Notes on Job & Career Development

1251 words · 6 minute read
Last updated: Feb 5, 2024 · Published: May 26, 2022

Choosing tasks

Avoid Working Alone by Dan Moore

I suggest that the first job you take be the one with the highest learning potential, not the highest earning potential.

10x more selective by Yossi Kreinin

People often assume that 10x more productivity results from 10x more aptitude or 10x more knowledge. I don’t think so. Now I’m not saying aptitude and knowledge don’t help. But what I’ve noticed over the years is that the number one factor is 10x more selectivity. The trick is to consistently avoid shit work. And by shit work, I don’t necessarily mean “intellectually unrewarding”. Rather, the definition of shit work is that its output goes down the toilet.


Learn In Public: The fastest way to learn by swyx

[Most] people “learn in private”, and lurk. They consume content without creating any themselves. […] It’s not about reaching as many people as possible with your content. If you can do that, great, remember me when you’re famous. But chances are that by far the biggest beneficiary of you trying to help past you is future you. If others benefit, that’s icing.

Get your work recognized

Get your work recognized: write a brag document by Julia Evans

It’s frustrating to have done something really important and later realize that you didn’t get rewarded for it just because the people making the decision didn’t understand or remember what you did.

Don’t End The Week With Nothing by patio11

Don’t end the week with nothing. Prefer to work on things you can show. Prefer to work where people can see you. Prefer to work on things you can own.

Sell yourself, Sell Your Work by Colin Wright

Doing technically brilliant work may be enough for your personal gratification, but you should never think it’s enough. If you lock yourself in a room and do the most marvellous work but don’t tell anyone, then no one will know, no one will benefit, and the work will be lost. You may as well not have bothered. For the world to benefit from your work, and therefore for you to benefit fully from your work, you have to make it known.

Leading people

Why It’s Easier to Manage 4 People Than It Is to Manage 1 Person by Stay SaaSy

Avoid having first time managers have a team of 1 individual contributor for a prolonged amount of time. That team size is an anti-pattern for more reasons than just this one.

Managing people by Andreas Klinger

I think it roots in a misunderstanding of what the role of a manager is:

  • your job is not to manage people
  • but to manage processes and lead people


The Practical Benefits of Outrageous Optimism by Mr. Money Mustache

If you believe success is almost guaranteed, you’re going to try some pretty fun ventures. In reality, sure, you fail at some things, but what do they always tell us is the best teacher? That’s right, it’s failure. So you end up racking up much more hard-earned experience and knowledge than the non-optimist.Then what do you do with all that extra knowledge? You succeed. Meanwhile, everyone else is still hesitating to try the first thing.

What Silicon Valley “Gets” about Software Engineers that Traditional Companies Do Not by Gergely Orosz

“SV-like” companies think of engineers as value generators, and creative problem solvers. Traditional companies think of them as factory workers.

Choose Boring Technology by Dan McKinley

The nice thing about boringness (so constrained) is that the capabilities of these things are well understood. But more importantly, their failure modes are well understood.

How to live a a happy life with Michael Plant

However, looking at the latest research on happiness, I think we basically get this the wrong way around: it seems much easier to become happier by changing how you think or spend your time, and actually quite hard to increase it by becoming rich and successful.

How Developers Stop Learning: Rise of the Expert Beginner by Erik Dietrich

If you’ve ever heard the aphorism about “ten years of experience or the same year of experience ten times,” the Expert Beginner is the epitome of the latter. The Expert Beginner has perfected the craft of bowling a 160 out of 300 possible points by doing exactly the same thing week in and week out with no significant deviations from routine or desire to experiment.

Always be quitting by Julio Merino

Paradoxically, by being disposable, you free yourself. You make it easier for yourself to grow into a higher-level role and you make it easier for yourself to change the projects you work on.

3 Lines of Code Shouldn’t Take All Day by Adam Berg

At some point, someone had to have stepped up and said “it takes too darn long to test these changes, is there a better way?” This is a question we should be asking ourselves every day. In a future post, I will go over how web developers needs to start taking iteration time more seriously as the influx of new tools and frameworks starts to bloat up build times.

Being a good coworker

How Do Individual Contributors Get Stuck? A Primer by Camille Fournier

Everyone has at least one area that they tend to get stuck on. An activity that serves as an attractive sidetrack. A task they will do anything to avoid. With a bit of observation, you can start to see the places that your colleagues get stuck. This is a super power for many reasons, but at a baseline, it is great for when you need to write a review and want to provide useful constructive feedback.

When your coworker does great work, tell their manager by Julia Evans

[…] managers don’t always see the work their reports are doing, and if someone is doing really amazing work that their manager isn’t seeing, they won’t get promoted as quickly. So it’s helpful to tell managers about work that they may not be seeing.

The right collaboration, not more collaboration

The Case Against Collaboration by Paul Taylor

The mantra of sharing your work and involving everyone in decisions naturally leads to inviting and copying people into things that add no value to them, or you.

The involvement of more people doesn’t automatically mean more diversity of thought, or guarantee any productivity gains.

Related post: What “Work” Looks Like by Jim Nielsen


Presentation Rules by Jilles Oldenbeuving

  1. 80%+ of all failures in an organization larger than 1.000 people are attributable to failed communication
  2. Presentations, either as verb or noun, are a substantial part of communications in a business
  3. Thus improving your presentations will improve effectiveness of your organization


Getting hired

Make it easy for others to see that you are good by xyzelement

[…] When I was young, I had some fixed mindset - I am either good enough or not. They will either see that I am good or they won’t. Nowadays, it’s obvious to me that it’s my responsibility to make it easy for them to see that I am good. That’s what practice is - it’s you working on your ability to articulate your fit for the role. That could be your ability to solve problems at the whiteboard, honing your career story, etc - the point is that if you ultimately don’t have something to offer, no amount of practice will help - but if you have the potential but don’t know how to let it show, you won’t get the job either.