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30 Tips for Navigating Your Career, Your Way

Interested in breaking out of a dead-end career, shifting into a tech/coding job, improving your skillset, or just switching things up? Let’s talk through 30 tangible tips I’ve learned in my career that you can use to take that next step.

James is a JavaScript Developer, Speaker, and Teacher with a passion for teaching developers through content. He is a full-time Technical Content Creator with years of experience in Software Development and Developer Advocacy. In his spare time, he runs a YouTube channel, plays co-ed soccer with his wife, spends time with his dogs, and can solve a Rubik’s cube in under a minute.


James Q. Quick 0:22
Let’s do it. Thanks. This is really exciting. I have been spending a lot of time over the past several years, doing career advice and having conversations with developers at different stages in their career. And I’m trying to kind of formalize that more into content. This is not a plugs, it’s not really a thing yet. But one idea I have is actually to turn this talk and like broader pieces of advice and stuff into an ebook at some point for people to consume. So maybe somewhere next year, you’ll see that come. But this talk is specifically navigating your career, your way. And you’ll see a central theme in this, which is all about control. It’s about like taking control over your career. And you’ll see a little bit about my philosophy in that. And we’re basically gonna walk through about 30 ish tips, and it’s just gonna kind of be one after another. And we’ll just go through them. And hopefully you enjoy it, I will, I’ve got the chat open. So if people have comments along the way, feel free to type those in the chat, I will periodically pay attention to those, I actually love having the interaction from people in an audience of any sort, whether it’s live or virtual, just to kind of see that people are actually listening. So it would actually be helpful if you leave a comment in there every once in a while. And then we’ll do more formal q&a type after the talk. So about 30 minutes for talk, and then 10 minutes for q&a after the fact.

James Q. Quick 6:42
So that said, we can go ahead and get started. So I’ll give the traditional kind of intro slide. So my name is James Q Quick. And I have been a developer speaker and a teacher professionally for almost 10 years, I keep saying almost 10 years, and eventually it’ll actually be like, past the 10 year mark. But regardless, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. But I’ve been doing a combination of those things professionally, for almost 10 years. And then as of July, just a few months ago, I’m now a full time technical content creator. So what that means is I get to my slide is the clicker working? Come on clicker. There we go. I don’t know if that was delayed or what. But I basically teach developers through content. So I’ve been doing lots of different forms of content. But all of this comes from a passion of mine for teaching. And again, a lot of that comes into more recently, like career advice and that sort of stuff. But teaching web development primarily is what I talked about. So I do YouTube channel, James Q Quick on kind of everything that you might think of including YouTube, I do weekly videos on web development, I’ve done almost 500 videos, which is really kind of hard to believe as well, just doing those consistently over several years. I also run a podcast with my co host, Amy Dutton called So weekly podcast about web development, and design. And then lastly, I run a learn a discord community called Learn build, teach, you’ll hear a little bit more about the philosophy of mine. Learn build, teach, we’ll talk about that throughout the talk. But this is a discord community that I run that actually Brittany who is hanging out in the chat is one of our admins. And I think we might have a few other people that are hanging out that are members of the community as well. So thanks for showing up.

James Q. Quick 8:38
So a few personal philosophies, learn build, teach is actually a separate thing that I’ll get to later on. But I just kind of want to share a little bit about my mentality really with life, but also specifically related to careers. And all of it is comes back to the idea of taking control and or just focusing on the things that you can control. So I do want to caveat, like some of some of the pieces of advice or some of these philosophies will, will seem very blunt, and a lot of again, my mentality is like no matter what things what outside factors you have that could could potentially prevent you from doing a thing or accomplishing a goal. It’s all about what you’re able to do to continue to work towards that. So anyway, I will start with one, which is decide what you want, and then make it happen. And I’m kind of curious, I know we’ll have a delay in chat. So I can I can kind of gauge these maybe after the fact but I’m kind of curious for people on the decide what you want peace. Does anyone have specific career goals in mind? And again, you can throw those in the chat like, do you want to get promoted in the next year? Do you want to make more money in the next year? Do you want to work for a specific company in the next year, five years or 10 years? Do you want to work less? Do you want to have better work life balance whatever that is? I’m really curious that people right now actively have an idea of what that goal is because I think that’s the one of the biggest pieces that people are missing is tangibly having a goal that they can set. Because the follow up to that is like, once you decide what you want, now you’re just hyper focused on making that thing happen.

James Q. Quick 10:13
That’s not to take work life balance for granted. It’s not to over obsessed with it, but it gives you a clear end goal. And that helps you then create this path of how to get there. And you are in control of making that thing happen. Another theme is, it’s kind of looking around you, no matter how good a boss is, no matter how good coworkers are, no matter how good a company is, they’re never most likely, unless they’re really, really good gonna make those goals happen for you, it’s still under your control to go and do those things. Which means that almost all the time, you should be reflecting or at periods of time, you should be reflecting to ask yourself, have I done everything I can to make it happen. And again, like, I look at this as like two different things. There’s a lot of people I think, look at what they couldn’t do, or what they didn’t do. And they look at that from a perspective of how outside factors have affected them. And the reality is, we’re always going to have outside factors. I’ve been through plenty of tough situations in my life, everyone has been through tough situations in their life. Those obviously vary from person to person and time period in your life and your career. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the things that you actually have control over.

