Paths to Success: Five Career Lessons To Learn From Susan Wojcicki

When Google’s sixteenth employee, Susan Wojcicki, became pregnant during the company’s early days, many of her coworkers expected her to quit her position as Marketing Manager. Instead, she stayed, oversaw the growth of Google’s advertising division to $50 billion, became the CEO of YouTube, and still finds the time to go home for dinner every night. Here are five career lessons that you can learn from one of the most powerful women in the United States.

Invest in the future

Although YouTube was a budding start-up with no revenue at the time, Wojcicki urged Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to purchase the company due to her faith in the future of video streaming. At first, the enormous $1.65 billion deal was widely mocked—Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban famously stated that “only a moron would buy YouTube”—but today, YouTube has 1.5 billion logged-in users every month and is one of Google’s primary revenue generators.

Find a good work-life balance

As the first Google employee to go on maternity leave, Wojcicki believes that finding a balance between work and family is imperative to succeeding in the workplace. Therefore, Wojcicki dedicates the hours of 6-9 p.m. to having dinner with her family and refrains from answering weekend e-mails until Sunday evening.

Work smarter, not longer

Wojcicki is able to spend time with her family because she focuses on prioritizing her work and streamlining her processes. She even claims that going home for dinner actually makes her a more effective CEO, because it forces her to work smarter rather than increase her hours at the office.

Have a diverse team

Wojcicki firmly believes that diversity in the workplace makes companies stronger by fostering various points of view. Therefore, she has urged Silicon Valley CEOs and executives to cultivate diversity in their companies and decrease workplace discrimination.

Nurture your company’s culture

Shortly after becoming YouTube’s CEO, Wojcicki instituted YouTube Fridays, a weekly meeting at the company headquarters which features presentations, YouTube videos, and a closing concert by musicians with an active YouTube presence. Wojcicki instated the tradition in order to create a linkage between YouTube’s product and its culture, leading to a more authentic and engaged workspace.

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