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Don’t seek to be liked, seek to be respected

One of the biggest lessons I learned during the pandemic was that “no” is the new “yes.” I penned (well, keyed) a piece about it here on Medium that was really successful. Turns out that thousands of people are just like me and struggle with the tiny word. Some reminded me of a maxim they live by: “No is a complete sentence.” I love that. Others responded that they, too, are people-pleasers of an equally problematic magnitude. And many readers asked an important follow-up question: how do I do that at work?

Saying “no” at work is a much trickier…


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…


My take on the Hulu doc — from a filmmaker at a WeWork on-demand “hot desk”

Nuance is dead. Not only has it vanished from our politics, but apparently it has disappeared from film, as well. Director Jed Rothstein (The China Hustle) is brilliant, which is why I was so puzzled by his latest, Hulu’s WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn. If you have ever actually worked at a WeWork, you may be just as confused as I am this morning. Hello from a WeWork “hot desk,” by the way. I am writing from inside an immaculate office space on 25th Street. There’s coffee, lemon water, and a quiet clicking cadre…


The professional networking platform showcases everything gone wrong with the attention economy

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A little over a year ago, as the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic began to sink in, people began losing their jobs. The losses were swift and historic, with a quarter of adults in the U.S. reporting they or someone in their household had been laid off by October 2020.

And while the hardest hit were those in the service industry — cooks, waiters, bartenders, cleaners, and hotel staff, to name a few — large numbers of “knowledge workers” also found themselves unemployed. College seniors, many of whom had hoped to begin careers in entry-level roles in fields like marketing…


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…


Along with a few other tips to make video less painful

Screen of multiple work colleagues on video call
Screen of multiple work colleagues on video call
Photo: Alistair Berg/DigitalVision/Getty Images

I clicked on the Zoom invitation and was taken to a black screen. Moments later, I heard a voice: “Michael, what’s up?”

For the next 30 minutes, my friend, Austin Belcak, and I talked in darkness about life and career advice. Prior to wrapping up the call, I asked him about not including the video option. “It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. My main priority is to keep my sanity, and video calls steal my energy.” he said.

Austin then went on to explain that instead of giving people an option, on his invitation, he normally just sends…


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). …


What happens to your business when you get taken out of commission?

Image: akinbostanci/Getty Images

I never really understood the depth of the old adage “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” until the pandemic turned my personal and professional life upside down.

Take a second to ask yourself this question: What happens to your team, your company, and your livelihood when a personal crisis takes you out of commission? The more of a leader you are, the deeper your absence will be felt. …


I haven’t stepped away from the keyboard in 13 years. That changes now.

Mixed race man working from home on his computer, smiling
Mixed race man working from home on his computer, smiling
Photo: Alistair Berg/Getty Images

I wrote my first article, for The Smoking Section, in early 2008. I was a senior in college. On average, I’ve written 2,000–3,000 published words a week since then. That’s 13 straight years of pitching, deadlines, late nights, and early mornings. I’ve been on the verge of burnout more times than I can count.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Recession Baby, never quite secure in the journalism industry and when the next check is coming or disappearing. Maybe it’s the imposter syndrome that made me feel like I always have to prove myself. Maybe I don’t even know. …


I signed a ~$2 million term sheet from the triage bed, forwarded it to my legal team, and then gave birth

Pregnant woman talking on the phone while working from her home office
Pregnant woman talking on the phone while working from her home office
Photo: damircudic/E+/Getty

A “maternity leave plan” is an oxymoron; bodies and babies don’t follow timelines. While I knew this in theory, it became painfully clear when, at a routine OB visit, my doctor told me that my fluid levels were dangerously low and I needed to be induced immediately. It would be pointless to tell him — and my placenta — that “immediately” wasn’t the right time. Though the thought did cross my mind.

Instead, I texted my husband to grab our things and meet me at the hospital, and then proceeded to waddle the half-block there. Alone on the triage bed…

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