“Always re-examine and reflect on where you are in your career at least every two years. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your job, the exercise forces you to check that you are actually enjoying your work and learning on the job rather than just being comfortable.”
Edmond Lau, who was an early engineer at Quora, offers advice that he received by way of a friend’s mento.
“…we’re born into thinking we constantly have to rearrange things. Trying to constantly create order is a source of suffering…A lot of the chaos of the band on the stage is my crusade to bust out of too much order. Perfectionism is a disease.”
“Whenever you’re making a consequential decision … just take a moment to think, write down what you expect to happen, why you expect it to happen and then actually, and this is optional, but probably a great idea, is write down how you feel about the situation, both physically and even emotionally.”
When asked how to improve decision-making skills, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman recommended a ‘decision notebook’ where you can map out your choices.
“We are ceasing to see. Using our eyes to appreciate beauty is no longer enough. It always has to be documented for some other time—often resulting in an abyss of recordings. My first thought at a pretty sunset—where’s my phone?”
“… it’s better to work highly focused for short periods of time, with breaks in between, than to be partially focused for long periods of time. Think of it as a sprint, rather than a marathon. You can push yourself to your limits for short periods of time, so long as you have a clear stopping point. And after a rest, you can sprint again.”
A recentGirls in Tech/Facebook meetupabout learning from your career mistakes was full of actionable pieces of advice, particularly on finding and keeping good mentors. Here are some of the best quotes of the night:
On the importance of having mentors:
"Build a network of women. You don’t have to be on your own." -AT&T’s Amanda Stent
"Have a strong network both at work and outside of work. Talking about work issues helps you get through them." -Catherine Hui
On choosing your mentors:
"Do your homework in approaching a mentor - don’t ask someone just based on reputation" -Tweeted by @AmyVernon
"If you don’t feel comfortable with your mentor, maybe that person isn’t the right mentor. " -Bloomberg’s Catherine Hui
On being mentored:
"If you go to therapy, you don’t lie to your shrink. Same philosophy applies to mentors. Be honest with them." - Nikki Stevens (@drnikki)
Who are your mentors? How did you find them? How important is it to you to have a mentor?
(Photos by M. Cecelia Bittner and Jessica Hullinger)