Ask Hacker News - Insights for life.

Ask Hacker News - Insights for life.

I received an interesting link in my inbox this morning to a HN post entitled 'What was the best decision you made in your career?'

It contained so many pearls of wisdom that I had to write a blog post. In the time in took me to write the post another weekly newsletter was sent out and I found even more amazing insights.

A lot of the content of the newsletter is software/technology related but the 'Ask HN' section always contains great insights. You should sign up.

Here is a brief summary of some of the insights which I agree with. Authors highlighted in bold.

  1. expathacker. Emotionally detach. "..Then one day my father died, and I was fired from a company who I truly believed in and for whom I had sacrificed." Develop a "Fuck you, pay me" attitude. "I recommend everybody examine their relationship with their careers and ask themselves if on their deathbed they will wish they had worked more."

I quit my last job working for the man when my Grandmother died suddenly and I didn't have an opportunity to say goodbye. I was overworked and underpaid. It wasn't worth it.

rb808 hit the nail on the head - "As a related note - why do employers prefer younger devs? Because they haven't learnt this lesson yet."

I am happy in hindsight that I got to learn young how the world works. If you dislike your job and don't get paid enough it is highly likely not accidental. Someone is taking advantage at your expense.

phakding adds.. "There is no loyalty in business. Keep your loyalty for your family and may be friends, not for the company you work for. The company will never be loyal back. Have an opportunity to make more or work more interesting? Grab it with both hands. If you are 99.99% of the workforce, you are not indispensable no matter how much you think you are."

An extension of the above. I read something in the news about 'Strictly Come Dancing'. One of the contestants noted that as the other contestants were being announced they were looking out for this years 'joke act'. At the end of the announcements he realised that he was the joke act. You may well be your businesses joke act.

busterarm. "Life is too short to hate what you do. That will always be the guiding principle of my career, through all the ups and downs."

The second interesting question was What things have richly rewarded the time invested in mastering them?

  1. Waterluvian. 'Fighting Fair' - "It's a term I heard a Minister tell the bride and groom during his speech at their wedding. He talked about how you're going to fight with your spouse, but the challenge is to fight fair. Hear the other person. Try to see their perspective with sympathy, if not empathy. Avoid trying to "win" fights, that's never the point."

I mean.. this does not apply just to couples. You can apply it to any relationship. I remember one university friend with whom I would always argue about everything. It was the nature of our relationship. We would argue even if we agreed. Taking a step back and being hyperanalytical about why you are arguing and what your point/their point actually is usually ends the argument fairly quickly. It makes life a lot less stressful.

  1. songzme. Learning how to smile.

This one is fairly simple and something that I might actively apply myself to doing. Smiling is infectious and smiling does make you feel better. Awkward smiles are well.. awkward but I'll add the unstated but common sentiment that "haters gonna hate". To be honest I don't think you should ever worry about other peoples opinions on anything. You should by default come across as your 'best you', and if people don't like that.. meh.. whatever.

  1. Briefly referenced but not discussed enough - fitness. Getting good at doing regular exercise is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It is great for mental health. Like.. really great. It keeps you slightly less fat. It helps cultivate a general good discipline which can be applied to anything. You get to laugh at fully grown steroidal (wo)men posing in public mirrors (OK.. You shouldn't judge peoples personal choices/approach.. I just personally think that this is ridiculous). And.. you get random bonus comments/compliments like "You have beast level legs but a really weak back" (pretend the second part was never said).

The final interesting post is What did you learn the hard way?.

  1. bunderbunder. "Worse is better". "usable now is better than perfect later". Don't be a perfectionaist all the time. Minimum Viable Products are good.

  2. smarii has a number of simple words of wisdom. My favourites are:

  • "Companies are not loyal to people, people may be loyal to people, but never think an organisation will be"

  • "Avoid getting drunk!"

  • "Sometimes you have to leave a group of friends, a partner, or even family behind, to grow into who you want to be"

  • "Be yourself"

  • "You're better and more capable than you think"

  • "Tell those you care about you how you feel, you never know when you might lose that chance"

  1. This comment from jfc resonates with me massively. "People's words are like deep water. Pay careful attention to what people say--it's profoundly revealing (more than they realize). By listening, I've been able to identify people who intended to trouble me in some way. It's incredible, they just can't keep it inside even when pretending to be nice."

Maybe it is just me but I am super hyper analytical. I hang on every word coming out of anyones mouth at any time. If you have any influence/significance/consideration in my life I will almost certainly think about what you have said again. I think I am really great at interpretting meaning and intent. I.E. If you are trying to screw me over I think I'll probably work it out. Be careful what you give away.

  1. Doesn't apply to me but officialchicken notes "HR is there to protect the company, not you.". True dat.

  2. ThomaszKrueger. "if I got fired today do I have what it takes to bridge it through to the next opportunity, and would there be companies out there in need and willing to hire me". Know your worth, and position yourself. If you need your job you are taking massive risks.

Hmm. Reading this back I think this is the best post I have ever posted on this blog. It is full of genuinely great life advice that I truly agree with. It's a shame that most of the content/insights are stolen from people wiser than me :)


Thomas Clowes

Thomas Clowes

I am a 28 year old software engineer from the United Kingdom. During the day I build multi platform applications. In my spare time I eat food and run marathons. Sometimes I write angry tweets.