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PayScale’s VIP Blog Roundup: Making Mistakes, the Mark Zuckerberg Way


What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career? If you’re like most of us, it’s not learning from your other errors. This week’s roundup looks at what makes moguls like Mark Zuckerberg different from the average person, how exercise can help your career, and whether or not layoffs are as bad for companies as they are for workers.


(Photo Credit: Andrew Feinberg/Flickr )

Lady (Un)Employed: Are Layoffs Bad for the Company?

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“A couple of months ago, my company did layoffs and about 10 to 12 people were let go. Luckily I did survive, but about two months later I still sense things aren’t right,” writes the anonymous blogger behind Lady (Un)Employed. “It left me wondering what the true impact of layoffs and whether it can hurt more than help.”

This isn’t Lady’s first time at the rodeo: her blog was inspired by a layoff a few years ago. For fellow sufferers of downsizing, her whole blog is worth a peek, but the question posed by the latest post is also worth considering: it’s bad for workers when there are layoffs, of course, but is it bad for the company?

The balance of power tipped toward employers during the recession, and with wages still flat, one could argue that it remains there, no matter how rosy the unemployment numbers look. Companies do layoffs for a variety of reasons — financial desperation, or the need to improve profit margins before a sale, and so on. Whatever the specific reason behind a layoff, one thing is for sure: the folks who make the cut aren’t necessarily any luckier than the ones on the unemployment line.

Jobs don’t grow on trees, and you should always have another gig lined up before you resign. But, it’s always worth considering whether an employer that’s laying people off is an employer you want to trust with your future career.

Dani Prose: The Importance of Cross-training

Want to be better at your job? Exercise.

If that sounds bananas to you, consider Danielle Rosvally‘s perspective, offered in her latest post:

Getting a PhD is insanely taxing mentally and emotionally. You spend all day every day working out your brain (so… basically you can ignore those luminosity commercials that pop up in Hulu when you’re trying to kick back a bit). Moreover, your work becomes something that you’re invested in; there are huge emotional stakes in turning in a paper, chapter, draft, or even research proposal. Getting a PhD is tough on the psyche. But like working any muscle, it’s important to rest and relax between sets.

This is part of why I’ve taken up so many physical hobbies over the course of getting my PhD. When I was studying for my German language proficiency, I taught myself to play the ukulele because it would relax me and help me unjam my mind from words too long to fit on one line. When I was studying for my written comprehensive exams, I taught myself to crack a six foot bullwhip and spin poi because taking ten minutes to just step outside and do something in my own body really helped me to de-stress and uncram my brain so that I might fit a bit more in with each study session.

Dan Erwin: Making Mistakes With Mark Zuckerberg

Behind every successful man and woman is a series of failures. It’s how they cope with failure that makes them the success we’ve come to know.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is no different. At his latest town hall, he describes a philosophy of mistake making that emphasizes learning from failure and focusing on what works.

At his own blog, career development specialist Dan Erwin highlights some of the key points:

“Successful people learn from their mistakes,” writes Erwin. “This perspective spins out from Zuckerberg as a simple given. But all the research suggests that, well … 95% of the time we don’t learn from our mistakes. We merely repeat them. Learning requires us to engage in such activities as asking disconfirming questions, entertaining and testing multiple hypotheses, and trying to prove your own ideas wrong. Of course two biases, the tendency to pay too much attention to the most readily available info and to let a single statistic or fact dominate our thinking, regularly get in the way of learning. But learning from your mistakes will require the application of significant skills that aren’t intuitive.”

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the best career advice you’ve read this week? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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