Here, Read This: “Our Top 6 Pieces of Career Wisdom for New Grads.”

I loved this post from First Round Review highlighting six pieces of career wisdom — aimed mostly at new grads, but useful for anyone in their career. Their six pieces of advice are:

1.) Picture your career as a painting, not a ladder.

2.) Nurture your rookie spirit. It will serve you for your entire career.

3.) When you make tenacity a part of your identity, it can help you tune out the naysayers.

4.) Before you reach out to a potential mentor, be specific about what you want out of mentorship.

5.) Take ownership of your career by proactively managing your manager.

6.) You’re allowed to quit when you’re unhappy. But make sure you’re not quitting because you’re impatient.

Take a few minutes and read the whole post here.

Make Time for You.

If you’re the bride or groom at a wedding — or if you’re just the host of a big party — here’s something I’ve learned: You have to make time to eat.

Sure, you spent a lot of money on the food at your party. You did a tasting. You thought carefully about what you wanted to serve. You were really excited to actually eat that one dish on the big day!

And then the big day comes, and you don’t eat. It’s your party, which means that every guest knows you, and every guest wants to come over and chat. It doesn’t leave you much time to actually eat.

The secret is: You have to make time to eat. You need to carve out time for it, separate from the party. (On our wedding day, Sally and I took 20 minutes after our ceremony to go into a private room to eat dinner, just the two of us. It was one of the best decisions we made all weekend.)

The same thing holds true for taking a managerial role at a company. There are going to be big, ambitious projects you want to take on — that you suddenly won’t have time for. You’ll have 1-on-1s, stand-ups, big meetings, calls, etc. Your time at work becomes your team’s time. Your week will be filled with meetings, and the stuff you want to do will end up getting pushed off to another day.

The challenge is figuring out how you want to make time for yourself and for the things you care about. At Stry.us, I made the mornings my time — anything between 6 and 9 was my time to write, plan out strategy, or work out. I’ve seen co-workers carve out big chunks of their week, adding two-hour blocks on their calendar where meetings can’t be scheduled and work can get done. Or maybe you want to limit your meetings to certain days — no 1-on-1s, let’s say, on Mondays, so you can get ahead on your tasks and projects for the week ahead.

Whatever you do, just remember: You have to make time for these things. Don’t be the person who didn’t get to enjoy the ice cream sundae bar at their own wedding — and don’t be the manager who never gets to work on their favorite projects because they couldn’t find a spare moment for it.

———

That illustration is by Katerina Limpitsouni for unDraw.

Write Out Your Bullets.

Here’s one way to decide what you should work on next:

Think about the work you’ve been doing in your current role, and write out the bullet points you’d include if you were putting together your resume today. What projects have you completed? What work are you most proud of? Make sure you explain the impact of your work — how much you’ve actually done in your role.

Then think about the work you’d like to brag about on a resume. What are the projects you’ve been dreaming of launching? What are the things you’d want to tell a future employer about?

That’s the work you should be prioritizing on in the months ahead.

———

That illustration is by Katerina Limpitsouni for unDraw.

Launch Something to Learn Something.

screenshots from the royal baby newsletter

It was the summer of 2013, just before the royal baby was born, when I started to believe that what we were working on at BuzzFeed was actually going to work.

Maybe I should back up and explain.

I’d gotten hired to lead the newsletter program at BuzzFeed in 2012. Over the first few months of the job, we started building the framework for our newsletter program. We created a basic template for our newsletters and started testing. We launched a daily newsletter, and a handful of emails tied to sections of the site, like animals and tech.

And then Kate Middleton and Prince William announced that they were going to have a baby.

This was the first royal baby born in the social media era — and BuzzFeed was ready for it. We had staff in the U.S. and U.K. prepared to write, pretty much daily, about the royal baby. It made sense that we should also be the ones to launch a newsletter about the royal baby.

But we’d never launched a newsletter quite like it before! Would readers respond to such a specific product? Would they sign up for a newsletter that was only intended to run for a few weeks? And how would we even get readers to sign up for such a newsletter? Did we have the right channels to grow our royal baby list?

Over the next few weeks, we learned that, yes, readers would most definitely sign up for such a newsletter. We learned that these pop-up products could work well for a site like ours. And we learned so much about how to write marketing copy and how to promote a new product like this. The royal baby newsletter was where we first started learning how to use newsletters to create powerful relationships with readers around specific communities and moments — and how to build audiences from those relationships.

