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The CEO of OpenTable says there’s no such thing as a ‘wrong turn’ in your career: ‘You really don’t have to stress out’

By | Annika Kim Constantino |

At some point, you might find yourself agonizing over an important career decision. Am I taking the wrong job, or joining the wrong company? Will all of my life plans fall apart if I choose incorrectly?

Debby Soo, CEO of restaurant reservation service OpenTable, can relate.

“I had a lot of anxiety and stress regarding what my path would be,” Soo, 41, tells CNBC Make It. “I was second-guessing my decisions at every inflection point of my career.”

It’s worked out for her: Soo became OpenTable’s CEO in 2020 after spending more than a decade at travel search company Kayak. Both companies are part of Booking Holdings’ vast portfolio of travel services. And Soo says she never would have even made it to Kayak if not for an early career job she initially thought she’d regret.

In 2007, when Soo was in her mid-20s, she joined Google’s strategic partnership team to work on the tech giant’s shopping feature. Upon her arrival, her manager immediately told her she’d instead work on Google Maps, a project she saw as “quite mundane, and not sexy by any means.”

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