APAC Marketers

Depending on who you ask, we’re either smack-dab in the middle of The Great Resignation or we’ve already through the eye of the storm. LinkedIn is still showing me that my contacts around the world are changing jobs at a rapid clip. On other hand, friends who are hiring managers tell me that “all the good people are already taken.”

All this job search talk got me thinking about how people think about careers. So I interviewed APAC marketing leaders who have deftly navigated their careers to share their best advice on the APAC Marketers Roundtable Podcast.

Here’s 3 ideas on careers we covered:

Idea #1 = Think of your career in phases

This one comes from James Gilbert, Sr Director of Partnerships Marketing at HubSpot.

Phase 1: exploration. In your “20s and 30s,” James says that your job is to find out what you’re good at and where you can create value.

Phase 2: building a career moat (and monetizing it.) If you’re sincere in your exploration and experimentation, you’ll come across something where you’ve got an advantage. Those advantages become currency – literally and figuratively – in the second part of your career.

Phase 3: leveraging your skills to do what you want. Some people get lucky and get here immediately. For most of us, this takes decades.

Looking at James’ LinkedIn profile, you’ll find that he practices what he preaches. He started off in a CS role, tried performance marketing, demand generation, then once at HubSpot, he built on his demand gen skills to keep moving up the org.

Idea #2 = Don’t chase the wrong things

Society wants you to chase money and prestige. If this gives you deep, lasting satisfaction: great! No judgment.

However, some people achieve these things and feel empty.

Robert Lai was making north of $300K at Google but still felt like something was missing. He felt good about himself that he was able to make money – and recognized his privilege – but despite those, he admitted that he wasn’t happy. He chased money and recognition, but he really should’ve chased challenge and learning, leading him to start up Kaliber Performance Marketing.

Yi Ning Lim also shared a great anecdote in this episode. During her time at university, the “expected path” was to join one of the Oil & Gas companies in Singapore, since they offered fresh grads 6-figure annual salaries. Realizing it wasn’t the path she wanted, she instead to chose learning and expanding her comfort zone by taking on gigs at startups and big tech. She’s now the Head of Global Marketing at Entrepreneur First.

Idea #3 = Define (and live by) your career values

Plenty of marketers in APAC view this region as the “minor leagues” and set a goal for themselves to move to Silicon Valley.

That’s why I had to interview Dexter Zhuang – who went the opposite direction, leaving Silicon Valley to join a startup in Southeast Asia. Dexter was doing well as a product leader at Dropbox. Why make a move?

The answer is in his career values.

This sounds really fluffy, so I asked Dexter to make this more concrete for people who want to draft their own values. (Dexter is also a career coach.) I thought this was such an important exercise that I dedicated an entire episode to it. You can listen here (web, Apple, Spotify).

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