James Q. Quick 11:26
So I think it’s really important to intentionally have reflection time, we’ll talk more about this later on. Have of looking yourself in the mirror and saying, Have I done everything I can to make whatever that thing is happen. So whatever those goals are going to make it happen. How do you make it happen by reflecting and figuring out at periodic times, have you actually done everything to try to make that happen? With a couple of comments in the chat, I have a career goal at the moment, but I can’t find the time to work towards it. Earning money now has always taken precedence. And I think that’s totally fair. I think the part of the response to that is to potentially dedicate five minutes a day or 10 minutes a day, if you can start to allocate those small chunks, you can at least start to chip away. And I do I think this also brings up an important point, a lot of these pieces of advice will seem as if I’m telling you to just go fix your life and your career and go achieve your goals overnight. And that’s not the case, if anyone has especially gone through a transition into tech from another industry, you know just how hard that is. It’s like for most people very worth it in the end. But it’s a long, drawn out journey that takes a lot of dedication and a lot of time and effort. So I don’t mean to say that this stuff can happen overnight.

James Q. Quick 12:38
What I do mean is that you can start to make intentional decisions along the way to continue to work towards whatever that end goal is. And with that, I think it’s important to never lose the mentality that you are in control. So again, going back to the idea that there’s lots of outside factors, there’s always something that you can point to that has held you back, there’s always something to point to for reason why you haven’t done something and having not done something is not necessarily a bad job. But you should never lose, at least for me, I should never lose the mentality that I am in control. So as I reflect back on situations, it’s all about what could I have done better? What could I do differently going forward to again, accomplish whatever those goals may be. And they obviously will vary from person to person, and different times in your life as well. Now, what’s really interesting, I think there’s like people get advice all the time. And I think advice is really easy to give, it’s really hard to follow, to be quite honest. But the reality is, if you start to make those mental changes for yourself, you will start to see the impact and the way you look at situations, you’ll start to see the impact of how you make progress and how you work towards your goals. And it’s almost like magic, once you start to believe in certain things, and you really take them to heart every single day, you start to see those changes taking place. And it’s easier to kind of snowball that into believing more and more.

James Q. Quick 13:58
So we’re gonna break this, this talk down into kind of three sections, and they’re all going to be taking control of something. And this first one is your entrance. Now I don’t necessarily know, the backgrounds for everyone that’s here. This is more geared towards kind of making the transition into tech. But I think it’s also advice that applies at different stages of your career as well. So it’s a little bit of a mix here. You can kind of interpret these maybe in different ways. So the first, the first tip is to do your research. Now this this one is extremely important, because I think people may have goals, they may say I want to get into tech, they may say I want to get into tech because I want to make more money. We’ll talk about that more in a few minutes.

James Q. Quick 14:44
But what you really need to have is your research to know what that looks like to know what the journey looks like to know what the job looks like to know what the company looks like to know what salary expectations and things are. So the first idea of like breaking into tech or making any transition in tech and again we’ll repeat this throughout the talk is to do your research. And the easiest thing that you can do is just go and talk to people who do the thing that you want to do. If you want to be a software developer and you’re not go and talk to software developers reach out to them on LinkedIn, go to meetups in your area, etc. If you want to be a manager, I think someone commented that they don’t. But if you if you do want to be a manager, go and talk to managers and figure out what management is really about. So always do your research. And you’ll see that this is going to be a consistent theme again, throughout this talk, because I think that’s one of the things that people miss, unfortunately, most of the time is the actual knowledge of what it’s going to take to get to the place they want to be and what it’s going to be like when they get there. And I think that is super, super powerful. Now, I kind of touched on the community piece here. So the next one is to invest in the community. And I’ve kind of changed the my definition of networking to investing in you in your community. Because so many people will tell you like number one key to success is, is networking. I’ve also heard relationship management, which I think is a little more people friendly definition. But I’ve changed this to be invest in the community, that’s that’s where I get my networking from, it’s about being a genuine person. It’s about being out there and having conversations, it’s not showing up and trying to sell people on why they should follow me or hire me or whatever. It’s just I’m investing in the community. And because of that, I’m going to build really strong relationships. And I’m going to earn trust from developers in the community.

James Q. Quick 16:22
Now the next one, again, I told I mentioned this at the beginning that we would reference the Learn build teach philosophy. So this is an idea of mine that I’ve had a motto of mine for several years that evolved into the discord community. And the idea that as developers, we spent a lot of time learning we have to because the industry changes so often. So we spend a lot of time learning. And then what do you do next? Well, the number one piece of advice for learning developers is to build stuff. So you build things. That’s the way you solidify what you thought you knew what you’ve learned, and continue to learn new things, because you’re kind of taking off the training wheels and going and building this thing on your own. And then how do you reinforce that stuff even more, you teach you teach it to other people, and the Teach aspects of this, I think can be a little intimidating because people think teaching requires you to be in a classroom, it requires you to have an audience it requires you to do what a teacher does that you stare stereotypically think about. But actually, what teaching means is just sharing and sharing constantly is the piece of advice here.

