Andy Molinsky: [00:00:00] All right. Today's guest is Kathryn Dekas. Kathryn is a Senior Manager in Google's People Analytics Group, which aims to bring science and data to all people-related decisions at Google. Kathryn currently leads a team of social scientists inside Google that conduct in-depth research about how to improve employees' happiness, health, and productivity, as well as promote employee voice.

Andy Molinsky: [00:00:26] So, Kathryn has worked at Google since 2008 -- so, for about 10 years, maybe more than 10 years -- and has led projects related to employee onboarding, recognition, performance management, empowerment, citizenship behaviors, and virtual collaboration. Kathryn studied the intersection of business and psychology both in undergrad and grad school first at the University of Pennsylvania for undergrad, and then at the University of Michigan for grad school for her PhD. And I am so happy to have her with us today. Welcome, Kathryn.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:01:02] Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here.

Andy Molinsky: [00:01:05] Excellent. So, let's hear about what you do now, what your job is. We'll fast forward and rewind a bit. So, I'll be curious about your current job. And then, we'll trace a little bit about how you got there. But why won't we dig into your current job. What do you do? How long have you been doing it? Do you like it? Tell us about it.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:01:25] Well, yeah. Yes. So, I'll cut to the punch line. I love my job. I don't like it every day, if we can differentiate between those two things, but I really do love what I do. So, I feel very lucky to be here. And, essentially, what I do every day is get to play around with cool ideas, puzzles, problem-solving activities related to why people feel, and think, and act the way they do at work, and what we can do to make the work experience better for them.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:01:57] And so, I'm lucky to work at a place that really values the employee experience. So, Google really believes it's not just about the financial bottom line but really doing right by people and figuring out how to optimize the work experience. And so, I essentially worked in a little research and design lab within human resources, and we're charged with thinking about, what are the kinds of questions or problems that Google will need or want to understand going forward about how people here work?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:02:34] And so, we do a lot of data slection and analysis to figure out how we can do that better, test hypotheses, and then, most importantly, package the results in a way that can be used by the business and act upon. And so, I've been doing this pretty much -- I mean, in general terms, that same general job for the last 10 years, however, in different capacities. So, I came in as an analyst. And over time, started managing things. And now, I lead about 15 people.

Andy Molinsky: [00:03:07] Cool. It's funny. Just as you were talking, I was struggling to kind of paint a picture in my mind of what your daily life is like. So, can you bring us through like a -- I know no day is the same, I'm sure, at anyone's job, but maybe a prototypical day. Like, you get up, you get to work, and I don't know. What's it like? What are you doing? Who are you talking to?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:03:35] Yeah, [crosstalk]. It's a lot of variety. And so, at any given time, we usually have a handful of research projects going on, and they can range from very short, quick turnaround projects. So, an executive might come to us and say, "I've got this particular dilemma. What do you know from the external research that speaks to this?" Like "How can I learn more about this? And what should I do about it?" And that's a case where we don't necessarily have to collect new data at Google, but we can go and do a very quick literature review and turn around a one or two-page summary, and send that back to them.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:04:16] So, maybe I'm reviewing something that somebody on my team has put together like that or it can range all the way through to a really, really in-depth research project. Like we have a longitudinal survey that runs every six months to a random sample of Googlers, which is what we call Google employees. And we we invite these people to take a survey every six months with different kinds of questions. And then, we're able to really map their experience over time.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:04:50] And other projects, we do relate to the data collected from that survey. So, from hour to hour, I could be reviewing a very quick turnaround, a really in-depth and complicated analysis that another analyst on my team has done related to the longitudinal project, or anywhere in between.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:05:09] And a lot of the work that I do, in particular, is not hands-on data analysis anymore, but rather advising and suggesting about how can we either take the analysis in a new direction, or, most often, how do we talk about the findings in a way that would be intuitive for a non-academic or nontechnical audience. So, as we go out to business leaders, how can we help them act on these findings?

Andy Molinsky: [00:05:39] And are you at the main headquarters of the company?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:05:42] Right now, I'm working in the Bay Area. Yes. So, I don't work right in the downtown Googleplex, as it's called, but I work just about a mile away from there.

