15 TED resources to give you some career perspective

An outsider’s opinion is one of the best ways to get perspective – and when it comes to important decisions about career, work and life, it’s important to get as many perspectives as possible.

And one of the best places to get some perspective is an inspiring TED talk. If you haven’t encountered TED before, it’s a nonprofit organisation dedicated to “ideas worth spreading” and plenty of those ideas come in the form of career advice.

Here are 18 resources from the TED website that are a great starting point for when you need some perspective on your career.

Finding your career path

1. Scott Dinsmore relays his personal story of quitting a job that made him miserable and shows how to find a job you love – including a good tip on why you shouldn’t take jobs just to build up your resume!


2. Susan Colantuono’s talk is mainly aimed at women and asks why so many women are ‘mired in the middle’. Great takeaways here for men and women both, here is the career advice you probably didn’t get to help you move up in your organisation.

3. This talk might seem light-hearted because of Larry Smith’s engaging delivery, but let him tell you why you will fail to have a great career!

4. Not specific to deciding which career to pursue – Ruth Chang discusses how we approach big decisions and offers an alternative way of thinking about them.

5. Career breaks happen. Carol Fishman Cohen discusses the great divide between employers and people who have been out of work for a long time, and tells us how best to ‘relaunch’.


6. What drives the highest performing teams? Margaret Heffernan believes that social cohesion is the way forward, not a competitive environment full of top performers – here’s why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work.

7. There is no manual for great leadership – Fields Wicker-Miurin says that you should learn from the great leaders around you like she has.

8. Sheryl Sandberg, of Facebook fame, is grateful to have been born in an era when women can have great careers – but why do they still have to choose between professional success and personal fulfilment? Here she discusses why we have too few women leaders.

Productivity and performance

9. Organisational Psychologist Adam Grant explores the ins and outs of giving, taking and matching, and how this impacts on workplace dynamics. Find out if you’re a giver or a taker.

10. This Q&A with Nancy Duarte on how to give more persuasive presentations is packed full of useful tips for creating your presentation as well as the best way to stand in front of an audience and deliver it.

11. This round up of seven of Dan Ariely’s studies on what motivates us at work provides bite-size pieces of the study, the results and what it means – and it’s more than just money.

12. Traditional rewards aren’t always the best way to motivate staff. Dan Pink starts his TED talk with a ‘confession’ before puzzling out what motivates people at work.

13. Casey Brown – pricing consultant – explains why you have to speak up about your worth to be paid what you deserve. Through stories of her own challenges, she explains the true value of speaking up.

Happiness at work

14. Are you good at stress? What does that even mean? The notion that trying to avoid stress is fundamentally counterproductive is the first of many good, helpful ideas from Kelly McGonigal.

15. What happens when an up-and-coming biochemist encounters Buddhism? Find out here how the Buddhist way of life taught Matthieu Ricard how to slow down and live mindfully.

16. Are you a 9-5 at your desk with a 15-minute lunch break type? Get some career advice from artists, writers and other creative people to shake up your work routine.

17. Put this one forward to your boss – eliminating long, inflexible hours benefits the worker and the employer. Here is Dan Kedmey’s business case against overtime.

18. Taking a leaf out of St Benedict’s book, Nigel Marsh took a step back from his career to work on balancing work-life balance. He thinks he’s worked out some good methods – watch him speak to get some encouragement for your own work-life balance.

In need of a career change? Contact a Michael Page specialist today.


Exposing yourself to big ideas and new perspectives can only help in your career. Bookmark this page and revisit these great TED resources when you’re in need of some career perspective. Alternatively, take a look at the rest of our career advice for some further inspiration.

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