book-coverLast month members of Young Women in Energy (YWE) met at Divino Wine and Cheese Bistro for the 3rd installment of the YWE book club.  After completing lively discussions of “The Power of Why” by Amanda Lang and “How Remarkable Women Lead” by Joanna Barsh, Susie Cranston, Geoffrey Lewis at previous meetings, this session the group discussed “The Start-up of You” by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha.

The group started out, as always, with an ice-breaker.  This month the discussion was about the “best or worst career advice you have ever received”, prompted by the books dispelling of some common advice to new entrants to the workforce.  Advice shared by the group varied widely from poor to great, and this theme remained throughout the whole book club meeting. 

The premise of “The Start-up of You” is that humans are entrepreneurs and in order to be most effective in our careers we must use our entrepreneurial instincts to develop a competitive advantage in the job market.  By having a thorough understanding of our personal assets, aspirations, and the realities of the job market we can find greater success in our careers.  The YWE group felt strongly about the concept of being in the mindset of a “permanent beta”, meaning that a person is always a work in progress and continual personal investment is required. 

A favourite quote of the group was “You remake yourself as you grow and as the world changes.  Your identity doesn’t get found, it emerges”. This concept applies to the careers of all of the participants, who make learning a priority and are continually working to develop skill sets and forge new connections.  Young Women in Energy was highlighted as a resource to support this continual personal and professional development!

The book delves further into the need to have multiple back-up plans in one’s career.  “Plan A” is what you are doing now, “Plan B” is your “pivot plan” when there is a slight change in your path to better reach your goal, and “Plan Z” is the complete change of course – the “lifeboat” if something goes seriously wrong.  The YWE group discussed our personal plans; some members had formally planned out their “lifeboat” Plan Z where others hadn’t thought about having such a plan.  It provided incentive for everyone to think about what their own lifeboat is. 

As would be expected from a book co-authored by the founder of Linked-In, the book also devotes significant attention to the value of creating a network, including specific reference to “mining” your network for the knowledge and experience that may help you on your journey. The book club group highlighted the valuable resource that YWE provides to its members to search the member directory and seek out specific contacts for peer-to-peer networking in order to expand and add value to a personal network.  Similarly, YWE networking events like the one upcoming in September provide an opportunity to meet new people and expand your network. 

“The Start-up of You” highlights networking as a relationship which requires us to give something, rather than always looking for something from your contacts.  Doing so will help strengthen these relationships and will provide dividends in the long run.  Hoffman and Casnocha encourage readers to develop habits that will increase the likelihood that you will find break-out opportunities, such as tapping into networks and associations.  When those opportunities arise, taking intelligent risks is what will propel you forward in your career.  The group shared examples of the biggest “leaps” they have taken, and how their network helped to provide these opportunities and “soften the landing”.  To continue expanding this network, YWE’s peer to peer mentoring via the use of the members directory is an important tool when building this network and further opportunities. 

As the summer comes to a close we are happy to have had another successful book club meeting and to have the opportunity to welcome all YWE members to our upcoming book club meeting.  The group will be reading:


“Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” by Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post). The book club will be meeting Thursday, October 9th at 5:30 at Divino Wine and Cheese Bistro on Stephen Ave.


By Jenna Adams