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Advice for a Nigerian Engineer

Got an email from a Nigerian engineer asking for my take on where he's at. Basically, he's on a steady upward career track but he doesn't care for his field of engineering. So he's got a tough decision at hand - he's already got a great credential and skills, but he really wants to do more abstract/entrepreneurial work - but he doesn't currently have the skillset for it. He had two kinds of questions - a high level strategic question about whether the tradeoffs between switching professions are worth it, because he'd be losing out on a lot of his current credentials/skills and be behind other people. And second, tactical questions on getting started on the creative/entrepreneurial path even though he's got a good full-time job right now that he doesn't love, but doesn't want to quit.

He felt pretty unhappy and stuck when he wrote - good solid job right now, not a ton of other opportunity in his area, and worried about how his skills and life would transfer to his desired field. Here's my reply -


Okay. You're obviously a highly intelligent guy. I think one problem that people have is when they decide to become ambitious, they see there's 10,000 ways they could improve and it's easy to kind of panic or get overwhelmed.

Don't panic. Don't get overwhelmed. Calm down, pick 1-3 things to work on, improve those areas like crazy, then pick the next ones. Rome wasn't built in a day.


On The Orange Octopus

Managers want employees to work harder and get better results. Employees seem to want to get paid more for doing less. These management tools and tips will help you get the productivity and performance you deserve while giving employees the rewards they want.

If you’re like most managers, you think a lot about whether your employees are being as productive as you need. But have you ever looked at the other side of that equation and wondered if you’re standing in the way of their productivity yourself?

Here are 10 ways you might be derailing your employees’ productivity.

1.Being a bottleneck that prevents your staff from moving work forward- insist on approving every minor detail or a project when you have experienced, competent employees who could easily handle those details themselves? Or maybe you really do need to approve work, but it sits in your in-box for weeks because you’re swamped with other things

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