James Q. Quick 17:25
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this story play over and over again, of someone goes through a boot camp, or you get a group that goes through a boot camp, one person or a couple of people out of each boot camp is going to share constantly, they’re going to share the things they learned they’re going to participate in discord, they’re going to be involved in community, they’re going to go to meetups, and they’re going to continue to share and just stay involved. And those are the people who are going to be most successful, because they’re seeing more people around them with different perspectives, different experiences, they’re learning about the lingo. They’re learning about the frameworks and tools that are out there. And they’ve now networks to the point of having people that they trust to get advice from on how they move forward. So sharing constantly is a part of that. Because not only does sharing require thoughts and reflection on the things you’ve learned, but also then sharing potentially leads to networking, indirectly through building an audience. And the goal is not to build an audience, the goal is to share genuinely, but people respond to that. And they show up for that. And they want to be a part of that conversation. So the more you learn, build, teach, the more you share, the more you invest in the community, the better off you’ll be.

James Q. Quick 18:32
Now, the next one is kind of a fun one. It’s fake it until you make it we’ve all probably heard this before. People are probably familiar with West boss, who’s one of the biggest content creators in the web development space is Ben, like I say, one of my mentors, not formally, just someone I’ve looked up to for a long time. And I actually reached out to him back in 2017. And I had seen a free course that he had on YouTube. I decided I wanted to get back into content creation. And I just sent him a message and said, Hey, can I talk to you and ask you some questions. And he gave me his phone number. And we had a conversation, which was really a game changing thing. And the biggest takeaway I had from that was more or less like fake it until you make it and a little slightly different perspective on this is that he said, If you want to be known for a thing, if you want to be a JavaScript person, if you want to be a web dev person, if you want to be a framework specific person, go and tell people, that’s the thing that you do. And I’ve actually gotten that advice previously in my career as well, where I told someone from Microsoft days that I was looking to do more web development, and he went to my GitHub and he saw C#, C#, C#, C#. And he said, How are people going to know you as a web development guy if you don’t show up as a web development guy, and that’s what the fake it until you make it is it’s go ahead and tell people the thing that you want to be known for the thing that you’re building and let people associate that with you. And continue to build that through learning, building, teaching, sharing constantly, and investing in the community. Now this piece of advice is a little more specific for people that are kind of breaking into the industry. And I’ve seen this. So I’ve taught a few rounds of a bootcamp. So I’ve seen people go through this transition. And the biggest struggle that people have coming from non related backgrounds into tech is they don’t feel like they have experience to bring to the table. And the reality is, you have a ton of experience to bring it to bring to the table as a developer, you just don’t know yet how to communicate that.

James Q. Quick 20:29
And so most people overlook their previous jobs, their previous careers, and they miss out on the fact that there’s lots of nuggets in there of experience of training and leadership opportunities of communication skills of whatever it is, you’ve got tons of experience that you can lean on, or at least much more probably, than you think that you can lean into and communicate your story and an interview, on a resume in conversation, etc. And I think one of the biggest pieces of this and this, this is important for getting into check, making that transition, but also at different stages of your career, because I think this can change is to find your why because as you go into an interview, you have to think that the company that you’re interviewing with, they’ve probably interviewed a handful of other people, they’ve seen a ton of different resumes, they’ve met a different a lot of different people, they’ve had a bunch of different employees. And I’ve been on the hiring side of this from a resume perspective, you really only have so much to go on. And then it’s like how well you do in an interview. And I think one of the things people miss most is there, why so thinking about embracing your past, thinking about being able to craft this narrative, this story for yourself and who you are, what you do, and communicate that in a way that’s impactful is extremely, extremely important. Now I’m going to share just out of kind of an example of this, my wife and I can I can show up in almost any type of interview for almost any type of position. And I can relate back to this as my wife, and I think it is unique and backed up by my content. So my Y is I’m a teacher at heart, I never thought that would be the case, I never grew up and wanted to be a teacher, I never grew up and wanted to be a content creator. That never crossed my mind. But I started to create content. And I started to speak at conferences when I started my career. And I realized it was something that I fell in love with. And that has been my why now for a long time, I create content, I create videos, because I like to teach I record a podcast and my co hosts and I Amy, we share this passion for teaching. And that’s why we continue to do our podcast. So at heart, I’m a teacher. But the next level of that is because of that. Because of that being my very short, why my bigger, why my impactful why for the team that I’m looking to join, or the company that’s looking to potentially hire me, is because that is my why because I’m passionate about teaching. Not only do I continue to get better myself, I will continue to make your team better, I will share the things that I learned with the team, I will document things that I have that I learned along the way with the team, I’ll learn things on my own to continue to push the envelope and know more about different options and things that we have technology wise and otherwise to bring to the table. And I will communicate that to a team.

James Q. Quick 23:14
And so this is my this is my why I am a teacher. And because of that I will make your career or your team better. Now the good thing about this for me is I’ve got a ton of content that backs this up. Again, if people are familiar with my content, and I tell you, I’m a teacher at heart, you I don’t really have to defend that too much. So the stuff that we talked about before with Learn, Build, teach was sharing excetera whatever your y is, have something tangible that you can present to back that up.

James Q. Quick 23:43
Now this is a little bit controversial one, I think. So I’m curious if you have additional comments and thoughts. I’m all open to different perspectives on this. But my take on tech specifically is don’t do it. And this is very important, just for the money. So before I dive into that, I want to be really clear, I am 100% behind everyone out there getting their money and making more money, we have a whole section on this coming up. So that’s not what I’m that’s not what I’m saying to avoid. I’m all about doing things to get paid and to get paid well and to continue to make more money in your career. My thing is, with any type of job that I do, no matter what it is, or any type of engagement that I do that’s paid. I don’t want to do that just for the money. Now what does that mean? Means I enjoy money just as much as anyone else. I like to make money. But I also like to enjoy the things that I do. And so if I were looking to get into tech, if your only reason is for the money, I would be a little bit cautious not saying you shouldn’t do it. I’m not trying to stop people. I’m not trying to get keep people from getting into tech. But I think you should look at it as an opportunity also to do things that you want to do that you’re going to enjoy because ultimately I’ve made sacrifices in different ways of sacrificing money to do things that I enjoyed more and I’ve always been overall happier.

