On Priority

Your job consists of your manager, your peers, and your project.

A rookie mistake is to focus on your project. Having a cool project won’t help you if you can’t get along with your peers. A great project that your manager can’t sell won’t get you promoted (and that great project might get canceled at any moment.)

Having great peers takes the sting off of a terrible project; camaraderie is a powerful force. However, your terrible manager won’t be able to retain your peers if they’re good and may sacrifice one or two of you to gain a better political position.

A great manager will find good projects, because the best engineers tend to know what they’re worth. She (or he) will be careful with recruiting and deliberately build a cohesive team. Sticking it out with a great manager is rewarded. That’s what makes a great manager.

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