An Advice for Fresh Graduates before you take that First Job, Have an Exit Plan

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Have an Exit Plan

Don’t spend years on that same job if they don’t give you career growth in terms of skill and salary.
Let’s not be hypocrites, we all work so that we could get a life, don’t give your life to work.
Having friends and relationships in the workplace is nice, but that aint the goal, you should not stay in a dead end job just for your friends.
True friends are friends no matter where you are.

Before you take that first job, set a goal, “I want to learn as much as N so that I can perform role Y and be a sought-after subject matter expert on it, and I’d like to earn as much as $$$$$ in two years”

This is a S.M.A.R.T. Goal (from wikipedia)

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it. (you)
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Having a specific plan removes the emotional aspects that make it hard to leave the first job, combating the common fear “I might not get a new job after this”. If you focus on your goals of learning, you will definitely increase your chances of landing a better job.

Why the first job is very important

your first boss will have a lot of impact you your career,
a good one can help you build a roadmap, shows you the way and helps you gain confidence towards reaching your goals.
a bad one will tell you “you are stuck here forever” (and we dont want that)

Don’t just get a job for the sake of having one.
Choose one that fits your goals, if your goal is to learn then find companies/bosses that look for the same.

Hiring is a two way street, not only the company should like you, you should also like the company.
And by like i don’t mean just being nice, I mean your goals should match the company’s.
How would you get there? just be honest, tell them what you want to learn and grow into.
tell them were your weak points are. The good companies who support growth and development will take you in, just be honest.

Focus on your goal

don’t get stuck, don’t get blocked, allowing yourself to be blocked from your personal goals by your current job is a surefire to kill motivation and evolve to be that reactive-always-complaining employee. People fight over petty things when they don’t have better things to worry about such as a strong goal.
Don’t be one of those cancerous people in the workplace, ignore pessimists, improve your skills, focus on your goal and Move on when absolutely necessary.

When to quit strategically?
i suggest you read this

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“The Dip” by Seth Godin will teach you when to stick and when to quit.

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 any time you’re in a meeting where you’re not contributing nor adding value–you are encouraged to use your two feet and find a place where you can.


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How do I motivate my team?

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Step1: find the right people

get Growth-type people

Step 2: understand the factors behind motivation

From Dan Pink’s very famous book “Drive”

Autonomy – Creative Freedom
Mastery – Desire for Self Improvement
Purpose – the cause commit to as to why we do things.

From Dan Pink himself, in one of the most popular Ted Talks of all time.
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also you need to keep people within the “Flow zone” to avoid anxiety and boredom

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Where are the Motivated people I want for my team?

these sought after motivated people are Growth-type people.

Not everyone is at this level, those who do not even desire to leave the Existence stage are not worth your time, don’t stress over trying to teach them.

people can only get to this stage if the lower level stages are met, when existence needs is satisfied by a good income (or when coming from a well-off family and when relationship needs are met by families, friends,partner)

Alderfer’s ERG Theory

from wikipedia

Alderfer further developed Maslow’s hierarchy of needs by categorizing the hierarchy into his ERG theory (ExistenceRelatedness and Growth).

The existence group is concerned with providing the basic material existence requirements of humans. They include the items that Maslow considered to be physiological and safety needs.
Alderfer categorized the lower order needs (Physiological and Safety) into the Existence category.

The relatedness group, the desire people have for maintaining important interpersonal relationships. These social and status desires require interaction with others if they are to be satisfied, and they align with Maslow’s social need and the external component of Maslow’s esteem classification.
He fit Maslow’s interpersonal love and esteem needs into the Relatedness category.

The growth group, an intrinsic desire for personal development. These include the intrinsic component from Maslow’s esteem category and the characteristics included under self-actualization. The Growth category contained the self-actualization and self-esteem needs. Alderfer also proposed a regression theory to go along with the ERG theory.