Much of what we went on to do — content strategy, growth, measuring success — started with that royal baby newsletter. That newsletter gave us the learnings we needed to really start to grow our newsletter program.

So if you’re thinking about launching something — a big project at work, or a side project for yourself — ask yourself first: What am I hoping to learn from this? What hypothesis am I trying to prove?

Remember: Launch something to learn something. You’ll build great things as long as you always launch to learn.

———

Those are screenshots of some of our royal baby newsletters, including the email we sent when baby George was born.

Potential Is Pure F****** Joy.

I just finished Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new book, “Daisy Jones & The Six.” I suppose the word “finished” isn’t quite right — I cancelled plans and stayed in so I could keep reading it. If you liked “Almost Famous,” or if you’ve watched “History of the Eagles,” or if you have strong feelings about Fleetwood Mac, you’ll probably enjoy this one, too. It’s a fictional oral history of a chart-topping ‘70s rock band that burned out too quickly, and halfway through, you’ll be convinced that they were real.

The book doesn’t just nail the rock and roll voice of the era — it also has a few quotes that feel like they’re ripped from a rock documentary. Here’s one I’ve been thinking about the past few days, from a member of the band:

Warren: Let me tell you the sweet spot for being in rock ’n’ roll. People think it’s when you’re at the top but no. That’s when you’ve got the pressure and the expectations. What’s good is when everybody thinks you’re headed somewhere fast, when you’re all potential. Potential is pure fuckin’ joy.

I’ve been lucky to have been there in the early days of some incredible projects, when you realize that you’re onto something good, and the potential paths start opening up in front of you. Sometimes, an idea sparks just right, and you’ll find yourself jotting down page after page of ideas, or having a conversation with a co-worker where every potential next step excites you. There isn’t pressure, and there aren’t any expectations. It’s just you and your team and this idea. You don’t know what’s up ahead, but you’re thrilled about the potential of it anyway.

What I can tell you, too, is that those moments can be frightening. You may doubt yourself: Do I have enough experience to take this opportunity on? Am I good enough to do this? (You do, and you are.)

If you’re excited about the idea or the opportunity, press on. Embrace the moment. Run with it. Those moments of true, limitless potential are special, rare, and worth chasing. Embrace those moments — they really can be pure fuckin’ joy.

———

That photo of the cover of “Daisy Jones & The Six” comes via the Instagram of the author, Taylor Jenkins Reid.

See It With Fresh Eyes.

I started my first job in journalism 16 years ago this summer. I’ve been working in email for seven years. I’ve got some experience to fall back on, but sometimes, I fall back on that experience too quickly. Someone will pitch an idea, and I’ll dismiss it. No, I’ll say, I tried that five or ten years ago. It didn’t work.

And when I say “It didn’t work,” what I’m really saying is: “That never works.”

But that’s not necessarily true! What worked a decade ago might not work today. What didn’t work a year ago might work now. And if I’m too quick to dismiss those ideas, we might miss out on a potentially valuable opportunity.

The challenge is seeing something you’ve seen before — for the first, second, or thousandth time — and trying to explore the idea as though you’re seeing it for the very first time.

I was thinking about that last week. Most days, I eat lunch quickly at my desk in the first available 10-minute window after noon. But on Thursday, I had a bit more time. I took my sandwich, went out, and found a spot a few blocks from the office to sit and eat. I’d never sat in that spot before, and started looking around. And just across the street, I noticed a building going up, still half-complete. When I looked up, I spotted something in the reflection of the glass:

The reflection of the World Trade Center

The World Trade Center, poking out from behind another building.

I work in the World Trade Center. I’ve seen that building from just about every angle, from Brooklyn and Jersey, from planes flying into LaGuardia. I’ve seen 1WTC a thousand times, but never from that angle. From most parts of the metro area, the building looms above the rest of the skyline. But from here, up close, I saw something different: a stalk of a building, stretching upwards to find a small piece of the Manhattan sky.

I’ve been thinking about that for a few days now. If it’s possible to see something so iconic as the World Trade Center with fresh eyes, what else have I been missing? What else do I need to approach from a new perspective?