James Q. Quick 25:01
So I think you should give yourself a chance to figure out if this is the type of thing you want to do, and then go for it and also make the money along the way. Now, one important aspect of this as well is development, or tech is not just writing code nine to five, it’s not just 40 hours a week of writing code. There’s lots of other types of jobs, like doing developer advocacy, which is something I’ve done. So in that way, I’ve gotten to make really good money, I have also gotten to combine the skills of being able to write code, but also to communicate to teach and be around people, not the traditional software development job that you always hear about. So find a way to make good money in tech and also do something that you enjoy. So this next section is related to money. And like, my most blunt tip of the day, is you want to make more money, go and make more money. And again, a lot of these seem to come from this perspective of it’s very simple, I don’t think you’re gonna go double your salary overnight. But there’s lots of things you can do to work towards making more money, if that is specifically one of your goals. And I’ve been through that in my career. And I’ve done all of these things along the way. First thing that we’ve touched on is to do research, you don’t know what to ask in terms of salary. If you don’t know what the average salary ranges for the position that you’re applying for. You can go search on Glassdoor and LinkedIn and other places, you can go and ask people that you trust. But do your research to figure out what are the different things that affect salary ranges, figure out where you fit inside of a scale of a senior position, an entry level position, a principal position? Where do you fit into your skill set that you bring to the table? Are you able to communicate that and are you able to use that based on your research to advocate for yourself? Now that avocation piece or advocating peace for yourself, comes down to this piece of advice, which is always negotiate. And I even have a little bit of subtext here, which is always negotiate, even if it’s just for practice. Now, I’ve actually done this in the past where I’ve kind of attempted to negotiate not having any idea quite honestly what I’m doing. But it’s tempting to not necessarily because I feel like I wouldn’t accept the job if I didn’t get whatever I asked for. But it gave me more practice with negotiating, you get better at negotiating, the more research you do, and the more practice you have in negotiating.

James Q. Quick 27:18
So always negotiate, even if it’s just for practice. Or, you know, don’t negotiate. And that’s super confusing, I totally understand that. But I think the the easy rule is always negotiate because there’s oftentimes more money on the table that people leave on the table, and they don’t know. But I also want to be kind of reflective on my career and how I’ve taken different opportunities where I got an offer for exactly what I was looking for. And I didn’t negotiate, because I felt like that respected what I what my perceived value and worth was. So although I think it is a good general rule to always negotiate again, even if it is just for practice. If you’re happy and you feel respected via an offer that you get, I don’t think that’s any reason to continue to negotiate just because but I’ll let you make that decision. And in general, probably the best piece of advice is to always negotiate regardless. But if you make that decision that you don’t have to we don’t feel like you need to that’s totally understandable. And that next thing is you can negotiate more than just salary. And this may be obvious for people that have been through a few different jobs, etc. But there’s base salary, their stock options, there’s vacation, there’s I don’t even know there’s I guess you can’t really can’t really negotiate like general benefits, etc. But there’s more things than just the salary. So as you go into potentially negotiating, make sure you consider these other factors of things you can negotiate is a good point in there about never heard of an offer being retracted, because I’m negotiating right there with you.

James Q. Quick 28:59
So the other thing is to consider changing jobs. And this is maybe a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing. But it really is kind of a matter of fact is the more you change, or changing jobs is often the easiest way to make more money. We’ve probably all been there or seen other people be there where they feel stuck at a job, especially salary wise, where they don’t feel like they can make any money, any more money. They’ve topped out at a level They topped out at a pay band or maybe they’re just not getting promoted, and they’re not being looked at whatever the situation is. changing jobs often is the easiest way to make more money. And I have I said this number the other day, tripled my salary in the past over the course of three or four years by going to a couple of different roles. Now I’m not saying you should leave just because of money. I’m not saying you should leave every year I’m saying you should be open to changing jobs and having that be a form or a platform that you can use to increase your salary and other benefits and responsibilities etc Now the one thing that I will add to this as well, that I’ve already forgotten of what I was gonna say, actually, I’ll come back to that, because I completely blanked on what I was gonna say. So I’ll leave that for now. But if you want to consider changing jobs, what you have to do is interview more. And we all get probably like the terrible messages on LinkedIn with roles that are not relevant, etc. But if you get if someone reaches out to you with a role that’s reasonable techstack, that you’re interested in a company that you’re interested in even slightly, something, salary range that’s even close, go and have the interview, it doesn’t hurt.

James Q. Quick 30:34
The more experience you are, the more interviews you do, the more experience you have, which means you’re going to feel more and more comfortable and confident in interviewing, and then you never know what that opportunity is look like. So if there’s a conversation to entertain, entertain the conversation and see what happens and then make a decision, you may not decide to go with that role. That’s, that’s totally fine. But you’ve now gotten more exposure with interviewing you know, what an offer would look like at another company. Now you have more research that you can add and bring into your thought process as you look at opportunities. I’ve also changed jobs, not for money, even twice, taking significant pay cuts to get a role I care about for what it’s worth always paid off in the end from, I think that’s 100%. So this section has been like pretty focused on money, I will now give you my more genuine perspective, not that that wasn’t genuine.

