In her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shares one of the best pieces of career advice she’s ever received.
When debating her next career move, Sandberg made a spreadsheet comparing the roles and responsibilities that would come with each position and company she was considering. Google was on her list (a relatively unknown company in 2001), and ranked lower than all of the other options in categories like security, salary and responsibilities, but when Sandberg presented her dilemma to Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO at the time, he managed to change her mind with this simple piece of advice:
“[Eric] covered my spreadsheet with his hand and told me not to be an idiot (also a great piece of advice). Then he explained that only one criterion mattered when picking a job—fast growth. When companies grow quickly, there are more things to do than there are people to do them. When companies grow more slowly or stop growing, there is less to do and too many people to be doing them. Politics and stagnation set in, and everyone falters. He told me, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”
Sandberg made up her mind that instant and joined Google, which as we all know was one of the fastest flying rocket ships ever created.