Gorick Ng: The Unspoken Rules

portrait of Gorick Ng
Gorick Ng Gorick Ng is the Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right, a book published by Harvard Business Review Press. It is a guide to help early career professionals, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, navigate the school-to-work transition and ascend to positions of leadership, based on 500+ interviews with professionals across geographies, industries, and job types.

How did your personal story, motivate you to write this book?

  • I had the privilege of attending Harvard for undergrad, and that transition from home to university was a big eye opening experience. I started realizing that there were so many of my peers and friends classmates who had this informal education growing up. They had mentors who are able to guide them through not only just school, but also how to apply to a university. 
  • I then started realizing that wow, there’s this informal education that’s delivered over the dinner table that I didn’t end up having. However, this was something that I could pass down to someone else, someone who may not have had those siblings those parents and those mentors growing up.
  • Ultimately it was really my own self reflection that brought me to this decision. There’s so much that school doesn’t teach you about how to be a successful professional, how to take ownership, how to manage up, and even how to manage expectations.
  • So I thought to myself, what if I could deconstruct what someone learns through trial and error in the first couple decades of their career, and transform it into a concise toolkit. By doing this, I have the potential to help people get further faster, and can help companies and organizations onboard employers quicker, which ultimately has everyone reach their full potential.

Can you describe to our listeners, what are the three C’s and why do they matter?

  • The three C’s which stands for competence, commitment and compatibility.
  • The minute you show up as a professional whether it’s in a cover letter, resume, coffee chat or interview. People around you are sizing you up, and they’re asking themselves three questions. Question one is can you do this job well, which is the question of are you competent.
  • Question two is are you excited to be here, which is the question of, are you committed. Question three is do we get along, which is the question of are we compatible.
  • It’s our collective challenge to convince other people that we are in fact, competent committed and compatible. You’ll need to prove that you’re competent for people to trust you with responsibilities, and more important responsibilities need to prove that you are committed for people to want to invest in your career. Then you need to flexor compatibility for others to want to work with you.