James Q. Quick 31:22
But this next section, I think, is really important for me, because you’ll hear a lot about happiness and here. So this next section is taking control of your career. So this is more just general career advice, like after you’re already in a role, and how to go from there. So the first one is to make your career your price actually should have been your priority. And I don’t mean this from the perspective of you should be working 80 hours a week, you should be working harder than everyone else, you should be working more hours and everyone else. What I mean is your career is your career. And I said this at the beginning, I think that no matter how good your team is, no matter how good your company is, no matter how good your management and or upper management is, ultimately where you go in your career is 100% up to you. And so you have to make your career your priority. And you can kind of go back to a lot of the pieces of advice of making goals and then focusing on the things that you can control etc.

James Q. Quick 32:18
But at the end of the day, your career is your has to be your priority. And I don’t mean that over family, again, I want to be clear on like not a work life balance issue. Just mean you have to take control of your career and not expect someone else to. Now again, repeating this, so I won’t go into this too much. But doing your research, if you want to make certain steps in your career, you want to go into upper management, you want to go into principal software developer, you want to go work at a different company, whatever those things are, do as much research about the next step that you want to be at as you can talk to people look online, do research, know what it’s going to take to get there, know what you’re missing to get there and go and make those things happen. Now, this is a really a fun and tricky one, and is to advocate for yourself. And this goes back to the idea of you’ll have some people advocate for you, but no one is going to really and truly fully or not many people very few people are going to really fully truly advocate for you, that’s again, going to have to be your responsibility. And I’ve actually struggled with this in my career. And I feel like I’ve gotten overlooked at times in my career because of this. But you have to be able to tell your story. And a lot of this actually to not seem like you’re just bragging about yourself, is now doing that through other people. And it’s helping other people to the point of where they’re advocating for you as well. So you can actually advocate for yourself through impacting through helping other people with the idea that they’re going to advocate for you. Also keep notes on the things that you do keep a folder or notepad throughout the year, add all the different highlights and things that you’ve done so that you can advocate for yourself when it comes time to career conversations with your manager. This is something that I think, easy to overlook, you do something good throughout the year you forget about it six months or eight months later. Now you don’t know to bring that up. But keep notes on all those things so that you can now use them to advocate for yourself in further conversations.

James Q. Quick 34:17
And when you get feedback, you should consider all feedback. But you should be very picky about what feedback you actually act on. I do a lot of YouTube content. I get a lot of ridiculous comments on YouTube and I share them on Twitter honestly because I think they’re funny not because I’m asking for people to bash the person or for sympathy or anything like that. That’s not at all why I post them. I post them just for kind of like my entertainment value. But my point is, I’ve become very very comfortable ignoring the ridiculous comments that I get on YouTube one they like the good ones greatly outweigh the negative ones. But I know that people who based on the comment I can take seriously and we all probably have this we have A group of individuals, whether we work with them or not, who we trust with feedback. So if you’re getting feedback from someone that you don’t trust that you just don’t make, you don’t think makes sense, ignore it, throw it to the side. Now again, evaluate all feedback and gauge whether or not it makes sense. But if it doesn’t move past it. This next one is fun, it’s controlling your title. And I mean, your title in terms of your actual job title. And, again, it’s not the kind of thing that changes overnight. But let’s say you want to make the jump from a junior developer to a senior developer. Well, if you go through one specific company, or a specific company, and you stay there, you may have to work five years to get to senior, if you take some of the previous advice, and you interview, and you explore other positions and you consider changing jobs, you might be able to make that title change, and two years or three years, whatever it is.

James Q. Quick 35:49
And so I think the takeaway for this is like you control that if you are a junior developer, you want to be a senior, and that company isn’t promoting you. Don’t let them control your title, you control that by going and looking for another team to work for looking for another company to work for having those conversations and interviews and exploring what options you have to go and make that thing happen. So your money, your title, all of the above are things that you have probably a lot more control over then you think about on a regular basis, you just have to kind of flip that mentality. Next one is professional development, especially in tech, like you can’t stay stagnant, you have to continue to learn, you have to continue to like follow the trends in the industry, because those things are going to have an impact on your job and your ability to show up as a leader and someone that is more educated and current than maybe some of your other teammates. And a great way to do this is through professional development. Now I’m kind of curious what sort of professional development opportunities people may have in the chat. But maybe it’s a workshop, maybe it’s a webinar. Maybe it’s a conference, it could be a lot of different things. But anytime you get the ability to increase your skills, to broaden your knowledge, you should take advantage of that. And you should prioritize that in your career. Because most people say I don’t have the time to do that, and not do my regular job for a day. But you should prioritize professional development.

