Risk/Reward: Why Intelligent Leaps and Daring Choices Are the Best Career Moves You Can Make
A persuasive and eye-opening look at the importance of embracing risk in our working lives—and how to use it to achieve lifelong career success
Some of us relish the chance to fly without a net, others . . . not so much. But no matter how adventurous we might be in our personal lives, most of us are wary of allowing risk into our careers. With an economy in constant flux and a job market in which uncertainty is the only constant, stepping outside one’s comfort zone can feel dangerous. But as the findings of this eye-opening and urgent book attest, the avoidance of risk might pose the greatest danger of all to our career prospects.
In Risk/Reward, trend-spotter and career guru Anne Kreamer makes the compelling case that embracing risk is essential to managing a twenty-first-century career. Risk-taking isn’t just for entrepreneurs, nor does it require working on a figurative tightrope. Rather, Kreamer says, conscious, consistent, and modest risk-taking can help us become more able to recognize opportunity when it appears, and more likely to seize the chance to make the right change at the right moment.
Risk/Reward presents a framework for making the most of today’s ever-evolving workplace and turning risk-taking into a daily practice. Using proprietary data from three national studies about the American worker, Kreamer explores the importance of career risk-taking through profiles of four Risk/Reward personality types: Pioneers, Thinkers, Defenders, and Drifters. She presents a Risk/Reward Matrix that anyone can use to identify his or her own innate risk threshold, and she identifies constructive ways to implement risk in everyday situations—from initiating an uncomfortable conversation with a boss to sharing out-of-the-box ideas with colleagues or constructively challenging long-held practices in an organization.
Peppered throughout Risk/Reward are insights and hard-won wisdom from notable achievers such as bestselling author Anna Quindlen, journalist Jane Pauley, CNBC financial maven Jim Cramer, thought leader Po Bronson, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Timely and insightful, Risk/Reward is a unique blend of practical and inspirational wisdom that even the most risk-averse person can harness on the path toward success and fulfillment.
Praise for Anne Kreamer’s It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace
“A stimulating read bolstered by . . . some of the best recent work on emotional intelligence and the science of happiness.”—The Wall Street Journal
“So what should be the rules and boundaries for showing how you feel while you work? That’s a question asked and answered in Anne Kreamer’s fascinating . . . look at an issue that rarely gets discussed.”—The Washington Post
“Finally, someone is willing to unpack the morass of anger, anxiety, sadness, and joy that drives the workday. . . . [Kreamer] has hit the ‘It’s about time!’ button.”—Elle
“[A] lively, well-researched exploration of emotions on the job.”—Oprah.com
“Explores how to be true to your ‘emotional flashpoints—anger, fear, anxiety, empathy, happiness and crying’—without sabotaging your career.”—The New York Times Book Review
hill, and its risk-taking becomes increasingly foolish.” Too much prolonged production of testosterone leads to “overconfidence and rash behavior.” Pioneer Weaknesses: • Indulge in greater overall risky behavior—for instance, gambling, driving too fast, drinking too much. • Excessive aggression. • Too demanding. • Hubris. In trying to tease apart the forces that contributed to the financial meltdown of 2008, a team of researchers from the Departments of Physiology, Neuroscience, and
successful eleven years in the financial industry, “the chance of ending up a teacher was so incredibly small—and it’s the best job in the world for me. I love it.” Although Gail says she is naturally more conservative in her outlook than Ted, she knows that their lives “are richer” as a result of their stints in Costa Rica. She has been surprised and grateful that neither of her absences from the major league working world were a problem during reentry job interviews in New York, neither back in
warned him that this guy was not right for us. He hired him anyway, and then had to fire him for not delivering. To me, it was blatantly obvious from the get-go.” In our survey, Defenders were the least likely to make jokes at the expense of others. They don’t really like working alone and more than any of the groups enjoy the company of their colleagues. Rather than aspiring to be the leader, Defenders value their role in helping co-workers shine. Which is something at which Debbie excels.
something out of the ordinary, something we perceive as “risky,” our bodies produce the stress hormone cortisol, priming us to fight or flee. This happens whether the new situation is actually threatening or merely unfamiliar. We wouldn’t have survived as a species were we not hardwired to respond to potential danger. And that’s okay when serious threats are few and far between—a kid dashing into the street to retrieve a ball or an annual performance evaluation—because our bodies can gear up,
conversations with people working in very different environments and at very different levels. I talked to highly successful people for their perspectives on the role risk-taking played in their careers. I probed the findings of academic and clinical experts for insight into behavioral economics and the psychology of choice. And I mined the extensive data J. Walter Thompson and I unearthed in an effort to understand the changing nature of work and risk today. Risk/Reward is the synthesis of this