Andy Molinsky: [00:05:55] And do you -- Are the members of your team, are they co-located? Do they all work there or is this more of a virtual team?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:06:03] Yeah, it's a virtual team. And, actually, even myself, I spent the last two years working in Tokyo. And my boss, who I reported to for the last six years, works in New York. And a large part of our team also works in Boulder, Colorado and San Francisco. So, it's very much virtual.

Andy Molinsky: [00:06:21] Yeah. I was wondering. I was trying to picture it in my head, and I was struggling to figure out whether I was imagining like a -- You described it a lot like an -- I know you've an academic background -- like an academic lab. And those-

Kathryn Dekas: [00:06:33] No, no.

Andy Molinsky: [00:06:33] That's like people in a room with a chalkboard. But then, I was thinking, "No, it's probably not like that."

Kathryn Dekas: [00:06:41] We have a virtual chalkboard. We do have, actually, virtual whiteboards, but, honestly, we borrow a lot of practices from what I learned in grad school from my advisor. So, doing things like research blitzes. And when we have a really big part of a project to get through, we will all come together and try to do that in a co-located fashion because it's just it's faster, and it's usually more fun.

Andy Molinsky: [00:07:06] Right. So, you did your undergrad at Penn. And so, walk us through like what was it like for you senior year, you were on the cusp of graduating, trying to figure out what you wanted to do next. Did you jump right into the PhD? Did you do something before? Like tell us about that experience.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:07:27] Yeah. It was fun starting to think back to this time actually. So, I was in my undergrad business program at Penn. And at that time, I don't know what it's like now, but at that time, it was very much focused on science. So, people who were really go-getters, generally, went to Wall Street sometime, and that was not my calling, let's say. And I was fascinated though by kind of the droves of people who were on this path.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:08:00] And at that time, I had not yet figured out kind of what was my path going to be. And it was not a very comfortable time. I felt like I was behind the eight ball and figuring this out. And all I knew for sure is that finance was not my thing, but I didn't know what it was going to be. And so, it was a lot of, I would say, fits and starts figuring out, "Do I want to go down this path? Do I want to go down this other one?"

Kathryn Dekas: [00:08:31] And, fortunately, I had a lot of good mentors who really advised me to slow it down and not jump into something too quickly. And so, I wound up taking a job with a management consulting firm and doing human capital consulting, which, at the time, was kind of the closest thing I could map to what I had majored in, which was Psychology and Business. And off I went to be a management consultant. And I, honestly, at that time, really did not know what the future would bring. I kind of just open the door and did not fully expect to go to grad school, but just kind of went off on that path, and then took things then as they came.

Andy Molinsky: [00:09:23] So, just to pause for a sec, how did you find that management consulting job? Did they come recruit at Penn? Did you network? How did you find that?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:09:33] They did, yes. They came and recruited. I mean, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit this in retrospect, but I can say now, I'm in a happy job, so it's fine. But I think I went to maybe all of one or two company presentations, one of which I absolutely hated, and this other one, which was lukewarm. And basically, thought, "Okay. This is what my working life is going to be like. And, I guess, I better just go for it."

Kathryn Dekas: [00:10:05] And because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, I felt like that was kind of a prudent thing, at least, in the short term was to pick something, and go with it, and learn along the way. And in the end, that didn't end up being a terrible strategy. I think, sometimes, it's easier to rule things out than rule things in, but that's how I found the job.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:10:25] And it ended up being somewhat of a boom because as it turned out, what was really kind of my own passion or calling was this, like you said earlier, intersection of psychology and the workplace. And being a consultant allowed me to see a lot of different workplaces in a very short period of time.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:10:46] And what was so fascinating to me was not exactly the work I was particularly doing but just observing all the different people, and how they responded to different situations, and how different individuals responded differently, and so forth.

Andy Molinsky: [00:11:01] It's funny. That's the exact experience I had. It's probably no surprise that we both got PhDs in Organizational Behavior. Yeah, I remember whenever I tell my story, which is a true story, I was in a consulting company, a small one, and I thought the work was really boring, but I kept a secret file on my computer like detailing what was happening in the workplace. So, that's cool.

