When getting a promotion is a bad idea - The Peter Principle

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Jun 2, 2012 7:17:00 AM

In our careers most of us aspire to go up the corporate ladder (with varying degrees of zeal), but most wishing for greater responsibility, autonomy and visibility.  So I was surprised when in a recent discussion with my father he told me about the Peter Principle which says that everyone eventually gets promoted to their level of incompetence.  Taken to its logical conclusion it means that in steady-state every non front-line employee, i.e. every manager, is incompetent.  Great.  Glad I’m a manager.

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Topics: career path, management

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses: actually the most important interview question

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Jan 8, 2012 6:23:00 PM

One of the most clichéd interview questions is “what are your strengths and weaknesses.”  Most of us have heard it so many times that we’ve prepared for it extensively.  Often we create a bogus weakness that could be seen as a strength by the interviewer such as “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m very detail oriented.”  However, as pedestrian as this interview question is, and lately is seldom asked in interviews because everyone knows there’s a prepared answer waiting on the other end, the tragedy is answering this very question is crucial for real career advancement.

Everybody has a real weakness


Topics: management, first job, career advice

Do you need to have a mission to be successful in your career?

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Dec 2, 2011 11:32:00 AM

What if lasting, world-changing, fame-achieving, happiness-producing achievement in one’s career comes only to those driven by a higher purpose – i.e. those that have a mission – versus those who chase success in any form?

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Topics: management, career advice, start-up

Politics at work - inevitable and not necessarily bad

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Oct 16, 2011 6:32:00 PM

At a previous company I faced a crucial decision a couple years into my tenure.  My boss was leaving the firm and my job was being redefined by the recently appointed CEO.  As my scope of responsibilities was being dramatically changed I was faced with a question – should I go for my boss’s job or accept the fate of whatever role I settle into?  The answer proved to be my undoing and I learned the most valuable political lessons of my career here.


Topics: career path, management

Don't be a manager early in your career path

Posted by Arjun Moorthy

Jun 15, 2011 5:33:00 PM

After nearly 5 years of undergrad computer engineering I was thrilled to be done with school and finally earn some money.  My first job was as a Program Manager at RealNetworks, a hot tech startup back in 1999.  I was attracted to this role because instead of a traditional "code monkey" job I got to be a "manager" - a modern day misnomer itself but I digress.  In retrospect this single decision was the highest opportunity cost I've incurred in my career.

Management sucks


Topics: career path, management, first job

Career Advice I Wish I Knew Earlier 

Hello.  I started this blog to distribute some of the best career advice I have been given over the many jobs I've had.  I've been fortunate to work for and with some great bosses like Brian Halligan, Francis DeSouzaNancy Kamei, and Rick Roberge, and some unique companies, like The Boston Consulting Group, that invest heavily in making each employee a success even after leaving the firm.

The advice and training I received here stands in contrast to my experiences with some not-so-great bosses and companies I've also worked for.  I'm continualy amazed at how valuable good advice has been in my career so I hope to pass on the good advice, and insights from mistakes I've made, via this blog. 

Thanks in advance for your comments, particularly when you can improve upon the ideas posted.

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