The Best Career Plan is to Take Advantage of Opportunities
Ann Veneman became the Executive Director of UNICEF in 2005. She was the first woman to serve as the Unites States Secretary of Agriculture.
Ann Veneman: Well, many young women in particular but young people in general ask me, "How did you plan your career to get where you've gotten?" And I've said oftentimes that I never would have imagined that I would end up in the cabinet of the U.S. or even the cabinet of the state or in the leadership position in the United Nations; but it was a matter of taking advantage of opportunities that were presented to me that I would not have necessarily thought about taking in my career.
So when I was a young lawyer practicing law in California, the opportunity to first go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture was presented to me to work on trade issues and international issues. Had I said no to that, had I not taken that chance, taken that complete turn in my life, I would not have done any of the things I've ended up doing. And so I often look back at my life and say it was not about having goals to do these things, but taking advantage of opportunities that came my way.
I know that that's not the advice a lot of people give others. They tell young people to have goals, to look to the future, to look at what—to imagine what you want to be, but I also think you can't be so goal-oriented that you say no to an opportunity that could lead you places you never imagined you could end up and opportunities that are a great possibility to impact the world.
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Ann Veneman has broken so many glass ceilings that she is understandably asked about it often. After all, she must have had a very clear career plan. And yet, Veneman tells Big Think her approach was very unorthodox as she reached a cabinet post in the White House and top leadership position at the UN. According to Veneman, career success for her was a matter of taking advantage of opportunities.
We can either be fearful of artificial intelligence, or embrace it as a tool to help us improve service.
- Artificial intelligence is already here and it has been taking care of mundane tasks and advising professionals of its findings to help improve service. For instance, doctors refer to A.I.'s findings on x-rays when developing treatment plans for patients.
- In Latvia and China, artificial intelligence programs are already handling small claims in courts of law. This helps free up legal experts to focus on cases that transcend routine offenses.
- Robotics is changing the manufacturing industry because drones and robots are increasingly capable of handling mundane work, monotonous jobs that many humans might find tiring.
A review of the global "wall" that divides rich from poor.
- Trump's border wall is only one puzzle piece of a global picture.
- Similar anxieties are raising similar border defenses elsewhere.
- This map shows how, as a result, "the West" is in fact one large gated community.
The private sector may need the Outer Space Treaty to be updated before it can make any claims to celestial bodies or their resources.
- The Outer Space Treaty, which was signed in 1967, is the basis of international space law. Its regulations set out what nations can and cannot do, in terms of colonization and enterprise in space.
- One major stipulation of the treaty is that no nation can individually claim or colonize any part of the universe—when the US planted a flag on the Moon in 1969, it took great pains to ensure the world it was symbolic, not an act of claiming territory.
- Essentially to do anything in space, as a private enterprise, you have to be able to make money. When it comes to asteroid mining, for instance, it would be "astronomically" expensive to set up such an industry. The only way to get around this would be if the resources being extracted were so rare you could sell them for a fortune on Earth.