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View the documentCareer advice

Linus Pauling was frequently asked his advice for young people entering the sciences. His answer was "Get married young, and stay married. Second, I say try to decide what you like to do best -- what you enjoy doing -- and then check up and see if it's possible for you to earn a living doing it." [mini-AIR, 8/94.]

Programmers on the Windows NT project routinely worked 16-hour days, sometimes not leaving the office for days. "One wonders whether, years from now, even one of them will take his granddaughter by the hand, point out a section of code, and say proudly 'I wrote that, back in 1992.'" [David Nicholson, Washington Post. SJM, 10/3/94, 12C.] (Nicholson finds G. Pascal Zachary's 312-page history of the NT project lacking in human interest. An exception is taskmaster David Cutler, whose management by intimidation is portrayed as "dedicated, disciplined, and utterly detestable.")

The best job in computer science? Steve Holden suggests Apple Fellow, a position held by Steve Capps, Alan Kay, Andy Herzfield, Bill Atkinson, and Don Norman. [sholden@nosc.mil, NewtNews, 10/10/94. Bill Park.]

The average CIO tenure is just 40 months. [Information Week, 10/10/94, p. 30. EDUPAGE.] (Yet 1/3 are millionaires. Quite a career path.)

Machine-oriented managers assume permanence of solutions; people-oriented managers assume transience of solutions. [Harvard Business Review, 3/4/94. EDUPAGE.]

One survey by SRI, Harvard, and the Carnegie Foundation reported that 85% of job success comes from people skills rather than technical skills and knowledge. [Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon, "Great Connections (2nd ed.)", 1992, p. 11.]

"I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than for any other ability under the sun." -- John D. Rockefeller.

What must you know to be hired by today's competitive businesses? Nothing in particular. Tom Peters' advice to bosses is "Hire neat people you like; you can teach the rest." His idea of a great company is a community where you can do neat things together, growing individually and with your peers -- a trusting, committed, nurturing environment with sky-high expectations for performance and accountability enforced by one's mentor-peers. And no random drug testing. Peters employs about 25 "wonderful people," with "more degreed and multi-degreed folks than the average fast-food place." [SJM, 10/10/94, 3D.]

"Letitia Baldrige's New Complete Guide to Executive Manners" (Rawson Associates) offers some advice on business lunching. Select a restaurant for your guest's convenience and preferences, and make sure the time, travel arrangements, and financial responsibilities are clear. Call your guest again that morning to confirm, then reconfirm the reservation. Pay for the taxi or garage fee if you arrive together. If your guest is late, sit without drinking or disturbing the table setting. The waiter should always attend to your guest first. (A woman hosting male guests may have to make this clear beforehand.) Chat for 10 minutes before introducing business. In a fine restaurant, leave a 20% tip. A wine steward gets 8% of the wine cost ($5 minimum); checked coats are $1 each. If the maitre d' was especially helpful, give $5-$10 as you leave. [Home Office Computing, 8/94. Todd Merriman, SEML, 8/11/94.] (For large parties, negotiate menu, service, and gratuity range with the maitre d' in advance. An attentive maitre d' takes responsibility for your comfort, and should be willing to supervise the waiters or to deal with the kitchen staff on your behalf.)

Thank-you notes? Educational Testing Service has found that word-processed essays are judged poorer than the same words when hand-written. Perhaps they appear shorter or the errors stand out more. [Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/28/94, A25. EDUPAGE.] (Or the lines don't break at phrase boundaries, or the white space and artistic content are missing, or the reader misses stroke- based evidence of the writer's feelings. Compare Japanese calligraphy with typewriter text. You can't hand-write email, but give it a try for love notes, birthday cards, thank-yous, and memos. Journal text is not the ultimate literary form. :-)

-- Ken