He said that when needs in a higher category are not met then individuals redouble the efforts invested in a lower category need. For example if self-actualization or self-esteem is not met then individuals will invest more effort in the relatedness category in the hopes of achieving the higher need.[1]

Why we need a Systematic Approach to Developing our workforce

In the past the man has been first; in the future the system must be first. This in no sense, however, implies that great men are not needed. On the contrary, the first object of any good system must be that of developing first-class men; and under systematic management the best man rises to the top more certainly and more rapidly than ever before.

Frederick taylor (father of scientific management) 1911

The Quality of Your Product is Only as Good as the Tools You Use

Your software is only as good as the current knowledge of the team who created them

want a better product? desire a better team.

how do you do that?

Train them, give them resources

How do you ensure that resources are not wasted?

It starts with Hiring!, find the right people, the ones who crave for learning and growth, those who get out of their way to find answers and solutions.

It all starts with hiring and looking for people who believes in the same things as you do.

Now ask yourself, what do you believe in?

do you believe that things just fall into place? do you believe in luck? (would you leave your organization’s success to luck?) or do you believe in building a team of Growth-type and no-bullshit honest people so that your team with organically grow as time goes by?

Why people micromanage others?

nobody intends nor wants to be a micromanager, it just happens

SImple Answer

They are afraid of failure, they don’t want their projects to fail (no one does!)

Fun Fact

nobody intends nor wants to be a micromanager, it just happens

But what’s the problem then?

Those who evolve into micromanagers fear failure but at the same time doesn’t know how to scale operations via delegating and often paired with hiding information/access/power to stay relevant within their organization.

These people are often the ones that got promoted because they are good at their job/field, but that does not equate to being good a teaching/replicating yourself/your skills to others and this causes the problem, the micromanagers (whose thinking got clouded with the fear of failure) starts thinking that “I am good at this, this is why I am here, so all i need to do is tell them how i would do it!”

Does micromanagement ever work?

yes it does, but the question is to whom?
It works for people who purposely took on routinary tasks (I’ll probably explain Routine VS Creative tasks at another post) .
Routinary work requires a specific set of rules… so that the workers can mindlessly work on them.
Who are these routinary workers? they are the ones who set aside their creative brain for their main life goals, like a student studying post-grad while taking menial/routine work or those who just wanna take a break from their overly taxing/creative work (this is why some people join non-profits and volunteer groups!)

How can we avoid being micromanagers?

“The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one”

― Will Mcavoy

it all starts with acceptance, this is why we need to cultivate Psychological Safety in the workplace, we need to make people feel
that we listen and Ideas area heard and processed empathetically, so our teammates will honestly tell us if we are slowly threading the path to being a micromanager

Next is to identify “Why you are good at your job” and try to extract those core values/its “first principles” and teach them to others

Then learn to set Goals/Purpose/WHYs and learn to create good K.P.I. (assuming our goals are S.M.A.R.T.) that measure how close you are to reaching the desired state of your project.

This eliminates the fear of failure and makes our teammates more happy. And it has been mentioned over and over that happy workers are more productive workers (maybe this stems back to Maslow’s Pyramid of Human Needs, so as long as physiological needs are met with proper salary, relationship/acceptance needs are met by not being an ass micromanager, people reach the top of the pyramid, which in turn means more productivity for your team).

Free Courses from PluralSight #FreeApril

Pluralsight is a learning resource like Udemy that provides training videos and Paths (mostly for software development)

what’s immediately seen on the menu
some pluralsight courses
some courses under “Security” which i will check this weekend

Register now (no credit card required)
and try them out their courses for a whole month!

If you feel overwhelmed about starting courses like these, please remember that you do not need to finish them in one sitting (not many people can do that!), just select a topic that piques your interest, and watch one or two videos a day, that would go a long way into learning new ideas or sparking your interest for further learning.

I hope we all learn something new this weekend 🙂

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Bill Gates on using technology to connect people

from BIll Gates via reddit (an Ask-Me-Anything thread)

A lot of people feel a sense of isolation. I still wonder if digital tools can help people find opportunities to get together with others – not Tinder but more like adults who want to mentor kids or hang out with each other. It is great that kids go off and pursue opportunities but when you get communities where the economy is weak and a lot of young people have left then something should be done to help.