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Senior Google engineer's top career tips include 'do it, then do it right, then do it better'

Alexandra Bacon   

Senior Google engineer's top career tips include 'do it, then do it right, then do it better'
  • Addy Osmani is a senior Google engineer and shared his top career tips after 12 years at the firm.
  • He emphasizes lifelong learning, collaboration, communication, and strategic thinking.

Addy Osmani, a senior Google engineer, recently celebrated his 12th anniversary at the search giant and used the occasion to share his top career tips in a blog post.

His first lesson is not to pretend to have all the answers and to instead embrace lifelong learning. Osmani does this by writing about the new things he's learned to identify gaps in his understanding.

The approach seems to be working — regularly writing and posting online has earned him more than 175,000 followers on LinkedIn.

Collaboration

Another tip is to encourage collaboration between teams and other departments. For some, remote work has reduced the ability to collaborate with colleagues and even been blamed for stifling innovation. To engage people remotely, some career experts suggest hosting video meetings where people need to keep their cameras on and taking small steps like remembering people's birthdays and celebrating promotions.

Mentoring

Mentoring and being mentored were both valuable experiences for Osmani. Having a mentor can be a huge help to boost self-confidence, and to help with career guidance — whether that's a promotion, different duties, more challenges, or even a career change.

Osmani also encourages people to start by sharing the manta: "First do it, then do it right, then do it better." Rather than staring at a blank page, he encourages people to get something down, then work on refining and improving it.

Communication

Communication is another of his tips. Even in technical roles like engineering, he says you need to be able to use your communication skills to share your ideas, establish trust, and let non-technical management understand your decision-making. One CEO previously told Business Insider that communication was the most important skill that employees lacked.

But even if you struggle to make conversation, a Harvard researcher has a 10-second trick for becoming a better communicator: come up with three topics to discuss in advance of any social occasion to take the pressure off.

Think strategically

Osmani warns against having tunnel vision. Instead, he encourages people to think strategically about the context in which they're operating. That means not getting too caught up in your own bubble, thinking about a long-term plan, and making trade-offs.

It also means focusing on what you can control rather than getting bogged down in details that can lead to anxiety and frustration. Job anxiety has particularly affected Gen Z, the generation in the early stages of their careers.

"Anxious teams, as has been well documented, can be less likely to take risks, to innovate, and have low psychological safety," Morra Aarons-Mele, the author of "The Anxious Achiever," previously told BI.

Well-being

That leads to Osmani's final tip: invest in your well-being. Anxiety at work can be a key reason for burnout. It can have drastic consequences: one HR VP previously told BI that burnout got so bad that she ended up being taken out of the office on a stretcher.

For Osmani, intentional self-care and renewal is as vital for high performance at work as technical skill. Spending time in nature, meditation, therapy, and crucially, learning to say "no" at work can all be ways of improving your well-being.


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