Category: Career

Dancing Is the Highest Form of Networking

Tonight at a wedding I met the head of a significant organization in my industry. Shortly after we were both out on the dance floor enjoying Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.” It was an interesting transition: from talking serious business to grooving out. But it worked. Networking is all about building connection, trust, and mutual regard. […]

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Stop Saying “We”: Why You Should Say “I” and “You” More at the Office

I have a controversial opinion. The Harvard Business Review people aren’t going to like this, but professionals on teams need to stop saying “we” so much. “We aren’t doing a good enough job of supporting our customers like ACME Corporation.” “We crushed it by landing that new deal with ACME Corporation.”  “We should create a […]

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Young Employees Are Scared S***less. Here’s How To Encourage Them

So, you want to help your fresh-faced young hires perform better at your company. If they’re good workers, the biggest problems you’ll find will seem to be timidity, over-subservience and dependence, a lack of engagement, a lack of initiative, and a lack of clear, original thinking. Do you remember being a young employee? If you do, […]

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Workplace Personalities, Self-Knowledge, and Office Conflict Immunization

If you care about professional success, you almost need to make working with new personality types a part of your job. It’s easy to develop a bubble in the workplace, especially in small companies. Many companies start out with a pretty homogenous culture with pretty homogenous personalities. For all the faults of this approach, it does make it easy […]

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Great Brand Wisdom in 24 Bullet Points (Amazon.Love, or the Bezos Commandments)

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 6 of that challenge.  I keep one of my favorite lists of brand-building commandments by my desk. These points were first written in a short memo (with the subject line […]

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Desk Photos, Work-Life Separation, and Character

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 5 of that challenge.  By my desk at work I have a string of photos hung on twine by clothespins. Many of these photos are personal. Hanging them up […]

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Work Life Hack: Turn Your Desk Into a Snack Stand

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 4 of that challenge.  I’m currently in a bit of an arms race at work. On my colleague J’s desk is a box of candy that has become popular […]

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Cheap Google Sunglasses, Over the Top Startup Bro, and Leaning Into Tech Stereotypes

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 2 of that challenge.  Hanging up by my desk at work you’ll find a broken pair of Google-branded red, blue, green, and yellow sunglasses. I first got these sunglasses […]

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Resilience, Rebounds, and Soybean Crops

“. . . If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same. . .” – If, Rudyard Kipling There’s photo hanging by the desk at my office that perfectly captures what it takes to succeed in a startup. Except it’s about farming. The photo on the right is a clipping from a […]

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Design Your Plans Like You Would Design a Product

I’ve started and abandoned many projects in my time, in work and out of it. But that’s not the worst of it. I’ve even procrastinated on things procrastinators love: planning. I have about as many plans lying dead on the roadside as you have projects. With projects as with plans, “scope creep” – expanding requirements […]

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Businesses Need Psychotherapy, Too

Since Freud came on the scene in psychology, the practice of psychotherapy has given countless people insight into their unique psychological issues. But what could businesses learn from psychotherapy for solving their own problems? One of the main assumptions of most mainstream* psychology and psychotherapy is that self-destructive beliefs and behaviors lie rooted in traumatic past experiences. For example, maybe someone […]

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Milgram Experiments and Workplace “Common Sense”

The Milgram Experiment was a famous psychological experiment in which participants administered “shocks” to other humans under the direction of authoritative-looking “scientists” in lab coats. Long story short, the experiment found (much to the surprise of its creators) that the majority of people would follow authority to the point of “killing” the actors they were […]

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The Wisdom of Late Nights and All-Nighters

I was at my office last night past midnight working on last-minute needs for an event marketing commitment. There are a lot of feelings people might associate with staying late at the office (and getting reduced sleep), but “fun” and “nostalgia” and “wellbeing” aren’t too common. Yet those are the things I feel when I […]

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Use the Hiring Process To Get Self-Knowledge About Your Business

We tend to make interviewing too one-sided, whether we’re looking for a job or looking for someone to fill a job. Too often we’re so busy learning about the other person that we fail to learn about ourselves. “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” is a great question to ask a potential […]

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A Case for Grown-Up Summer Jobs

Water navigation. Entertaining tourists. Playing DJ. Pulling people around on inflatable tubes. Captaining a tour boat on the lake seems like the best job. Or at least, so I thought as I watched a young Lake Lanier dock hand at work today. Lots of us have fond memories of the days when we spent the hot summer […]

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How To Learn a Career Without Losing Your Personality

