Standing Out at Work

In my short career, I’ve seen some amazing young people stand out at work.

Here is what they did, organized by 5 themes:

  1. Unlock Knowledge

  2. Automate Boring Stuff

  3. Write Widely

  4. Solve Open Problems

  5. Outside-Visible Work

Unlock Knowledge

Expertise and know-how stay trapped in emails, docs and codebases. Unlock this for everyone else.

Get your Star Salesman on an internal podcast to spill their secrets. Do email interviews with your tech leaders and PMs. Publish as internal docs on best practices of your teammates.

Build a repo of this over the years.

Automating Boring Stuff

You can get noticed quickly by writing Excel macros for the analysis your boss does manually every week.

Or improve build-deploy speeds for devs. In design, make a theme for Sales Decks and Internal meetings. PMs can templatize repeated docs that they write, like updates or shipped emails.

Write Widely

Write team/company-wide docs. E.g. Setting up your machine, in-jokes, internal dictionaries etc. Make the codebase navigable by adding docs and README.

Take notes in a meeting. Email them to everyone later. It helped Chris get into Google and become a VC.

Outside-Visible work

In some teams, the culture will prevent you from taking initiative.

In those cases, get visible outside your company first. Participate in hackathons, meetups and do open source work, or write blogs.

This is what I’ve used the most and perfected to an art form. I got more projects for my Deep Learning skills at my work once Hindi2vec and Awesome-NLP went viral. My skills had not changed at all.

Solve Open Problems

Most teams have 1 or 2 important problems which are parked for later.

Research them

You can do primary user interviews, Twitter polls and Google Form surveys on WhatsApp. Get macro-estimates from Google Searches. Compile into a crisp video/written report. Share widely. Add recommendations by asking experts.

To re-iterate, all of this builds on the most fundamental principle: Doing your job well.

When you promise something, get it done. Nothing stands out more than initiative and accountability.

What have you seen amazing people around you do that you’d want others to do as well? Do reply and share your experiences.

That is all for tonight!

Natkhat, Nirant