Inside NGEN: Nine’s Jenna du Preez On Why You Should Invest In Your Weak Ties

Inside NGEN: Nine’s Jenna du Preez On Why You Should Invest In Your Weak Ties

In this monthly column with NGEN, the Media Federation of Australia’s (MFA) training program for media professionals with less than five years of experience, Nine’s Jenna du Preez makes the case for career progression through the strength of weak ties.

I’m currently working in my dream role as a client solutions executive within Nine’s Powered team. I had my eye on this role for a while and I got here by investing in my weak ties.

The phrase “you are who you hang with” isn’t just reserved for high school. As we embark on our careers, the real power to progress is to invest in your weak ties, according to clinical psychologist Meg Jay, who specialises in the development of twentysomethings.

Weak ties are friends of friends, or acquaintances you met at an NGEN event, or that person you bump into in the kitchen at work every Tuesday.

At the other end of the spectrum, strong ties are the people who play a crucial role in our lives – the ones we vent to, or who support us when we need a pep talk before an important presentation at work. But while there is a firm place for these strong ties in our lives, growth only comes when you step outside of your comfort zone.

We all know by now that when you surround yourself too much with like-minded people, ultimately you limit what you know, who you know and where you’ll go.

Which is why, Jay says, the strength of our weak ties has the potential to unlock success. Weak ties force us to communicate from a place of difference and therefore open our minds to new possibilities. While your attitude can influence your behaviour, your behaviour can also influence your attitude. Pushing yourself to do something new has the potential to shift your perception and learn something along the way.

An easy way to start investing in your weak ties is by asking someone you admire and respect for advice. Ask them how their role works, about their career path, or to provide feedback on some recent work you’ve done. Keep in mind we’re all busy, so it’s important to be specific about what you’re asking of them.

This is exactly how I landed my current role in Nine’s Powered team. I did some research, set my sights on a role and then worked my way there. Remember you are in the control room of your career and you have agency to chase where you’d like to go.

In turn, you can buddy up with the newest member in your team and help introduce them to our industry. A coffee before an NGEN event is a nice way to start, if you ask me. This can pay dividends into the future because you never know who you’ll end up working with! These connections promote and push us into thoughtful growth and change, so my advice is to reach and out and nurture those weak ties.

And like I said, getting involved in NGEN is another great way to nurture weak ties and turn them into strong ties. I’ve been an NGEN Committee member since March 2023 and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

The next NGEN event you attend, make a promise to yourself to say hello or connect on LinkedIn with someone new. You never know where that might take you! The 2024 NGEN calendar is out now and there are so many engaging topics this year, I’ve already locked in eight sessions and can’t wait.

Some of the best parts of being on the NGEN Committee have been getting to know other committee members, learning and improving my skills and being able to champion NGEN within Nine. I’m passionate about investing in the next generation and being a big sponge when it comes to learning. You can never stop learning!

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Inside NGEN

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