Episode 87: Change in Careers with Mpume Ncube-Daka


January 13th, 2023

39 mins 50 secs

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About this Episode

Liz and Kat Zoom in with Mpume Ncube-Daka all the way from South Africa to talk about change conversations. Mpume works with people to drive the best decisions in their growth and development. She is passionate about personal and professional development and learning through change.

Mpume thought she’d be a doctor when she grew up, but realized she needed to change direction after a failed math class. She then became an accountant and has built a career on change.

After laughing at humanities students in college, Mpume finds herself a student of people and passionate about psychology and human development. With careers in marketing, business strategy, accounting, and finance, she can see all sides of business problems and be able to connect with her clients.

We ask Mpume about navigating workplace relationships - what advice does she give for navigating the modern workplace? She reminds us to take time to relate to people as human. Take out the noise and get to know someone as a human.

Navigating a workplace culture is about navigating that company’s particular cultural nuances first. Once you understand that, you bring your authentic self into the space. First you want to observe how feedback is given and received- preferably at the interview- and see if it’s a place you want to work.

We ask about navigating a full career change vs a just job change. The #1 thing is self-awareness. If you know yourself, you know what excites you, what you don’t want, and you want to do things that excite you and make you money. What skills and strengths do you have that are marketable? You may love to color, but it may not pay the mortgage.

You don’t want to get all of the meaning of your life from work. We work to have the life that we want- all happiness can’t come from the workforce.

Communicating effectively is a key skill to thrive in today’s work world. Mpume has ABCs of work communication. For her, #1 is interpersonal communication, which includes both verbal and non-verbal communication. We all want to be heard, no matter if someone agrees or not. If we feel heard and listened to we can work together. Be good at listening and giving the time to hear someone’s opinions. And it’s important to clarify that you heard the thing they were actually saying.

They key to effective listening? Be present. Not checking email. Not checking Slack. Not prepping dinner. Clarify what they are saying to make sure you understand.

We ask how do we stay present in today’s crazy world? Don’t make it about you. When it’s about understanding what the other person is saying, you can focus on their message. It comes to company culture- if everyone expects instant communication and people are Slacking during meetings, you’re not encouraging listening and being present.

We ask for advice on behalf of our listeners who feel stuck in their career. Mpume wants you to look at what “stuck” looks like for you. Why do you feel stuck? Get to the bottom of why you’re feeling that way before you start to solve the problem. If you’re stuck, how do you getting out of the hole? Create goals to challenge yourself to get out of that space.

Does being stuck feel different for women? Yes! Sometimes we need to make choices that work for us and what we want in our lives. That said, many women want to be super women and not drop anything, and we come at our situation from a guilt perspective. When we realize what we need and want and stop feeling guilty about what we aren’t doing, we find our power and our gratitude.