I’ve been lucky to have tried a lot of interesting things in my work. Now I’m trying to figure out what else I can try — again, for the first time.

———

I took that photo of 1WTC.

Here, Read This: “The Marlins Are Sending Everyone to Spanish Class. Even Derek Jeter.”

I’ve written before about how important it to invest in your teams, and how one of the secrets of BuzzFeed’s success was the company’s learning and development team. Here’s a great example of that from an unexpected source: The Miami Marlins baseball team:

Teaching English to minor league players from Latin America has understandably become commonplace. Nearly 30 percent of players in the major leagues — and even more in the minors — were born in that part of the world. The Marlins, however, are among the few teams also doing the inverse: conducting Spanish classes for English speakers throughout the organization, from players to coaches to top executives….

So when [Derek] Jeter, 44, took over the Marlins, he and Emily Glass, 25, who oversees the team’s education efforts, made it a goal to address this weakness. He called for an overhaul of the club’s player development program, including a focus on life skills — from cooking to financial planning to language classes.

Read the entire story here.

Everyone Gets the Chance to Make Their Own Mistakes.

I’m on a bus on the New Jersey Turnpike, heading home. I’d say we’re driving north, but that’s not quite right — we’re not moving. There’s a huge crash on the road, and traffic’s stopped. What should be a four-hour drive from Washington to New York will take nearly six.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Whenever I take the bus home, I keep an eye on Google Maps. I’m not driving, so I don’t need to know the best route home, but I do like knowing when we’ll arrive. The bus is fine — it’s cheap, and it gets you where you need to go, but it’s not the most comfortable way to travel. Still, I find that as long as I know when it’ll all be over, I can maintain a level of sanity. Sure, it’s a little too hot in here, and the people two rows up are talking a little too loudly — but there’s only an hour left!

On this trip back, though, I saw something I’d never seen before on Google Maps: a warning that we were about to drive into the massive traffic jam caused by the crash that we’re now stuck in. Google Maps made it pretty clear: We had to get off, or we’d end up in this jam. It suggested multiple alternate routes, any of which would save us upwards of 75 minutes. Just off the bridge, I watched as dozens of cars in front of us suddenly veered to an exit, guided by Google Maps to a better route. On the Turnpike, signs above the roadway warned: “CRASH AHEAD — SEEK ALT ROUTE.” Soon after, more cars — clearly noting the sign, and having opened up Google Maps — found the exit ramp.

Our driver plowed onward — into the jam.

All of this has me thinking about the mistakes we make in life, and what we learn from them. When you’re young, you’re going to make mistakes. Small ones, big ones, dumb ones — you’re going to make them all. You’re going to do things that make you look back and go, What was I thinking?

There will be people in your life who try to steer you away from those mistakes. Often, you’ll ignore them, and make them anyway. Some lessons you just have to learn from experience.

But what I’m most curious about is how you react to those mistakes. It’s OK when you screw up — that’s going to happen! But what happens next? What do you do differently next time? What conversations do you have next to help you learn from the mistake? Do you own the mistake, or not?

I’m here in the back of this bus, wondering what our driver — and what the rest of the folks stuck on the Jersey Turnpike — will do next time. Will they change their driving routine? Will they do some research into apps (Google Maps, Waze, etc.) that might be able to offer them a better route? Will they pay more attention to road signs that warn, in giant letters, “SEEK ALT ROUTE”? Or will they blame it on bad luck, on bad drivers, and stick with the habits that got them into this jam in the first place?

Everyone gets the chance to make their own mistakes. But when you make them, accept the blame — and find ways to learn from them.

———

Those are screenshots of one of the routes Google Maps suggested — and the one we took.

Here, Read This: “It’s Never Too Late to Start a Brilliant Career.”

I’ve written before that no matter where you are in your career, you’re not behind. Here’s another perspective on that idea, from author and former Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard:

How we evaluate young people places needless emotional burdens on families and has helped to spur an epidemic of anxiety and depression among teens and young adults. The effort to forge young people into wunderkinds is making them fragile and filling them with self-doubt: It suggests that if you haven’t become famous, reinvented an industry or banked seven figures while you’re still in you’re twenties, you’ve somehow off track. But the basic premise is wrong: Early blooming is not a requirement for lifelong accomplishment and fulfillment.

Read the whole essay here.