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I recently read the new book Risk/Reward: Why Intelligent Leaps and Daring Choices Are The Best Career Moves You Can Make by Anne Kreamer, and I thought it would be a good topic to share in the Kuder Blog.

Kreamer is a  Harvard graduate and an experienced journalist and former executive with Nickelodeon. In her first chapter, she traces her own career of multiple jobs undertaken sequentially in multiple industries, crafting experiments to test out newly gained skills, and after the inevitable setbacks, trying once again.

Are you a risk taker?

Kreamer advocates “conscious, consistent, modest risk-taking” to develop your ability to perceive opportunity when it presents itself, and make the right big change at the right moment. What kinds of risks are you comfortable taking when it comes to your career?

Pioneers, thinkers, defenders, and drifters.

Kreamer describes partnering with well-known ad agency to survey people's feelings about the centrality of work to their identities and the degree of control they felt they had over their work life. She found that only four in 10 people thought they would be in the same job in five years, and that more than half were considering the prospect of changing not just their job, but their career!  She mined the data from the survey to elicit four risk/reward types: pioneers, thinkers, defenders, and drifters.

The bulk of the book describes each type with illustrations from media stars to people like those you know from your own job, so you can decide which of these personalities you'd like to avoid or transform yourself into.

To tell you the truth, I didn't get a lot out of the risk/reward typology. But maybe that's because my “Intelligent Leap/Daring Choice” right now as a retiree is blogging on a part-time basis!

Join the conversation

  • Are some career risks worth the potential rewards?
  • What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken for the sake of your career?
  • What was the biggest reward you ever received for taking what you considered to be a real career risk?
  • If you’ve read the book, what did you think of it? Are you a pioneer, thinker, defender, or drifter?

This article first appeared in the Kuder Blog July 15, 2019

About The Author

Dr. Donald Zytowski

Dr. Donald Zytowski has served a key role in facilitating internal and third-party research for Kuder, including development of new assessment and content for the vast database of career biographies in the Kuder® Career Interests Assessment. 

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