The Kaizen Newsletter #36 (03/03/2020) - Letter to my younger self
The scary thought of bringing problems to your boss
I’m going to be real and admit that I was originally working on a different piece, but realized that it would be MUCH better if I waited a week to better flesh out my ideas.
Instead, I decided to try something new and introduce a different type of piece that I named “Letter to my younger self” (title heavily inspired by my bro’s now non-existent newsletter).
Instead of just directly writing on lessons I’ve learned from my past, I thought it might be a fun way to reflect on these lessons as if I would be writing to my past self.
This format is rawer than my usual articles, but my goal is still to make sure that you can get something out of it!
Since this is something new, I would love to receive any feedback (good or bad) on this piece!
First of all, congrats! You finally finished 4 years of hell in engineering and are ready to enter the workforce!
However, this is just the start, because the next few years are actually going to be much harder than University.
The good thing is that you'll make really good friends along the way and also learn a lot.
So I know that you're super excited to start your new job at this small boutique consulting firm, but I have something to tell you.
It’s definitely going to be fun at the beginning, but I’ll spoil it for you and tell you right away that there will be multiple things that you won’t necessarily like at any company that you will eventually work for.
Some will be disagreements on how people are treated (including you), some will be new policies that you won't like and other times it will be discontentment on how the company is run.
Now, your first reaction will be to just keep it to yourself and talk shit your managers/bosses with your coworkers. You’ll most likely be right and will find it crazy that your managers won’t necessarily realize what you see and you’ll eventually get super frustrated. These things will pile on and eventually it'll be too much and before you know it, you'll be doing a bunch of interviews for other jobs and looking to find a way out. This will happen twice (at two different companies) before you finally learn your lesson.
And what is that lesson?
Well, it’s simple really. The only solution to this is to actually bring up your issues to your manager/boss.
Scary? Fuck yeah.
You might shit your pants for the first few times, especially if you're boss is scary (hint: you'll have some scary bosses), but let me tell you that it gets a bit easier after a few repetitions.
You must be asking yourself "why go through all of this hassle if it's going to end up well anyway?" and let me tell you that's a very good question (I'm basically congratulating myself...)!
The reason why it’s the only solution is that you’re going to be working on average 50-60h per week (surprise! You're a workaholic). And even if you were a “normal person”, that’s still 40 hours per week that you’re spending at work.
So instead of being miserable for all of those hours, why not try to make it as enjoyable as possible?
I'm not saying that every time you bring up problems it's going to work, but the best outcome is that you actually find a way to solve the problem, and worst comes to worst? Well, you're going to continue doing interviews and get the hell out of there!
Last thing. Whenever you bring up problems, try and coming up with a solution as well. Everyone already has a bunch of problems they need to solve, so coming to them with just another problem will most likely be useless. But if you come to them with a solution? Now you're talking!
So hopefully, I've convinced you to go and talk to your managers about issues. Not only will it help you and your colleagues by trying to remove annoyances, but it will also increase your confidence in speaking with higher-ups.
And let me tell you, it's definitely something you'll struggle with and still struggle with to this day, so thank me later.
If you have any questions....let me know?
Problems with Email - Hey - I've been super excited about the new email platform, Hey, that the basecamp team is releasing in around a month. In this article, they break down 25 problems that they've discovered in emails and they will all be solving them with their new product. Here are a few problems that they will solve that I either find intriguing or am excited to see how they actually solve it:
Some emails are worth your immediate attention, but most are definitely not.
Files are attached to emails, not the other way around.
You don’t need to be told when to check your email.
Emails are either in your face, or hidden from view — there is no middle ground.
Conversations about the same thing are often split across multiple threads.
You have to read emails one at a time.
Everyone else can put stuff in your inbox, but you can’t.
🤔 Thought / Quote
So my girlfriend went to a "Pursuit of Happiness" workshop/seminar given by Arthur C. Brooks at school and this is a quote that I really liked from the notes she took. It's a bit ironic because you would think that freedom means doing whatever you want, but I think you can't truly be free unless you are strict with some rules/habits and following them.
Being free means setting your rules and living up to them - Arthur C. Brooks
Josh Waitzkin on the Tim Ferris Show - Really enjoyed this podcast from Josh Waitzkin, who's the author of The Art of Learning. What I took the most from this listen was that the best learners are able to find the fastest ways of getting a good feedback loop. For example, in an area such as investing, it usually takes 5-10 years before you actually know if your investment went well or not. Josh explains that the best learners would find a way to accelerate that process so that you can start getting feedback right away and learn if you're doing something right or wrong.
Loved this advice. Related to the Josh Waitzkin podcast, but something that entrepreneurs lack is the intuition of how to build a product people will want. You need to experience this at least to truly gain that intuition, but it's most of the time, your ideas will fail. So how to gain that experience? Well, focus on smaller projects instead. You don't need to build a product that 10 million people will like. Focus on getting only a 100 and you'll still experience the taste of success.
Love this different take of "you are the average of the 5 people closest to you"
As I mentioned last week, I've been reading more and more about product design. These icons for Microsoft To Do are pretty sweet.
Some fun animation design
Flavor - Brian Puspos
Shoutout to my friend Jo for inviting us over so that we can re-watch Lord of the Rings. Made for a really chill weekend and I actually forgot how good the movies were.
👋 End Note
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