My Experience

Getting Things Done

By Poornima Vijayashanker One of my mentees, after spending a week with me in Florida said, "Wow no wonder you get so much done!" She was referring to my healthy habits when it comes to the basics: diet, sleep, and exercise. The truth is that if I don't feel good nothing gets done, which is why I make it a priority to stay healthy, even when I'm traveling or have a full workload! I also noticed that I'm most productive, creative, and able ... Read more

How to Handle Dissenters

By Poornima Vijayashanker At my first job one of the things I absolutely hated doing was sitting in on meetings.  It took away precious minutes and hours that I could have been coding or making progress on a project.  The main reason I hated these meetings is because I felt that they would end up in stalemates.  There were too many people involved who just couldn't agree on anything.  And because nothing was resolved in the meeting, we would end up scheduling ... Read more

Falling Off the Path of Learning

By Poornima Vijayashanker Making a Commitment Being enthusiastic about learning a new skill is easy. We spend hours glamorizing what life will be like once we have it, and how cool people will think we are when we can show it off! But then something terrible happens. We take one look at the steep learning curve ahead of us, and think, "Oh I just don't have the time right now," or if we're a little more honest with ourselves, "I'm just not cut ... Read more

Complement Your Hard Work with Help

By Poornima Vijayashanker You've spent time working hard, really hard, but you don't always see the results you want. Even after being patient and waiting weeks, months, even years you are left wondering, "What it's going to take to get to the next level?" This is a common question people ask themselves during the course of their careers or while they're building a business. The truth is you cannot get to the next level alone. You need help brainstorming and solving problems. Help ... Read more

Strategies for Speaking Up

By Poornima Vijayashanker I'm sure you've had an idea for something at some point in time. Maybe a way to improve a product or process at work? You've want to speak up, but you're of course afraid that it will get rejected. You might have even experienced this rejection before, too many time, and it was pretty painful. Believe me I used to get rejected ALL the time, and still do from time to time. But I've removed the sting and reduced ... Read more

How to Align Interests

By Poornima Vijayashanker  At my first job one of the things I absolutely hated doing was sitting in on meetings.It took away precious minutes and hours that I could have been coding or making progress on a project. The main reason I hated these meetings is because I felt that they would end up in stalemates. There were too many people involved who just couldn't agree on anything. And because nothing was resolved in the meeting, we would end up scheduling another ... Read more

To Find Your Passion Search for Activities Not Subjects

By Poornima Vijayashanker  You might recall a couple weeks ago I wrote about how the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi showcases Jiro Ono’s passion for sushi for more than 75 years. One Femgineer reader, Mahmoud, sent in a response that struck a chord with me, that I want to share with all of you: You brought up something that rang a bell with me in my life right now. You wrote about being “Passionate about a subject” and after finishing my PhD a few ... Read more

Thinking Fast and Slow

By Poornima Vijayashanker  Many of us are familiar with the popular book Thinking Fast and Slow in which Daniel Kahneman discusses the speed at which we make decisions. It basically boils down to past experiences and pattern recognition i.e. we are capable of making decisions quickly if we have a wealth of knowledge based on personal experiences, but if we don't then it takes us longer to make a decision. At the beginning of each new year people make a lot of ... Read more

Helpfulness: A Key To Unlocking Leadership Responsibility

by Karen Catlin he best piece of advice I received when I started managing people? That my job was to make my team successful. Over time, I built on this advice, realizing that I also had to make the teams around me successful. This approach was key to unlocking more leadership responsibility. Let me explain… At one point in my career, I was the only program manager at my software company, responsible for scheduling and organizing the work needed to create a successful product. Given ... Read more

Pushing Past Easy Excuses to Quit

I am really bad at quitting.  Failing miserably isn't enough to get me to quit either.  For example, when I was a freshman in college I got a 19 on my first Computer Science test.  It was a wake-up call that instilled fear in me to drop the class, but a semester later I couldn't shake the thought of dropping it.  So instead I decided to spend my entire summer re-taking the course.  Eventually, majoring in computer science, and well we ... Read more
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