In Mastery, Robert Greene paints a thorough picture of apprenticeship and the power it has had to shape great creative careers throughout history. In one form or another, apprenticeship has been part of the path for masters from Leonardo da Vinci to Benjamin Franklin. Apprenticeship sounds very rosy, but the truth is that (in its purest form) it was designed […]

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Good Things That Happen When You Stay Late at the Office

There are plenty of good reasons to stay late at the office, even if you’re not a workaholic. For me as a young employee, making the time to commit some later nights has given me access to large slots of uninterrupted creative time. It’s given me the time I need to think and do the […]

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Why Great Employees Are Also Great Archaeologists

Salesforce. Marketing automation. Certified public accountancy. Javascript. There are lots of skills these days that can look great on a job application. But there’s one skill that (while it won’t look good on a resume) will help you breeze through your first months at a company. It’s a little something I call “business archaeology”. Business archaeology […]

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10 Things You’ll Experience In a Summer Job at a Hardware Store

I cut my teeth as a young employee in part by working in a hardware store back in the summer of 2014. Hardware stores are magical places, and they’re perfect places to be if you want to learn about home maintenance over a summer. There are some experiences you can get at a hardware store that you […]

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A Running List of Sayings and Quotes On Mature Leadership

In my book, Ned Stark is the foremost fantasy authority on leadership. Ned demonstrates great leadership more in his actions than in his words, but he says some things which get to the root of leadership: “Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man […]

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Leadership, Ennoblement, and Why We Still Love Monarchies

There is an old idea in the Judeo-Christian tradition that humans were given dominion over the earth to rule in the image of God. It’s a remarkable idea, made more remarkable by the fact that such dominion appears to be shared by *all* humans. Later writers in the same tradition developed that idea further into the […]

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5 Ways To Treat Your European Coworkers to an American Experience

This week several of my company’s European (Dutch and Slovakian) employees came to our US office in Alpharetta, Georgia for a few days. I and a couple of my fellow Americans took it upon ourselves to make sure that they really lived it up and got the best possible experience of this wonderful country. Maybe you want […]

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Strong Cultures Have Shared Trauma: Or Why Your Business Needs a Good Crisis Every Now and Then

Want your company culture to be stronger? Want people to value each other and work together? Set some s*%^ on fire. OK, I kid. I wouldn’t exactly advise actively creating a crisis. But I would advise (to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel) never letting a good crisis go to waste. Nothing replaces a good catastrophe for bringing […]

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Get What You Want at Work By Being More Specific

If you wanted to go on a date with someone, you wouldn’t just say “Want to go on a date?” You would present a plan: “Can I take for you ice cream and a walk in the park this Saturday at 6?” Specificity like this makes our proposals clearer, more credible, and more attractive. Setting details […]

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Startup Survivors and Risk: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Scrappy Mentality

At the time of his passing, Chik-fil-A founder Truett Cathy had an office desk drawer full of plastic silverware saved up over the years. Like many people of his generation, he inherited frugality from the experience of the Great Depression. Frugality drove the Great Depression/WWII generation to accumulate and pass on tremendous wealth and productivity […]

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The Two-Part Journey of Succeeding as a Startup Employee

The Franciscan friar Richard Rohr talks about the two parts of life: the first half in which we learn and conquer and grasp, and the second in which we learn to give and let go. Similarly, in my experience, there are two parts in the successful startup employee journey. And like most true and valuable things, they […]

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How Our Business Stories Can Bring Us All Together

I don’t have much in common with the person who cuts my hair. We have obvious differences in age, experience, background, and work (I’m a technology marketer and she is a hair stylist). But as with all humans who look different at first glance, there’s something deeper that ties us together: business. Yesterday I had […]

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A Running List of Skills and Knowledge I Didn’t Expect To Learn From My Job

The best jobs teach you things you didn’t expect to learn. Through being a marketer at a bitcoin payment processor, I’ve learned about much more than just marketing. Most of these are the reasons I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had: Cold calling – Early on in my job (while I was still an intern), I […]

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5 Reasons To Send Your Lower-Level Employees To Conferences, Too

I’ve been to a decent number of conferences and professional events now for someone my age, but it’s been a while. This last weekend’s experience at FEECon shook me up, gave me pages of notes and a crowded page of items, and inspired me to be a better creator. I’m typically a little skeptical of most conferences. […]

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Beware Meetings Traveling in Packs

Meetings are a necessary evil, and they are worth doing as quickly and efficiently as possible. So there are some serious benefits to batching meetings. We do this at my current company, and while meeting day can be hell, it saves us a lot of focused time in the rest of the week. Meeting-batching is efficient, […]

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