job advice, so you don’t go crazy

Money makes the world go round, so most of us non-trust-fund-babies spend at least 8 hours a day doing something to make some paper. Some of us really lucky ones get to do it in an air-conditioned office. (Kidding!)

The below are three of the things I’ve learned from being in the workplace that helps me be happier, more effective, and most importantly —keeps me sane!

  1. Determine what is in your power to change, and focus only on the things that you can have an impact on. When it was time to launch my first product, QA found a major bug the week before it was scheduled to be released. This meant that we weren’t going to meet our launch date, and it would cost us and our business partners hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead of getting stressed and freaking out, my boss told me I needed to focus all of my energy on a “red-dot trajectory,” to do everything that was within my power to get things back on track, instead of worrying about the current project status. Energy is a limited resource; make sure you’re using it on the things that matter.
  2. Money isn’t everything, especially when you’re first starting out. When I first started out, I took an unpaid internship in a new field to get my foot in the door. Once I got hired, I also had a salary that was really low, especially when I compared it to what I could alternatively pull in as an electrical engineer. For additional context, unpaid internships are especially unheard of for engineering majors — I already had multiple $20/hour internships while I was still a student! In that moment though, I decided this position was more in line with what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It also had a lot of room for personal and professional growth. I chose growth and experience over short-term pay, and it paid off big time. I grew so much as a person and learned so much about how to get stuff done. I can also tell you I loved work the most when I wasn’t paying attention to how much I was making. Make sure you’re growing and focused on your own goals as much as the company’s goals (hopefully they match). If you get the skills, the money will eventually follow.
  3. Find people you can trust who will call you out on your BS. Listen to the people who believe in you. They will make you better and make coming into work a lot more enjoyable. I learned a lot of things from people who were comfortable enough to tell me what I needed to do in order to grow. Compliments feel good, but I like and listen to constructive criticisms carefully because this means people care enough about me to want me to be better.
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