The Job Hunting Podcast

65. How to avoid making mistakes: A disaster expert explains how to prepare for major career disruption - with Dr Gleb Tsipursky.

January 18, 2021

“Our emotions, our intuitions, and our gut reactions will often lead us in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Gleb Tsipursky in my interview with him, recorded on Friday 27th of March 2020. Never have we ever in our lives, in this generation, at this point in time, wanted to know more about what to do, how to do it, and when will the threat of COVID-19 be over. All over the world, political leaders, scientists, health practitioners, businesses, and families, are struggling to find their feet and get a sense of direction amidst the threat of COVID-19. It is impacting our health and our economy like no other crisis we’ve ever seen before.

In this episode, I interview Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, a disaster avoidance expert, consultant, coach, speaker, and former academic with over 15 years of experience as a cognitive neuroscientist and behavioral economist. Gleb has written for major outlets such as Inc. Magazine, Time, Scientific American, Fast Company, and Psychology Today, and has been interviewed extensively on TV and podcasts. As CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts, he has consulted and coached hundreds of clients worldwide, including large corporations such as IBM, Honda, and Wells Fargo. His academic career includes seven years as a professor at Ohio State University and dozens of peer-reviewed pieces published in leading academic journals. He authored the bestselling author of several books, such as “The Truth-Seeker’s Handbook,” “Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters.”

How did we connect, Gleb and me? When we booked our catch-up, the plan was to prepare you for redundancy and how job hunters can make the right decisions when emotions are high during a crisis or unexpected events. Little did we know we would be talking about avoiding disasters during the biggest disaster of our time.

So, what did we do? We quickly pivoted our chat and focused squarely on what is happening globally - the uncertainty and complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic, its effects on the economy, our work, or our livelihoods. Gleb helps us understand how to respond to threats effectively, make the right decisions, and prepare for things that can go wrong that we are not anticipating. At a time like this, his clients must be thinking, “how lucky are we that we’ve had Gleb on a retainer, right?!”. Yes, indeed!

And you will be pleased to know - I know I was - that many times during our conversation, I had my coaching framework validated over and over again by Gleb’s research and recommendations - that we need to think and plan long-term. We should focus and work strategically towards our goals to pragmatically develop a long term, sustainable career. I felt reassured that I’m tracking well in the support I’m providing you folks, my students, and clients. Together, we will get through this and be better positioned for the new world of work that will crystalize on the other side of this crisis. We’ve all heard this before; that crisis is both a threat and an opportunity. So we need to be ready to bypass the threats we face right now and those yet to come and use this hibernation time to prepare ourselves and update our toolkit to make the most out of the opportunities ahead.

In times of crisis, more often than not, we are overwhelmed with our emotions and base our decisions on what we feel is right. We are usually not prepared to deal with it and especially not make the right decisions that will benefit us for the long term. How can we make the right decisions, especially in times of crisis or when something unexpected happens, like COVID-19?


Here are some key takeaways from this interview:

Beware of these three cognitive biases: they are the specific errors we make because of how our brain is wired. They are the systematic patterns of making wrong decisions:

  1. Normalcy bias – where we feel like the future will be normal, that it will be like the past.
  2. Confirmation bias – where we tend to look for information that confirms our beliefs and ignore information that doesn’t.
  3. Optimism bias – where we tend to be way more optimistic about the future.

Ask yourself five questions to minimize risks when making important decisions:

  1. What important information didn’t I yet fully consider? What evidence then should I take into account?
  2. What dangerous judgment errors haven’t I addressed? What cognitive biases haven’t I considered?
  3. What would a trusted adviser tell you? What would they tell you about this situation?
  4. How have you addressed all the ways that this decision could fail?
  5. What would cause you to revise your decision? What would cause you to change your mind about whatever decision you’re making?


Links mentioned in this episode:


Free Optimized Job Search Schedule and Workshop - Holiday Edition

You can download the Optimized Job Search Schedule for free: a workbook I designed especially for the Holiday Season. It includes three weekly routines you can choose from to continue your job search during December-January. The workbook has an extra page for you to design your personalized routine that suits your needs. Still, the beauty is I’m giving you all the tips and listing all the essential activities you need to include, and giving you the flexibility to choose your best routine, no matter much or how little time you have, your job search schedule will suit you to a tea!

About your host:

Hello, I'm Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I'm also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach corporate, non-profit, and public professionals the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress. 


Host: Renata Bernarde

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The Job Hunting Podcast is a podcast by Pantala Pty Ltd.

Pantala acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Land we have recorded this podcast on, the Bunurong people. We pay our respects to their Elder's past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

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