Andy Molinsky: [00:11:25] I want to hear about sort of a little bit about grad school, and then how you transitioned to Google. But before that, you said something really interesting. And I just want to quickly put a point on it here and dive back in for just a second. You said it's easier to rule things out versus rule things in. That quote, that sort of like was this quick turn of phrase, and I was like, "Huh. That could be interesting." Can you just say a word about that?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:11:49] Sure. Yeah, sure. I think a lot of people spend -- This is my own observation, but during that time in my life, late kind of college years, even early 20s, I think a lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about, "Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? Who do I want to spend my life with?" and hoping that it would just reveal itself to them.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:12:15] And I think the people I observed to have a little bit more success or a little bit more even enjoyment along the way were those who didn't really wait around for this grand thing to reveal themselves, but rather take advantage of different experiences, and fuel out, and start to decide like, "This feels right, this doesn't feel right, or this aspect of this experience is good. I'm going to hold that constant, but then pivot into a slightly different area."

Kathryn Dekas: [00:12:47] And, ultimately, that's kind of the strategy that, either knowingly or unknowingly, we wound up choosing. And I certainly have a lot of interesting experiences along the way that some of which had absolutely no bearing on what I ended up doing, but they're fun stories to tell.

Andy Molinsky: [00:13:05] Right. That's interesting. That makes a lot of sense. So, you're at the management consulting firm, and what happened? So, how did you end up at Michigan?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:13:15] Yes. I spend some quality time in a lot of small cities around the country. So, almost a year in Allentown, Pennsylvania, some time in Wyoming, a lot of time in DC. Totally different kinds of workplaces. And I wound up actually leaving the management consulting company and going to work for a tech company in San Diego through a series of interesting decisions.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:13:45] And I was working at the time at a tech company in San Diego for a woman who had a PhD in Organizational Psychology. And I really had -- Like I mentioned, I never really decided or thought much about going to grad school, but this woman was a really very influential, and I was sort of bored in the job that I was actually in there, and she kind of went out on a limb and she said, "Of course, you're bored. You haven't gotten a Phd yet."

Kathryn Dekas: [00:14:18] And she's kind of kidding, but it really stuck with me. And, sometimes, that's all it takes is one person to kind of plant the seed. And I started looking into it, and I started doing some reading about what is this all about, what would the PhD program give me as far as job opportunities, and so forth. Then, as I started reading more and more about it, I realized, "Oh, this is kind of what I've been doing all along. I'm kind of a natural observer. I've kind of been analyzing my world anyway. And this is the way to actually make it my career."

Kathryn Dekas: [00:14:56] And so, it was a really interesting kind of series of moments that led me to decide to apply. But I think I was lucky to have met her and, also, lucky enough to kind of pause and even hear that feedback. You know, I think plenty of times, you just kind of let these things go. That stuck with me.

Andy Molinsky: [00:15:17] Yeah, yeah. That's so interesting. And so, I feel like we're like really fast forwarding here a bit. So, you go to Michigan, you get your PhD. But, essentially, you go to Michigan, and you do your PhD. And you're, then, trying to figure out what to do next. And I know that most people who go to Michigan and get PhDs go on to academic careers. In fact, I know many people who have done that. So, tell us about that process. And I think, it was -- How did you end up at Google? And then, kind of bring us to the present.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:15:56] Yeah. I think that the years that I worked before I went back to grad school had a big influence on me. And I love the grad school. And I was fascinated by the material. My eyes were just open to all these observations I've had in the workplace that I didn't understand. But then, coming to grad school, I realized, "Oh, people have studied this stuff. Here's why this happens."

Kathryn Dekas: [00:16:21] And there was such a huge gap to me in what was going on in the actual workplace and what people knew from the science. And as much as I really enjoyed being an academic researcher, I think I was just drawn back to, how can I share all this great learning with people outside?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:16:41] And so, my earlier experiences really motivated that quite a bit And to your point, Andy, like it was a hard decision because the vast majority of people go into academics and continue on the tenure track. And I was pretty apprehensive about leaving that because that's what I've been trained to do at that point.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:17:04] And then, it was kind of a lucky series of events. I happened to be on Google's website one day because I was actually interested in studying companies like Google for my dissertation. And I was looking at what kinds of jobs they hired for and trying to kind of canvass what is this company all about which, at the time, I think this was 2007 or 2006, Google was kind of just coming on the scene. I think they had maybe just, for the first time, one of the Great Places to Work award or whatever. And people were very fascinated by what was going on here. And so, I was trying to understand what is this all about.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:17:47] And I stumbled on a job description for a PhD intern with exactly the skills I had been learning. And I figured this is kind of coincidental. I'm just going to throw my hat in the ring. And I wound up getting the job offer. And I just couldn't say no. It was like all these things kind of coming together.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:18:10] And fortunately, my advisor at the time could not have been more supportive and wound up really being very encouraging of me going, not only for the work experience, but also because it wound up helping me some on a really interesting dissertation topic. So, there was a lot of good things kind of coming together at once.

