. 

[00:45:02] Kim Scott: Tip number one, don’t get paralyzed by too many choices. Make your choice, try to make it work, and don’t be afraid to quit if it doesn’t work, it’s okay. 

[00:45:14] Amy Sandler: Beware the hedonic treadmill of money. So go ahead and adjust your desires to your income and your income to your desires. It’s okay to have desires. Just don’t be so overwhelmed by them. 

[00:45:28] Kim Scott: Tip number three, both maximizing and satisficing can work. If you’re a planner, plan, and if you’re opportunistic, be opportunistic. My friend who was a planner had a great career. And if I do say so myself, I also had a great career, even though I was not a planner. 

[00:45:46] Amy Sandler: You’re still having a great career, Kim. And I’m very grateful. For more tips, visit slash resources. Show notes for this episode are at 

[00:45:59] Praise in public, criticize in private. If you like what you hear, go ahead, please rate and review us wherever you’re listening to this podcast. And if you’ve got criticism, you can email it Bye for now. 

[00:46:15] Kim Scott: Bye everybody. 

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The Radical Candor Podcast is based on the book Radical Candor: Be A Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.

Radical Candor podcast

Episodes are written and produced by Brandi Neal with script editing by Amy Sandler. The show features Radical Candor co-founders Kim Scott and Jason Rosoff and is hosted by Amy Sandler. Nick Carissimi is our audio engineer.

The Radical Candor Podcast theme music was composed by Cliff Goldmacher. Order his book: The Reason For The Rhymes: Mastering the Seven Essential Skills of Innovation by Learning to Write Songs.

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