James Q. Quick 37:10
And you should ask the company to pay for it. This is something that I’m actually a big advocate for is companies should support you in growing your skills, they should be there to provide time off for training webinars or conferences or whatever they should be able to provide money, financial backing, to take trainings and online courses, etc. This is something that the company should invest in you for. But at the end of the day, it won’t happen. Honestly, if you don’t ask. So my thing is always ask to get as much as you can ask for more money in a salary negotiation, ask for the opportunity to go to a conference, if it comes up, ask for the company to pay for that. Pay for that conference, that online course because you won’t get those resources, if you don’t ask. Now, the one extra piece of this is something I’ve done in my career is if I’m in a room full of people, and there’s an open q&a forum, no matter how big the group is, no matter what the group is, I will always attempt to ask a question. Because that level of visibility of you being one of 100 employees in a room, whoever it is in that room, now they’re going to have a much better idea of who you are specifically, based on that one question. If you don’t ask a question, you’re never going to have the visibility. But by asking the question standing up in front of the room, you get just a little bit of extra visibility, which maybe goes a long way.

James Q. Quick 38:33
Now, I said I would talk about happiness. This is very, very important to me. Again, money is great. I love money. I love making more money, happiness, work life balance. That’s the number one goal for myself in my career. That’s the number one thing I can’t sacrifice. And so you have to pay attention to this happiness comes and goes, it changes. Some days you enjoy your job a month later, you may not your team changes the people around you change, for better or for worse. So you have to pay attention to your happiness. And going back to priorities. You have to make happiness a priority. This is certainly a priority for myself. It’s the number one thing as I said that I don’t sacrifice on when I look at job opportunities. But I think happiness should be a top priority for people and all the things that they do. The short of this is if you find yourself doing the things you don’t enjoy, find a way to do more of the things that you actually enjoy, find a different job, talk to your manager, find a different company, whatever it is make that happiness, make happiness a priority for yourself.

James Q. Quick 39:37
How do you do that? Well, you do your research, all the reasons that we’ve talked about that just gets a little repetitive at this point. But do your research to find out what other companies have, what other benefits what other cultures? What other roles out there to work towards your happiness. But also put yourself first companies at the end of the day will always put themselves first And most people forget to put themselves first. And sometimes you get more support for this than others. But a manager told me early on if you are taking care of your personal life, if things are set in your personal life and you feel like you’re taking care of, you’re going to be a better employee. And so not only should other people support this as well, and they may or may not depending on cultures and specific people, but you also have to put yourself first and take care of yourself and your personal life first before you show up to work, because then you will be better at your job because of it.

James Q. Quick 40:34
Another fun one is setting boundaries. We’ve all had conversations where a boss message you at 530 to do a thing, someone calls or emails you after work, etc. There are some exceptions, some exceptions to this with things that you just can’t avoid. But it’s your responsibility to set boundaries. It’s not other people’s responsibility to respect your boundaries, it’s your responsibility to enforce them and stick to them. So if you say I don’t answer emails after five, and you start answering emails after five, now you set that expectation for people that you will respond after five, so you set boundaries. And then it’s your responsibility to enforce them not other people’s responsibility to respect them. Spending time on reflection and getting going back to happiness, and making sure that you’re doing the thing that you’re enjoying, take a take a 10 minute break on Fridays to reflect on how you did that week, what you enjoyed what you didn’t take a 10 minute planning session in your head just by yourself on Monday. So look forward to the week, reflect on a monthly basis or quarterly basis, whatever it is just spend a little bit of time actually reflecting on how you’re doing and how you’re enjoying the stuff that you are doing.

James Q. Quick 41:44
Maintain your hobbies. This is actually the last little tip here. This is a big one for me, my wife and I play sports together. We played coed soccer together for years, we run we spend a lot of time with our dogs, we do lots of other sports, I’ve gotten really big into DIY and woodworking and stuff. But having hobbies outside of your job gives you that balance, or at least it does for me. So I love to have this balance of having hobbies and things that I enjoy. Because it would be really easy for me as a full time content creator, to be fully dedicated to the content that I create and not do other things. So I don’t want that I want to make sure that I kind of have a well run well rounded life and good work life balance for myself. So hobbies become a really important factor for me. So overall, it take courage to take control of my career, take control over your entrance into tech, or like whatever stage or your transition maybe from one place to another, take control of your money and take control of your career in general. Because cheesy as it is you only live once and you can spend a lot of time reflecting on what you didn’t do. So go ahead and do whatever those things are now set goals, prioritize them work towards them, it won’t happen overnight, but you can start to make steps towards whatever those end goals are. So I think we’ll do questions now. But thank you, everyone for sticking around and listening in the comments in the chat. I’ve been trying to follow those as I’ve been talking. If you have anything outside of this after the fact. for my website, and JamesQQuick on social specifically Twitter, if you have any specific comments or anything. But that’s it.

Brian Rinaldi 43:18
Awesome. Thank you, James. That was That was fabulous. It every everything you said really resonated with me. If there was anything I would add, it was just from my own personal experience where it’s at. I’m kind of curious as to your thoughts on this would be, I’d say some of the biggest things in my career were when I didn’t let my job tell me no. And what I mean by that, obviously, like I can do in my job. Like, they can say like, Hey, you know, I’d be like, I want to work on this. And they’re like, they, it’s, it’s within their right to tell me no. And I, I can be like, okay, but when I what I did was I do it. Outside of my work, I’d like be like, I’m not gonna I really want to do this. So like, you know, if the job isn’t let me do it. I’m just gonna do it anyway. I mean, in many senses, that’s how this site started. But it’s also like I, you know, my job. I remember, I wanted to start going to conferences. My job is like, hey, we don’t we don’t actually give you any budget or any time off really to do this. You know, so I started running conferences. Myself, that’s just rubbed the conference or, you know, in I can think of like, a bunch of different times in my career where like, I couldn’t get what I wanted perfectly out of work, you know, any kind of relationship, whether it’s work or outside of work, like you’re, nobody’s gonna fit everything you want, right? Like you’re not going to get everything you want. So you have to find ways to get those things. You don’t have to rely on that one company to give you everything you want out of your career. There are other paths to, to getting that. That’s anyway. That’s just my my one. Yes. Yeah, absolutely.