Andy Molinsky: [00:18:33] Wow, really cool. So, then, you obviously liked it because you've been there for 10 years.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:18:42] Yeah.

Andy Molinsky: [00:18:42] Pretty much, you told us you've had some different roles and you've grown into your current role.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:18:47] Yeah, yeah. I've really enjoyed it. Like I said, I mean, I think it's been a wonderful, wonderful experience, very interesting. It just keeps being challenging, and the company keeps changing. So, for somebody like me who's an observer and interested in just understanding things, there's nothing better than change because there's always new questions and kind of puzzles that come along.

Andy Molinsky: [00:19:12] So, let's jump into some of some specific questions now, maybe some advice questions. And the first question I have is about misconceptions that -- So, you've told your story, and I'm curious about what misconceptions you think young people have when entering the workplace, I guess, from making that leap from college to the professional world.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:19:37] Yeah. I think that people come into the workplace with all sorts of different perspectives. And so, not to generalize totally, but, I think, at least, from my perspective, a lot of my peers coming into the workplace, first of all, have some hesitancy about the fact that they have anything to contribute.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:19:55] Comparatively, I went into a management consulting role. What did I know about consulting management? It was hard to believe that I had something to offer. And I think that was a big misconception. Young people have so much to offer in the way of different perspectives, new ways of thinking about problems, new technologies. So, that makes those busted pretty quickly.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:20:20] I think though another thing is that people see the workplace as a pretty -- I don't know. Maybe like a uni-dimensional thing, I think, before you enter it. And we all hear about the very traditional career path of promotion, and moving up a bigger tower, and all of that. And it's hard to understand and the web of different options that actually does exist.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:20:47] And so, I think another big misconception is just that there's kind of one path to the top or one path to wherever you're going. And in fact, there's so many different paths. And most people get off the original path of their own. I think that's kind of a -- That what would be a big one.

Andy Molinsky: [00:21:04] So, when you say get off your original path, can you just give an example? Just flesh it out with a example. It could even be a hypothetical example.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:21:12] Yeah. I think -- So, countless people that I know started off going to a pre-law kind of job or being a paralegal, expecting to go to law school, and hated it, and go off, and pursue an entirely different career. Or I have other friends who have stayed in the same exact kind of domain, let's call it the medical field, but thought they would go off and become some really heavy hitting surgeon. and instead have done international public health or some other kind of variation on a theme.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:21:51] And so, I think that, often, the entry point is not necessarily path-dependent. I think, you can really find a lot of different paths within that you don't know. You just don't know about beforehand.

Andy Molinsky: [00:22:06] Do you think that's easy? Like I'm imagining -- I think, you're totally right, and I can think about people I know, and even myself totally fits that. What if we were to tell a 20-year-old just that who's super nervous about finding the best perfect job, how do you think they'd respond? I mean, they probably politely respond, "Oh, yes."

Kathryn Dekas: [00:22:28] They go for it. I'm sure not to.

Andy Molinsky: [00:22:28] What do you think they would think?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:22:33] I mean, if I was talking to myself in that time, I think that, at that time, all I wanted was a path that I could just follow, right. Like the same kind of a track you're on in this school situation, you kind of go from freshman year to sophomore year, and you know what classes are required, and so forth. And there is just no required classes after you graduate, and you don't know even what the next milestone is. And I think you've got to trust you'll figure it out.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:23:05] And if you want a more structured career path, they certainly do exist. And so, that's a nice option. There's always grad school. There are always learning programs you can enroll in. But, I think, also, one of the things that I've really come to value more and more over time in my career is patience.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:23:27] And, sometimes, the longer that I'm in a particular role, the more opportunity I see in that role. I figure out ways to do it differently or kind of reinvent myself even in the role, and I'm able to do it better. And so, I think, although it seems like a long time at any given moment, I think, that people who have a little bit of patience do kind of find some creative opportunity.

