career

Work ethic, income, advancement, and business ownership

Just saw this: “Never let your boss convince you that ‘work ethic’ is working extra hours for free. It’s the same as writing a check to the business owner.”

Technically that’s true, a good observation, and I can’t argue with it.

Conversely, when I got out of college, my wife’s grandfather told me the phrase, “If you do more for what you’re paid to do, you’ll eventually be paid more for what you do.” As an employee, I made a lot of money with his philosophy, rapidly doubling and tripling my income.

Later, as the owner of a small business, I didn’t mind it when employees didn’t work overtime – and we always paid for overtime. I respect people who want to work forty hours a week and have a balanced life. But I also knew that those people would never become partners in our business. I never thought of it as good or bad, just a fact of business life.

Stay focused and keep your head down

DeMarcus Ware is one of my favorite football players, by all accounts a real leader and team player. Here’s a nice quote from him in this article:

“I told myself, ‘Don’t get caught up. Stay focused and keep your head down and everything will be all right,’ ” he says. “That’s always been my motto: If you don’t get caught up in the hype, you can do something great.”

The universe may be suggesting a career path

I watched the movie Deuce Bigalow a few nights ago, and ever since then I keep hearing the song Call Me by Blondie on the radio. I think the universe may be suggesting a new career path, though I could be reading it wrong.

A bad day can be the best thing to happen to you

About five years ago, when my thyroid was first failing, I went through something known as Hashimoto’s disease. What happened was that at some times I would become hyperthyroid (and therefore hyperactive), but most of the time I was hypothyroid, meaning that my brain and body were slow and sluggish.

Nine times out of ten I was sluggish, so one day when I had a job interview I decided to drink some Red Bull. I had one drink an hour before the interview, and drank the second one just before the interview.

Sadly, on this occasion my body decided to have that “1 out of 10” day and be hyperactive. Combined with the two Red Bull drinks I couldn’t sit still or think. I’m sure the people conducting the interview thought I was on speed, and more than once they told me I could relax. I wanted to tell them, “No, I can’t. I really can’t.” By the end of that miserable interview I was just glad my heart didn’t explode.

At the time this seemed like a really bad event in my life. I didn’t know what to do about my thyroid, and I felt miserable. I was at a real low point, especially in my professional life.

Fortunately one of the next things I did was to send an email to the O’Reilly folks asking if they needed someone to write the Scala Cookbook. They said yes, and the rest is history.

Looking back on that interview, I now think that if I had done well that day I might have been forced to work with Java for the next few years. Instead, I’ve been able to work with Scala ever since that day. I got to write the Scala Cookbook, and now I’m working on a book about Scala and functional programming. With the mast cell disease stuff I just went through I would have never been able to work at a “normal” job, so all of this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Moral: One some days things in your life can look bad, really bad. But if you keep your chin up and keep working hard, good things can still happen, and in the end that bad day can be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Truck drivers may need a new trade

When I saw this map after the election I didn’t think about politics. I thought, “Wow, in ten years almost all of those truck drivers can be replaced by self-driving vehicles.”

I’m all for reducing congestion on the interstates — the U.S. population has probably doubled since the interstates were built — but that looks like a lot of people who are going to need to learn a new trade.

What are you willing to do to become successful?

I hear a lot of people say they want to be successful. For me this always comes down to, “What are you willing to do to make that happen?”

In my own case I had to overcome a fear of public speaking, learn how to write software, learn how to build and manage a company, learn some sales techniques, make sacrifices on how I spend my time, etc.

How to design products you’ll love (inspired by Jonathan Ive)

Introduction: Recently I was talking with some people recently about “design”, and as an effort to show how the design process works, I used the process of designing a coffee mug as a way of explaining the process. This article walks you through this process, though the actual designs are up to you.

Steve Jobs: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon”

In terms of being a nice person, Steve Jobs may have been the worst Buddhist in the history of the world, but he captures the Zen/Buddhist essence in this quote:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Photo from forbes.com, words from Steve Jobs.