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Speaking from experience. A publication from Medium about work.

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To better navigate our new world, it sure helps to get to know the people who were born into it

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My tipping point in my writing and online coaching career happened by accident. I was reading an article by a 24-year-old blogger and immediately saw a lot of myself in his words; albeit a much younger self. For once, instead of letting the feeling pass, I shot him a message and a week later we got on our first of now many calls.

If you’re like a lot of people, when you think of the word “mentor,” you envision someone (usually with a white flowing beard) sitting on top of a mountain sharing their wisdom to all who will listen…


Don’t let this happen to you

Photo Credit: Biwa Studio via Getty Images

Are you starting or thinking about starting a career in Information Technology?

Then you need to read this cautionary tale of what happened to me. It is a tale that spans over thirty years. But it won’t take you that long to read it.

It was the second day of my last job with Information Technology. I had started the day before as the new Vice President of Information Technology. A lofty title in a small company with only me and one employee keeping the bits going.

I arrived later than I was accustomed to, but I hadn’t been given…


The fact that you’re considering joining one is a sign that change is needed

Klaus Vedfelt via Getty Images

If you’re reading this, the door is already open. Maybe you’ve been at a big tech company a few years and it’s not as exciting as it used to be. Maybe a founder reached out to you about an open role and you can’t get the idea out of your head.

Either way, you’re considering joining a startup. You know that a young company would offer you new opportunities that you can’t get at your current job. You’re inspired by people like Eric and Rita:

“I left Uber to join Vareto, a seed-stage startup. It was a difficult decision because…


From Wall Street to ramen to CEO, here are my thoughts.

Photo: MayoFi/Unsplash

For the past couple decades, society has glamorized the university experience and held four-year diplomas in quite high esteem. At least, that’s how it used to be. Then, somewhere along the way, four years was no longer enough. You needed a PhD, an MBA, an MSc, and pretty much the whole alphabet trailing your name to prepare you for the most introductory role in your chosen field. Soon enough we’re handing fancy degrees to thirtysomethings who’ve never worked a real job or earned a dime in their field of interest.

Let me be honest about my waltz into a highly…


What makes you different is also what makes you super

👋 Hi! I’m Julie Zhuo. I help companies scale and build people-centric products informed by data. I’m the author of a popular management book. I used to lead design for the Facebook app. The Looking Glass is my once-a-month-ish musing on products, teams, and our journey as builders.

Quarantining at home during a pandemic is, as I’m learning from my friends and the internet, a great time to bake bread and meditate and remind ourselves why Michael Jordan is GOAT and adopt a new pet (in our case, chickens). …


Just because we had to endure work without pay doesn’t mean we should pass it on to the next generation

Unpaid interns at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva hold a banner that says “PAY YOUR INTERNS” during a demonstration organized by The Fair Internship Initiative (FII) on August 14, 2017.
Unpaid interns at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva hold a banner that says “PAY YOUR INTERNS” during a demonstration organized by The Fair Internship Initiative (FII) on August 14, 2017.
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

We’re told we need to go to college to learn how to enter an industry to make money for ourselves. At the same time, college is becoming increasingly more expensive and less affordable. There are so many of us who didn’t have trust funds to rely on or the option of leaning on a scholarship. Many of us have struggled because we had to support ourselves while simultaneously managing to graduate.

In addition to all of this, getting an internship is a step of the college journey that’s practically forced down our throats. If we don’t get one, the chances…


Restless and rebellious desk jockeys, take heart

A young man experiencing stress after a video conference on his laptop, working from home.
A young man experiencing stress after a video conference on his laptop, working from home.
Photo: MR.Cole_Photographer/Moment/Getty Images

Whenever a young person asks me how they can make a career out of being an entrepreneur, I try really hard not to disillusion them. But I feel like it’s my duty to warn them that being an entrepreneur is a terrible career choice.

Don’t get me wrong: There is nothing I would rather do with my life than start businesses, grow companies, and help and advise other entrepreneurs to build their own businesses. Being an entrepreneur makes for an awesome life — just not an awesome career.

I’ve faced a ton of challenges founding, leading, and advising companies for…


“Index by Marker” in a white logo design on a navy blue background with a pattern of bifurcated blue circles going across the image.
“Index by Marker” in a white logo design on a navy blue background with a pattern of bifurcated blue circles going across the image.

Like most people, the story of my career does not track against a simple, linear path. If anything, it looks utterly chaotic: I have jumped industries, jumped back, worked as a freelancer, managed people, been managed, and been laid off. I have worked out of cramped co-working offices, Park Avenue skyscrapers, and my bedroom. I have been asked numerous times if I was willing to work for free. (The answer’s still no on that one.)

Some of these experiences were better than others, but each of these experiences was revealing and formative. Through the best and worst and weirdest of…

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