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A few highlights from "My job went to India"

In my previous post (Productivity for Programmers, #2: Efficient vs. Effective) I gushed about Chad Fowler's book My Job Went to India: And All I Got Was This Lousy Book.

As I said earlier, I wish I had read this book as a programmer years ago. Why? Not because it's about coding (it's not), but because it addresses how to think about being valuable to your organization. Yes, it's set in the context of the current outsourcing/offshoring issue, but it's a good read for everyone, esp. as more jobs than programming are moving to India.

As promised, here here are a few of my favorite ideas from it. Highly recommended!
  • 3. Lead or Bleed?: I haven't been given the opportunity...? Seize the opportunity!
  • 4. Invest in Your Intelligence
  • 5. Be a Generalist: Generalists are rare ... and, therefore, precious.
  • 7. Don't Put All Your Eggs in Someone Else's Basket, which talks about the "professional services barrier" (more on this later).
  • 8. Be the Worst:
    • be the worst guy in every band you're in. a) you fit in, b) your playing gets transformed. works in the downward direction too!
    • The people around you affect your own performance. Choose your crowd wisely.
  • 9. Love It or Leave It:
    • You have to be passionate about your work if you want to be great at your work.
    • Work because you couldn't not work.
  • 12. Find a Mentor
  • 13. Be a Mentor: To find out if you really know something, try teaching it to someone else. Also, mentors tend not to get laid off.
  • 21. Remember Who You Work For: Your manager's successes are your successes. Solve your manager's problems.
  • 24. How Much Are You Worth? Ask "Was I worth it today?"
  • 28. Learn How to Fail:
    • Every wrong note is but one step away from a right one.
    • Stressful times offer the best opportunities to build loyalty.
    • A craftsperson is really put to the test when the errors arise. learning to deal with mistakes is a skill that is both highly valuable and difficult to teach.
    • Rules: 1) Raise the issue as early as you know about it. 2) Take the blame. 3) Offer a solution. 4) Ask for help.
  • 33. Me Rite Reel Nice: You are what you can explain.
  • 35. Suit Speak: Market your accomplishments in the language of your business, and always have your elevator speech ready, just in case. Answer: "What are you working on?" and "What is the benefit of that?"
  • 36. Change the World: Have a mission. Make sure people know it.
  • 37. Let Your Voice Be Heard. With respect to the musician metaphor:
    • The best saxophonist doesn't always get the gig.
    • Who you've played with is at least as important as how well you play; musicians are cool by association.
    • Sometimes, the better musicians are overlooked for work because everyone assumes they won't be available or because they are too intimidated to ask.
    • Music works via a network effect. If your social/music network terminates before reaching someone, it's not likely you'll ever be asked to perform with that person until an intermediary connection is made.
  • 38. Build Your Brand: Your name is your brand, and Google never forgets (don't be a jerk).
  • 42. Already Obsolete: Your shiny new skills are already obsolete. Investigate the bleeding edge.
  • 43. You've Already Lost Your Job: You are not your job.
  • 44. Path with No Destination:
    • Focus on doing, not on being done.
    • Bad processes create bad products.
    • It's how you traverse the path that's important - not the destination.
  • 46. Watch the Market: Watch the alpha geeks, and try to be one, or at least "make the hang" with one. (Applies to research as well?)
  • 47. That Fat Man in the Mirror: Developer, review thyself; do a 360 review: ask trusted people for feedback, using 10 characteristics you feel are important, get constructive info.
  • 52. Think Global: If I have to depend on someone...I'm going to have better luck if that person feels that I respect them.

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