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Retros

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I love a good retrospective. If you've ever replayed an argument in your head during your morning shower, you probably love retros too. Something I learned over the years is retros aren't just for wrapping up a sprint. They're great for evaluating the effectiveness of 1:1s, incident responses, training sessions. Perhaps most importantly, it's the BEST opportunity for any good manager to build trust with the team. While all retros get to the heart of the matter: what worked, what didn't, what should change, varying the questions just slightly can really draw people in (or turn them away.) And as a manager, you really have to push your team to give you good feedback. In my case it was asking: "What do you think can't change, and have given up on trying to change?" Not only did it give me insights on festering frustrations, it also gave me a very simple task list of what I needed to resolve (and, in doing so, build further trust with my team by showing I&

Polymorphic Coders

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After years of providing career advice to recent grads, I've seen a growing trend - particularly with bootcamp grads. I'll often see them struggle to make traction on their job hunt with only 2 or 3 languages under their belt. Months later, they're still struggling. In rare cases 2 or 3 languages may be enough - but you should see it as putting all your eggs in just a few baskets. The pace at which languages come in and out of style is getting faster, and it's easy to fall behind if you've not invested your time and effort in growing your language-agnostic skills. If I could summarize my advice to once sentence it would be this: Get better at applying language-agnostic skills to new languages. If you've (hopefully) learned about object-oriented principles, it's the difference of being an Implementation Coder vs. a Polymorphic Coder. Be a polymorphic coder. Languages are like Jelly-Beans. It's better when you have more flavors.

How do you Monitor?

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You don't know someone, until you know how they arrange their monitor(s). I'm a D1-type myself. (I spent way too long making this in PowerPoint)

1 Year of #OpenToHelping

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  One year ago today, motivated by all the #OpenToWork badges I saw across LinkedIn, I created a badge for those who wanted to help. An eye-catching, optimistic, and friendly yellow that would welcome anyone feeling beaten up and bruised. The #OpenToHelping badge gained momentum beyond what I'd anticipated. Many adopted the badge, many connected around this simple idea. I don't have detailed analytics because that's never been the point. What I do have are a mountain of messages that's built over the past year. 1 year on, I still see the yellow badges. I see the connections that formed, and the posts thanking someone with a yellow badge. 2022 was a roller-coaster year, and while a new year brings new hopes, new excitement, new energy, and new budgets, we're also still reading about large layoffs, unprecedented job markets, and uncertainty. There's no way to "celebrate" 1 year of being #OpenToHelping. People are still in need of a helping hand. The cele

Let's Talk Networking!

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A couple of weeks ago I polled LinkedIn, asking how people who were recently hired landed their job. I was honestly surprised by the results. I've always known networking works  but I didn't think the disparity would be that large. When I was getting started in my career I was pretty dismissive of networking - thinking it was some relic of the past like a Rolodex, or pagers. People who talked about "networking" were just as likely to call computers "word processors." Then, over time, 3 of my own 7 jobs were landed through networking. Many more opportunities had come my way through my network. Finding a job without  a network is HARD . Your. Network. Matters. And let's not get Networking confused with Social Networking - Sure, LinkedIn is a Social Network, but it's first and foremost a tool for building professional contacts that may immediately, or at some point in the future, provide some career benefits. I've hired people after networking on L

Hidden Factories of Helpfulness

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How do you balance your behind-the-scenes work from your foreground work? As a manager, I've encouraged my team members to avoid becoming "hidden factories of helpfulness." While I don't want to discourage anyone from ever being helpful - I also want to make sure it's not being hidden. It isn't simply about giving credit where credit is due. There's also the reality that being a hidden factory of helpfulness can mask deficiencies. It can hide a broken process, impede someone's growth, and it's also a breeding ground for resentment. Despite my own advice, there is one specific area where I'll happily hide behind the curtain: Whenever there's an opportunity to build connection, cohesion, trust, or strengthen the team or our output.

Sink your teeth into this one...

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When I was 18, I still had my wisdom teeth. I asked my dentist when it would be time to remove mine, and he told me there was no need. I asked why so many have theirs removed and my dentist informed me that some people just don't have enough room in their mouths, and it causes discomfort or a change in their bite. In other cases, they have too difficult a time reaching their wisdom teeth with their tooth brush and so wisdom teeth decay quickly. 20 years later, I still have my wisdom teeth. I consider it a molar victory. 🦷😬

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