Andy Molinsky: [00:23:53] Really interesting. As you're talking, I'm thinking about myself, but we won't make this a therapy session. So, how about skills and knowledge from college that ended up being useful for your career, maybe unexpectedly useful? Tell us a bit about that link if there was one. I imagine it's an interesting one because Google certainly didn't exist when you were in college.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:24:22] No. Oh no. No. And, yeah, I mean, I was in college right when the dot com bust happened. So, I mean, the fact that I'm here now is a little entertaining and would have been surprising at the time. I think that there are a lot of things you can point to. You can point to hard skills that you learn, how to be a good writer, how to be a good communicator, base analytical skills. Those things are so helpful. They carry you through, and they're required. They're kind of table stakes.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:24:58] I think the thing that really differentiated kind of once I got into the workplace the things that became really helpful were the kinds of personal qualities that you develop during times of some struggle. So, in college for me, for example, really, I came into college from a pretty easy high school experience. And boy, was that a wake-up call. And I really had to kind of learn how to ask for help, learn how to persevere in the face of a challenge, and it was not easy.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:25:34] And I think some of those skills are really into things that I see differentiating my peers or people on my team now. People who have really strong work ethic, or persevere, or find different creative kind of problem solving approaches become super valuable. Often, even more so than people with the better inherent skills.

Andy Molinsky: [00:25:59] Interesting. That is very -- I think that it's certainly interesting. It's kind of inspiring because, I think, a lot of students, it's sort of along the lines of like, "What can I possibly add?" right.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:26:10] Right, right.

Andy Molinsky: [00:26:10] And a lot of these personal qualities, that's absolutely you can add. Speaking of students, it's time for a student question.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:26:17] Okay.

Andy Molinsky: [00:26:18] So, let's listen to our student question for today. I'll play it. And then, we'll see what we think.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:26:25] Yeah.

Logan: [00:26:25] Hi. My name is Logan, and I study Management. I am from Boston. I was wondering how your academics transferred into leadership skills in the workplace?

Andy Molinsky: [00:26:33] We just talked about that, although, we didn't talk about leadership skills.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:26:36] Yes, yes. I think leadership is a hard thing to define. it's one of those things you never know it when you see it. But I think that so many experiences from school, from college can translate into that. And people have exceptional leadership experiences during school. So, things like learning how to make a hard decision, act with integrity, demonstrate a really strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, all of these things are things that I think people learn pretty early on in their leadership journey or in their career.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:27:19] And those are the same kinds of things that, I think, are most inspiring for leaders now. When I look at the leaders who I really respect, and admire, and took goal, they're the people who aren't necessarily the ones with the loudest voices or always the center of attention but the most thoughtful, the most ethical, people who really build a strong team around them, and I think give credit but then take blame. So, they really allow their team to shine and empower them.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:27:50] So, lots of school experiences, I think, teach people this. I played a lot of sports growing up. And, I think, for me anyways, sports was definitely something that helped me, wearing a lot of those kinds of those kinds of qualities, but I think it's also something that you can keep improving at over time.

Andy Molinsky: [00:28:09] Can you give us an example of -- That's an interesting one because I imagine a lot of people listening, certainly, have played sports growing up, in high school maybe, even college. Can you draw a link?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:28:23] Yeah. So, I played basketball a lot in high school and tennis. And, I think, for me, the basketball team translated a lot to the workplace in the sense of you don't necessarily have one star. Oftentimes, you have different people who excel at different things. But one star is never going to win the game for you. You have to have the whole team working together.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:28:55] And it sounds like a pretty trade example, but I think that a lot of times, people get caught up in the workplace and individual achievement. A lot of times, you're paid individually, you're rewarded individual, promoted, and so forth. But, really, I think, the best leaders find a way to really harness the power of the group, and realize that we're all going to succeed or fail in this together, and you really can't just try to do it alone.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:29:26] And so, I mean, that's a pretty basic example, but so much I think is just learned in those kind of osmosis moments as you're either playing sports or on some other kind of activity where you're kind of just working together with people.