James Q. Quick 45:13
And so like I’ve been through a career, I did a career transition specifically because of something similar to what you’re talking about where I was at FedEx. And I actually got support to speak at conferences, at least from a time off perspective. They didn’t, I was paying my way. But they gave me time off, and I didn’t have to take vacation days. So they supported me to a certain extent. But I realized this is like, this is the thing I want to do more of, and I want to get paid honestly, to do this. And so I made a, I’ll just run a conference, I made the transition in my career to go back into developer advocacy, because that was what I felt like I was missing. So there was this combination of like, I did get support, but it still wasn’t the level of what I needed for myself. And there was a way for me to get more support by making that my full time job. So yeah, I think starting with the how do I get more out of where I where I am, that’s definitely the number one place to be see what support you get for that. If you don’t get it or don’t get enough, maybe that’s an opportunity to transition to a different role at that company, or maybe a different role at a different company altogether. Or maybe you have the outside ability to take on some of that sort of stuff and do exactly what you want. That’s part of why I do full time content. Now. It’s because I have 100% control over everything that I do for better or for worse, and all the admin work that I have to do. But I have complete control over that, which is exactly what I wanted.

Brian Rinaldi 46:32
Yeah. And they make tweaks. I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily tell people to go and run a conference. That was

James Q. Quick 46:41
a job, go run a conference.

Brian Rinaldi 46:44
Yeah, it was a really big undertaking. But I mean, there was lots of other things I gave in one point, I was running Adobe Developer Connection. And then they killed Adobe Developer Connection for anybody remember, and like, so I was, I had all these great authors and all this great content. And they had, like, you know, they killed it. And I’m like, so I just spun up a site. And it’s like, Okay, now we’re running all these authors and content on that site. And I mean, all these things lead to different things in my career, longer term, so. So, okay, I’m gonna look through some of these chests. So I think Eric makes a good point. Maybe it wasn’t exactly a question, but something worth discussing about boundaries. My job had such good communication boundaries that were enforced when we were startup. And now that we’re integrated with, like, 30, other products, it’s awful. I’ve definitely seen that in my experience, too. As you grow those it’s harder can be harder to enforce those boundaries. That mean, do you have any specific advice around how to deal with that?

James Q. Quick 47:54
Yeah. So like, the end of it is like maybe maybe it’s gotten to a point where it’s time for you to move on. And I like, I this could easily be perceived as like, no loyalty to a company. And I have never not been invested in the company I’m at. But I’m always going to make the right decision for me first and foremost. And so if you get to the point where like the company has changed, and the things that you enjoyed about it, are not quite the same. Like that’s, that’s a good sign to potentially look elsewhere. And this had not quite happened with Aussie Euro when I was there, but we got acquired and like probably things were going to change. But I’d always kind of had this idea of like being at an even smaller startup and being there earlier on the process as we build things out. So that was part of the reason that I made the transition to Planet skill at the time I was looking for something younger. The other thing is like, one communicating like what those struggles are, I think that’s the probably the number one as a as a entire world thing that we miss is just communication and being honest with people. And like so many people, if you don’t have the support system around you to do it, it’s hard. But if you’re able to provide feedback to say like, I really wish we didn’t have meetings on Fridays, I want I want help manager upper management on how to have people respect my boundaries, and how to set my boundaries, etc. having those conversations if you find the right person, or people that you trust to have them with is usually really productive. Because a lot of and I’ve been around this a lot, a lot of conversations go or just don’t happen. And so a lot of people really focus on this, this thing that they’re upset about that they’re they’re actively not doing anything to try to solve. Now, again, you may be in a situation where you start the conversation and get no support for it. And again, that might be a cue to start looking elsewhere. But without the conversation, like no one’s gonna be able to help you or or be in it with you to take to change the thing that you’re not enjoying. If they don’t actually know that that’s what’s going on.

Brian Rinaldi 49:49
Yeah, I think that’s a huge point. Is is is around communication even as these growing pains come up, I think I’ve always advocated personally like, because I’ve learned through mistakes, like if my mistake early in my career was often that I didn’t communicate stuff, and not to get upset, and I moved jobs and stuff, like, you know, and when there was potentially good opportunity where I was I just never, I was, for whatever reason avoided that conversation that was necessary to get there. So like, sometimes you’re right, I think it is moving that job. But sometimes you can also I’ve never, I’ve always said, like, I’ve what I’ve learned to do is have that conversation. First. Be honest about what’s going on what you’re feeling, what your concerns are, and, and see where, you know, give, give, at least give the place as long as you’re, it’s, it’s a job you enjoy otherwise, like, if a place an opportunity to make some sort of adjustments to those things. And if they don’t, then you you know, you know, you’re a little more clear. Now, I know, I gotta make a move. But if they do, and it’s like, you know, you may be able to find what you want, where you are.

