Photo Credit: Luis Alvarez via Getty Images

Hello [Employee Name]!

At [Company Name], we’ve enjoyed saving money this past year on electricity, cafeteria food, and sexual harassment lawsuits. But we miss seeing you all at your desks, and walking about town on the weekends wearing your company billboards (a.k.a. t-shirts). It pains us, like a parent saying goodbye to their child, to see you filling your days with dance classes, baking experiments, and childcare, all during hours when we are paying you to work.

Not that we don’t support that! …


I want to hear the applause, but from behind the curtain

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash

I’ve always been fascinated by confident people — the ones who announce their latest achievement at a party, or who seem happy to share their latest success across all their social media channels.

I don’t mean arrogant braggarts. There’s nothing I particularly admire about them, and often that behavior is rooted in insecurity.

But I’ve definitely met people who take genuine pride in what they’ve done and want to share it with others. There’s still probably ego tied up in all that, but I don’t come away from those encounters feeling like someone just slimed me with their greatness. …


A lesson plan for losing

Photo: skynesher/E+/Getty Images

It’s time to head back to school! Have you gotten your children all the basics? New pens and a new lunchbox? Sanitizer, masks, and a Paw Patrol–themed hat that circulates air at the speed of light around your child’s face?

Sorry to break it to you, but your kid won’t be needing any of that stuff this year: There’s no way you’re sending your kid back to school this fall. You know that, right?

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Don’t worry about the wasted supplies…


When you find yourself getting frustrated with colleagues, ask yourself what’s motivating them

Illustration: Simo Liu

Jessica Powell, the former Google vice president who wrote The Big Disruption and told you how to quit your job, is here to answer your common but tricky work questions. Check back every other week for more management advice with a tech inflection.

I work with people who are inconsistently motivated, not particularly high-performing and not possible to get rid of. Sometimes I assume the worst, get frustrated, and am an asshole. But I would like to be a better human. How can I work effectively and without arrogance (clearly I struggle with this) with people of different levels of…


Illustration: Shira Inbar

Into the Valley

Ambivalence.com

This article is part of Into the Valley, a feature series from OneZero about Silicon Valley, the people who live there, and the technology they create.

In one of my final interviews for a job at Google, I was asked why I wanted to join the company. It was a softball question after a bunch of harder ones, the kind of thing you prep an answer for and sail right through.

It was a particularly easy question to answer back then. It was 2006, and the media was in rapture over Silicon Valley. …


You can support your colleague while still providing criticism

Illustration: Simo Liu

Jessica Powell, the former Google vice president who wrote The Big Disruption and told you how to quit your job, is here to answer your common but tricky work questions. Check back every other week for more management advice with a tech inflection.

At my company, we do peer reviews as part of our performance rating and promotion process. A co-worker has asked me to give him a review. Am I actually supposed to be 100% honest in a peer review, or do I tell him the bad stuff privately? What if he’s up for promotion? …


We would all love a raise and a title bump, but the truth is it takes time

Illustration: Simo Liu

Jessica Powell, the former Google vice president who wrote The Big Disruption and told you how to quit your job, is here to answer your common but tricky work questions. Check back every other week for more management advice with a tech inflection.

As a manager, I occasionally find myself dealing with a direct report who is fixated on making more money and/or getting promoted as quickly as possible. How do I help them understand that it’s just going to take time?

Oh, those pesky employees who want money and promotions!

By the way, that’s pretty much all of us…


You don’t need management experience to have leadership potential

Illustration: Simo Liu

Jessica Powell, the former Google vice president who wrote The Big Disruption and told you how to quit your job, is here to answer your common but tricky work questions. Check back every other week for more management advice with a tech inflection.

I’m an individual contributor at a growing company. Some of my peers have recently been promoted into management roles, and I’d like to be considered for a management position, too. How do I make the case for myself if I’ve never managed anyone before?

In an ideal world, you would never have to tout your managerial potential…


Whoever owns the meeting needs to keep it moving

Illustration: Simo Liu

Jessica Powell, the former Google vice president who wrote The Big Disruption and told you how to quit your job, is here to answer your common but tricky work questions. Check back every other week for more management advice with a tech inflection.

I am a manager with a secret: I hate meetings. I’m at a big company and spend my whole day in meetings — either meetings I have been added to or meetings I myself organize. Can you give me a great excuse to get out of them? Or if not that, tips to make them less terrible?


How do you know if someone can thrive in a fast-changing environment?

Illustration: Simo Liu

Jessica Powell, the former Google vice president who wrote The Big Disruption and told you how to quit your job, is here to answer your common but tricky work questions. Check back every other week for more management advice with a tech inflection.

When it comes to hiring, we tend to look at people’s resumes, where they went to school, and their last few jobs. But none of that reliably predicts how people will do in a role. The interview is supposed to help, but a lot of times I feel like I’m just judging whether this is a person…

Jessica Powell

Technophile, technophobe. Music software start-up founder. Former Google VP. Author, The Big Disruption. Fan of shochu, chocolate, and the absurd.

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