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How to change jobs and careers

A while ago I wrote this post about the elusive hunt for “rockstars”

In it I had this table which showed things from the employers perspective:

Good at doing Bad at doing
Like to do “Rockstar” Sweet spot
“future rockstars”
Hate to do Short-timer Stay away

The same table from the employee’s/job-seekers perspective looks like this:

Good at doing Bad at doing
Love to do Rut Growing
Hate to do Pain Suicidal

My general rule of thumb is that every job should be ideally 50% in the “Bad at doing/Love” region. The only thing the other regions are good for is getting you that opportunity to do stuff in the
“Bad at doing/Love” region.

Now what goes in each region?

  • Put all tasks or descriptions that are as fundamental as possible.
  • Ideally, are not job- or position- specific.

For example, your chart may look like this:

Good at doing Bad at doing
Love to do
  • Communicating with people outside company
  • See immediate results
  • Help people
  • Lead a team of 3 people
  • Presentations
Hate to do
  • Repetitive tasks
  • email
  • Detail-orientated tasks

Tailor your resume so that it gets you that learning opportunity that minimizes “Detail-orientated tasks” and leverages your ability with “Repetitive tasks” and “Communicating with people outside company” to get that opportunity to “Lead a team of 3 people”.

Obviously a quick post like this cannot be a detailed career guide, but I have found this quick-and-dirty matrix a good interview tool to help filter out jobs that are not a good match for me.


  1. this chart does not apply to self-delusional people who are “bad at doing” but think they are “good at doing” the task.
  2. it is easy to be harsh on yourself so have some perspective about how bad you really are at something.
  3. Ask others to add to the regions

Posted in career, interviewing, management.

2 Responses

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  1. Yuriy Lazaryev says

    Love to do and good at doing:
    — Effectively apply my expertise to solve technical problems, e.g. creating back-ends for RIA.
    — Make an OO decomposition for the problem domain.
    — Produce a readable, self-explanatory, well-structured code.

    Love to do and bad at doing:
    — Non typical software and architectures like CQRS, nosql.

    Hate to do and good at doing:
    — Explain to pseudo-technically-experienced customers what is technical debt and why it should be minimized.
    — Hear about business-value as of some features. Software quality and security is also a business value as for me.

    Hate to do and bad at doing:
    — accompany software projects that are slowly approaching chaos by continuously fixing bugs without a chance to add more order (refactoring, rewriting, redesign).

Continuing the Discussion

  1. When to change careers (for Fred Wilson) | Just wondering…. linked to this post on April 4, 2011

    […] The best career is one where you are *bad* at it but *love* to do it. […]

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