Productivity

blindspots in IT industry

Pencils of the Digital Era

While most Millenials and Z-generation are obsessed with building influencial projects that change people's lives, thousands of people out there become wealthy steadily and silently - by providing simple online services that solve little everyday problems.

Read More
5 best business models in the world

5 “Best” Business Models in the World

Can you build an unflappable business model? A perpetuum mobile that always works, no matter what? Oh yes, you can. In this article, I list five such business models. Should you take an example from them? Well...

Read More
Poland fights with COVID

Poland Fights With COVID

There are lots of stereotypical opinions you can hear about Polish people world-wide. Hard-working, with a tendency to steal, yet traditional and religious. But one undeniable fact about Polish society is that it can be unbelievably creative and solidary — especially in times of crisis. And that shows especially clearly when you take a look at how Polish entrepreneurs deal with the lockdown.

Read More

Looking for a Co-founder? Read This Before You Make Your Choice

In this classic scheme, two or more people come together, work out a new business idea, share the responsibilities, seek funding from angel investors in the seed phase, before going for round A, round B… This is the typical development trajectory followed by virtually every successful startup. But, what if we thought out of the box?

Read More
my biggest little achievements of 2020, part 1

My Biggest Little Achievements of 2020 — Part 1

2020 was impossibly long — and to say that it was a good year, would be a far stretch. Yet, I believe that this year allowed us to figure out better what is really important for us — not only at work but also in life — and what is not, and to focus on our core projects. Or at least, it is how it worked for me.

Read More

The Winter Is Coming! My Top 5 Tips How You Can Prepare Your Mind and Body

This is a difficult year for everyone. It’s not only due to the decrease in global productivity, the crisis in the job market, and the fact that we suffer from limited personal freedom. And the winter is coming! Here in the Netherlands, winters are always dim and a bit depressive, and it’s often hard to find the energy to jump out of bed in the morning. So, how to stay positive in the winter right now, in deep crisis?

Read More

Should You Write Your Own Blog?

Have you ever thought of writing your own blog? