Foreword – Never Search Alone

by Marty Cagan

I’ve spent my career helping people develop into strong members of product teams and strong product leaders.

I’ve often explained to new managers that their product is no longer their product. Their product is now their people. Which is to say that I take developing the skills and abilities of people very seriously.

Probably because of that, many people come to me for career advice. I know firsthand the power of a person finding the right role at a good company, where they can contribute meaningfully, continue to grow in their career, and reach their full potential.

Sadly, because so many people are in jobs that they don’t love, they find themselves working on something that doesn’t matter, for someone who does not care about them or their career.

As I write this, a record number of people have decided they have had enough, and that it’s time to take charge of their professional life.

But how best to do this?

There has been a great deal published, by me and many others, on how companies and hiring managers can do a better job of recruiting, staffing, and coaching.

But what’s always been missing is a serious treatment of the job search process from the perspective of the person searching for the job.

Obviously, people know how to search a job site and fill out an application online. But is that the best way to find the right fit for your unique talents and career goals?

Not even close.

And when most people do get an offer and want to negotiate a fair compensation package, they are completely unprepared to represent their interests.

The company has a whole staff of lawyers and compensation specialists looking out for their interests. Who do you have looking out for yours?

And even beyond finding a good job, will you be set up to succeed in your new position? Will you receive the training, coaching, and resources you will need?

The time to figure this out is not after you start, when you’ve lost most of your leverage. It should be a key part of the job-search process.

Hopefully, now you have a better sense of what I mean by most people being completely unprepared for the demands of the job-search process.

For more than 20 years, I’ve encouraged people who are serious about their career to meet Phyl Terry.

Yes, Phyl is one of the best-connected leaders in the industry.

Yes, Phyl is a genuine human being who truly cares about you personally and your career.

But what really sets Phyl apart is that he understands how to harness the power of community.

This book is all about scaling the magic that is Phyl.

I have seen Phyl and the techniques he advocates dramatically improve the career trajectories of countless people.

And not just people who are in mid-career, dissatisfied with their current job, and want to find better.

These techniques are at least as valuable for new college graduates looking for that all-important first professional job.

Or another very difficult but increasingly common situation: older employees who find themselves in need of a new job, yet encountering systemic ageism at every turn.

Which is to say, nearly everyone in the professional workforce can benefit from the techniques in this book.

And one more pro tip: it’s a good idea to learn these techniques before you need them.

When you are able to find a job that you truly enjoy, that leverages your unique skills and talents, where you can receive the coaching necessary to continue to grow and develop to reach your potential, and where you can make a real contribution, you have meaningfully improved your life.

My hope is that this book will help countless people to improve their lives.

— Marty Cagan

Founder, Silicon Valley Product Group December 2021

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