Alumni
November 26, 2020

Unconventional Career Paths & Employability With Our Friends At Google, Culture Amp, and Paddl

Eleanor Smith
Unconventional Career Paths & Employability With Our Friends At Google, Culture Amp, and Paddl

HEX was treated to some DEEP discussion about employability, growth mindset and entrepreneurship at our Unconventional Career Paths panel. Lauren Morrey from Culture Amp, Zubin Pratap from Google, John Collins from Paddl, and serial entrepreneur, Ngoc Le, all became honorary hexies sharing their wisdom about the paths less travelled.

But if you’re asking yourself “How can I change career and still end up somewhere like Google?” here’s a word to the wise: these superstars don’t think about “ending up” anywhere — that’s their super-power.

“Hopefully it’s not ‘finally landed at Google!’ I’ve still got ages to go and more crazy things to do, so fingers crossed!”

— Zubin Pratap, Cloud Engineer @ Google, recovering lawyer.

So who are these guys?

(And why should we listen to them?)

Ngoc Le is a real life super hero. By day, a breast sonographer, saving women from breast cancer; by night (and weekends and anytime in between), a “foodpreneur”, bringing joy to the masses with events like Melbourne’s first beer and doughnut festival.

Once upon a time, John Collins made his living organising snow sports events. Now he is the Co-Founder & VP Product at disruptive work-ready learning provider Paddl, and was a 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Award finalist.

All-round legend Lauren Morrey is a reformed high-level corporate banker and Founder of Humphrico “No Bullshit Consulting”. She’s now Lead Customer Success Strategist at Aussie tech unicorn Culture Amp.

Zubin Pratap was a corporate lawyer. Now he’s a self-taught Cloud Application Engineer at Google. In between he’s launched his own startups, got an MBA and created courses on Udemy.

These guys really test our Tall Poppy Syndrome, in the best possible way 😉. Scroll down for a recording of the whole discussion. In the meantime, here are our favourite nuggets…


On Education…

“The concept of a 3-5 year degree is being torn down at the moment.” — John Collins, Co-Founder & VP Product @ Paddl

Ok, we love our university partners. But we have to level with you — we reckon “traditional education” is in  danger of becoming irrelevant if it doesn’t keep up with the real world (that’s why HEX exists). Zubin didn’t mince his words on the topic:

“The traditional educational model is actually now downright dangerous… because it encourages you to place reliance on it that it doesn’t actually warrant anymore.

“Not only has the nature of education changed, but the nature of SKILLS at the workplace has changed. The employer-employee contract has changed. The world has changed… in ways that require us to assess ourselves: How do we drive skill building? Skill building is a process that you have to continue throughout your life, and reliance on a formalised education structure takes away the opportunity from you to figure out how you’re going to do it.”

— Zubin Pratap, Cloud Application Engineer @ Google

Or, as John put it:

“It’s really important to take responsibility for your own skillset … If the jobs are getting shorter and more contractual, the expectation from your employer … is that you bring your own tools.”

On Employability…

“Hiring people is innately risky. How do you make it a de-risked decision?

“Despite all the things that we know about humans, we still haven’t nailed a hiring process … So if you’re going out looking for work, how do you make it so easy that you’re not the risky option? So that they can really see how you’re going to fit in, add value, get things done, take things to the next level and continue to grow with that company? How are you going to de-risk yourself as a purchase?”

“You’re the CEO of your own career … You’re a brand. You’re a product that you’re selling. What do you need to bring to the relationship so that you are growing, and outgrowing that role, and continuing to develop your skillset?”

— Lauren Morrey, Lead Customer Success Strategist @ Culture Amp

“Get the experience mix right. Don’t spend too long in one space. If you get all your experience from university, you’ve gone too far to one end. Make sure you’re getting your experience from lots of different places. If you are the sum of your experience, make sure you’re getting it from all walks of life.”

— John Collins, Co-Founder & VP Product @ Paddl

On Finding Your “Core Purpose”…

“I’m still trying to figure it out too! … It doesn’t have to be too specific. I know my purpose is to help people, and I know that’s so broad, but whatever I do, it has that element.”

— Ngoc Le, Foodpreneur & Breast Sonographer

“Purpose is different to natural talent … People can have natural talent or work really hard to develop something that they’re incredibly good at … [then] you’ve got tonnes of options… You can take that talent and ice-skate your way through life and enjoy different industries, different jobs, different purposes.”

— John Collins, Co-Founder & VP Product @ Paddl


On Mindset…

Something we talk about at HEX is differentiating between your mindset and your skill set. Your skill set is the hard core things — e.g. you can code, you can write, you can present. Your mindset is how you choose to leverage that skill set.

“Building a growth mindset and looking at things as an infinite game has probably never been more important.”

— Lauren Morrey, Lead Customer Success Strategist @ Culture Amp

“Don’t expect to be ready. You’ve got to be willing.”

— Zubin Pratap, Cloud Application Engineer @ Google

On Entrepreneurialism…

“We’re in the right era to try new things.”

— Ngoc Le, Foodpreneur & Breast Sonographer

“Entrepreneurial spirit is just paying close, close attention to the way things work — just looking at everything and trying to pull it apart into its pieces and constantly looking for improvement.”

— John Collins, Co-Founder & VP Product @ Paddl

Don’t take our word for it…

We’ve just picked out some of our highlights. If you want to check out the whole (unedited) discussion, you can find it here 😁 💕.

At HEX, we celebrate the fact that careers can be straight, narrow, bendy, adventurous, loopy ... just take our current cohort of Discovery students!!

They’re studying Medicine, Mechatronics, Creative Design, Law, Media, Computer Science and more...

They’re working with Burning Man Australia; Creating safe queer spaces; Making bird spotting cool again; Interning at ASEAN; Writing a novel; Designing games. Empowering women in South India.

If you’re ready to walk an unconventional career path, we’re ready to walk with you.

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