Andy Molinsky: [00:29:44] Yeah, that makes sense. So, a couple of final questions for you. I call this the quick fire round. And oftentimes, these questions end up actually inviting the much longer answer. But let's jump into a couple of them. Let me see here. How about a piece of advice that someone gave you earlier in your career that perhaps you didn't take, but you wish you did? And if there isn't something exactly like that, maybe something about early career advice that you might be able to share.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:30:17] Yeah. I would go to something from my dad. And people always -- He would say, "People always like to say life is short, and so make the most of it." And he said, "Life is long." So, in fact, you don't want to make a decision that you're stuck with forever that's not the right one. And so, his piece of advice was pick a job that doesn't feel like work. And it took me a while to figure out what that meant for me because it's hard. You have to really figure that out individually. But I think that was a great advice.

Andy Molinsky: [00:30:54] That's good advice. And what questions would you ask yourself? I'm just trying to imagine someone listening, what kinds of questions I wonder would one ask oneself to notice if it's sort of work or non-work?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:31:08] Yeah. The kinds of things I ask myself were, what was I thinking about, or what was I reading about, or observing, or wanting to talk about when I was not at work, or when I was with my friends? And in my spare time, what was I procrastinating with when I was supposed to be doing something else?

Andy Molinsky: [00:31:31] And what if the answer's that I play fortnight?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:31:36] Right. How you can turn that into a course?

Andy Molinsky: [00:31:36] No, I'm serious actually. How do you draw -- I mean, I'm not fully serious. I have a 12-year-old who would probably answer that, but what if -- I mean, that is a cool. I totally get that. That makes a lot of sense. It's almost like the side hustle idea.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:31:56] Yeah, exactly.

Andy Molinsky: [00:31:56] But what if you don't have a side hustle, how would you -- I don't mean to put you on the spot. It's just-

Kathryn Dekas: [00:32:02] No, it's fine.

Andy Molinsky: [00:32:03] It's just really good advice, I think, about -- In fact, it's funny because my dad told me the same thing actually was to find-

Kathryn Dekas: [00:32:11] Really?

Andy Molinsky: [00:32:11] Well, he's still working.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:32:13] Yes, I don't mind.

Andy Molinsky: [00:32:16] And I think it's because he doesn't experience it as work.

Andy Molinsky: [00:32:19] Yes, same, yeah.

Andy Molinsky: [00:32:20] But I wonder like how you find that. It's elusive.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:32:26] It is elusive. I think, you've got it you've got to have some trust that it will happen. And, sometimes, I think Steve Jobs gave -- I think he was the one who gave the kind of commencement speech one time who said it's hard to connect the dots looking forward. but, often, you can connect the dots looking back. And if you kind of look at the things that you have pursued over the course of your life without necessarily trying to, what is the common thread? And what does that tell you about the kinds of things that you enjoy or the people that you enjoy?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:33:05] I had another professor in grad school, Jane Dutton, who said, "What are the environments where you feel at your best? And how could you spend more time in those environments?" And I think, that's another clue to just kind of pick up along the way, and try to connect the dots, and keep kind of moving toward things that are inspiring.

Andy Molinsky: [00:33:29] It's interesting. It makes me -- This image of the typical career advice or maybe not. I don't know if it's typical, but certainly one form of career advice where it's just you just got to put your head down and work hard, but this is like the complete opposite.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:33:46] Yeah. I mean, the worst possible advice for somebody who is trying to figure out their next path, but I think it's hard to not also feel paralyzed in a moment like that. If you don't know what your thing is, how do you actually take action? And I think that kind of the compliment of find something that you're really passionate about is don't wait to do anything until you find the perfect thing. That's where it comes in and kind of like roll stuff out as you go along because I think everything that you do gives you a little clue.

Andy Molinsky: [00:34:22] Yeah. No, that's excellent advice. So, hey, we're really at the end of our chat. It's funny. I just looked at the time and time just flew. And I just want to thank you so much for being our guest. If people are interested in the work that you guys do at Google, is any of it public? Is there anything people can check out?

Kathryn Dekas: [00:34:41] Actually, yes. We publish a lot of our research on a site called Rework. The website is rework There's a ton of our research on the site, and I think it would give a pretty good example into what kinds of work we're doing, and the puzzles that we engage.

Andy Molinsky: [00:35:05] Awesome, cool. I'll check it out myself too.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:35:06] Yeah, you completely do.

Andy Molinsky: [00:35:08] Thanks so much for being on. Appreciate it.

Kathryn Dekas: [00:35:11] Yeah, my pleasure, Andy. Thanks so much. Have a good day.