James Q. Quick 51:03
100% Yeah, I think I think that’s probably a good thing, as I give talks like this in the future, more of a focus on is is the ability to invest, invest in what you have now before moving because I talked a lot about like, maybe it is time to move, but there also is there needs to be there should be that conversation on your end with whoever’s involved to give that thing. A chance before just moving down.

Brian Rinaldi 51:27
Yeah, I like Alvin’s comment, the more I love my job, the harder it is to enforce boundaries, which just is I think, it’s it’s just I don’t know, if Ivan, you correct me if I’m wrong. But I would totally understand, I totally understand that in the sense of, it’s always difficult to have these conversations when you like, the more you care about somebody, the harder it is to have a conversation, whether it’s care about like a colleague or care about my job, like those conversations get, like, it raises the stakes of a difficult conversation, to the point where like, you know, all of a sudden, now, I definitely don’t want to lose this job. I don’t even necessarily want big things to change. There’s just the small things I want to be able to, to adjust kind of thing. So

James Q. Quick 52:12
yeah, well, that part of that sounds like such a good place to be into because we’d like there’s the cliche, and I feel like all cliches are like really true if you just like, get past the fact that it’s cliche, but if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And I think that’s such like, that’s why happiness is such a focus for me in my career, and work life balance, because I get happiness from a lot of different places. So that’s always like, the big priority for me is focusing on happiness. But if you find yourself in a position, where you are actually doing something you love, doing that thing, and 11 o’clock at night is still something you love, right? Like not if you’re staying up late and sacrificing sleep, but doing it at 7pm. Like you’re still doing something you love. So that’s a that’s a great problem to have. And you just kind of have to figure out what that looks like for you. Because, for me, like the idea of vacation and like flexibility and stuff, the thing I never want to sacrifice on is if I have a birthday party, or we have a family reunion, or I have like a special event for a family member or nephew or something, and I want to go to the thing, I never want to not be able to go to that thing, if that makes sense. Like obviously things come up and you can’t i can’t do ever I have to learn that the hard way of I can’t do everything I want. But I don’t I don’t want to not be able to do that thing. Because of work. Especially in especially because of time off like I hear this over and over again. And people that have like this is very, very common, even attacked, like you have two weeks of vacation, like how do you how do you choose not to go to a wedding for a family member because you’re out of vacation. Like that’s just so it’s such a frustrating thing. So I never want to, I never want to sacrifice that. And so Alvin, maybe one perspective of this, like one year a great position, because you’re loving what you do fantastic. Maybe the thing is, though, like, you still have to have those boundaries of I’m not going to sacrifice these other things for the stuff that I enjoy. So if you’re just sitting at home, and you have nothing to do, and instead of watching Netflix for an hour, you want to work because that’s something that you really enjoy. Cool, like, that’s fine. It’s still something that you enjoy. Again, I recommend, like having hobbies and things outside of that just to have a different mindset and stuff that you enjoy. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that. But if you start sacrificing like your spouse wants to go out to dinner and you’re like, No, I want to work on this thing, because I love it. And it’s seven o’clock at night like that’s, that’s a that’s a problem to me that I would never want to find myself in. So yeah, great that you’re able to do the thing that you love, but also you have to kind of think about like, what are the boundaries and what are the outside things of work that you’re not going to sacrifice on? Even if it is still time spent doing something that you enjoy?

Brian Rinaldi 54:47
Right? Definitely. I was I was just going to bring up something. There was a book that I read. I think it’s something like I think somebody at work actually recommended. It’s not like a Uh, one of these I think a lot of people have read, but it’s called Crucial Conversations. Have you ever heard of this book? I thought, I think it’s one of those, it’s going back to our communication issue, like, how do you bring up some of these things? When have these difficult conversations with your boss or colleague or whatever, that really I think make, can make can make a really big difference in your, your happiness at will or or in your career. And it gives you strategies for that for like having those conversations. So it’s, it’s, it’s a long read. I wouldn’t say it was like, super fun. But definitely, definitely, it’s still useful. Yes, definitely useful. So yeah, Crucial Conversations is the main, that’s a good.

James Q. Quick 55:50
Like, that’s, it’s one of the things I’ve really tried to force myself to do in my career. And my personal life, is if I feel like there’s a conversation that needs to be had, no matter how terrified I am, and it doesn’t happen all the time, because I still back out. But no matter how terrified I am to have that conversation, I try my hardest to do it. Because if it if it didn’t go well, oh, well like that, maybe it’s good to know that that didn’t go well, and the reasons behind it. But also, a lot of the times we overthink things that like end up not being as bad. Like the ups and downs in life and career as a whole, like things are typically never as bad as you think they are. And then the like negative side of that is like they’re never quite as good. Like, it’s always a little bit like closer to the middle, I think. But the more the more you force yourself to do that, to at least try to have those conversations, the more practice you get, the more you’re gonna continue to do that in the future. So that’s one of the things that I try. And like I’ve showed up in the manager’s office, and I’m like, shaky and my voice is cracky and all the things like I’ve been terrified and still am. Sometimes I have conversations, but I think it’s better to just force yourself to do it for something that’s worthwhile, then just sit on it and give it a chance to work out.

Brian Rinaldi 57:03
Absolutely, absolutely. So I didn’t see any more questions, but there was a lot of really great conversation going on. Obviously, this is a really important conversation for for folks. I think you brought up a lot of really good points. And I’ve I’ve really enjoyed it. Hopefully everybody got as much out of it as I did.

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