Skip To Content

Burn Your Portfolio

Those in design, development, or other creative careers may see their work portfolio as the be-all, end-all source of success. But there's a wide bevy of softer career skills you'll need to know too. This book aims to shed light on them.

Human Engineering #

Human skills matter just as much as technical skills.

Develop Interpersonal Skills #

The author recommends "How to Win Friends and Influence People" as essential reading that covers almost everything one should know.

The short version is to be nice to everyone. A big part is don't take work feedback personally. You aren't just as good as your work.

Avoid taking part in, or encouraging, office drama. Take a break when feeling dramatic and don't needlessly pull people in. Write, and delete, dramatic first drafts to clear your head. If you must vent, do so with coworkers, not clients.

Don't breed negativity. Be positive with those at or below your level. Be negative only to those above you if it leads to positive change. A better approach is to channel negative energy into fixing the problem.

Don't Fly Solo #

No designer or developer is an island. Network among industry groups, especially local ones, and potentially online networks too, to get involved in more business circles. Take people to lunch or drinks to build a relationship. Use these relationships to get as much advice as possible, and also pay it forward by helping them.

Collaboration also improves work quality. It can be as simple as spinning to someone and asking their opinion. Do this earlier if possible since it's easier to make changes. Poor feedback is better than no feedback since you can thank someone for it without acting on it after.

In a company, the success of one team affects everyone else’s success as well. So we should wish success among everyone and feel that sense of group responsibility.

Manage Your Stress Bucket #

We all feel stressed, and can't let it own us. Some simple yet effective ways to manage this are:

Learn from Uncontrolled Obstacles #

We can't control much of what happens to us. We can control our reactions to them and pull lessons from them so they're easier to manage next time. Don't simply feel rage and injustice against an unfair world, since it only makes you and those around you feel worse.

Read up on stoicism, since it has a lot of good insight into this.

Be Gracious and Humble #

Service jobs like cleaning toilets always instill this mindset. Cultivate and maintain this service-minded attitude. Go the extra mile for clients and bosses

Remember, everyone does something better than you. Whenever you meet someone, try to find out what one of these things is and incorporate it into yourself. This approach brings humility, appreciation, and self-improvement.

Every Position can be Electrifying #

Any role or position in a company can hugely impact success. Look for ways to maximize your contribution regardless of where you are.

Having even something small to contribute can help, or at least improve one's standing in a company. Some ways to specifically contribute better are:

Some action beats no action.

Lead or Be Led #

Being a leader means educating oneself to make better decisions and guide others. Cultivate a thirst for knowledge and find the next steps you need to take, whatever that requires. Make good use of your downtime to stay on top of trends and technology. Virtually all bosses see the value in this and will reward it.

Covering a wider range of skills, and being able to wear multiple hats, helps you in this area while also standing out as a team player.

If you don't, others will be making those decisions for you, one way or another.

Toot Your Own Horn #

Bad information spreads naturally. Good information requires an extra push to spread. Make efforts to circulate good information about you and the team. Take compliments you get and turn them into compliments for everyone, which helps the team while circulating good info about you.

Don't feel too shy about self-promotion. No one else is going to do it for you.

You're Responsible for your Own Time #

When work ramps up and more time are needed, take responsibility for your own time. Don't see it as a company problem and offer no solutions. Find things you can change or improve on to personally improve your workload and that of others. This is more positive and does more to fix things.

If not, you're more likely to be seen as a symptom of the problem and less valuable to the company.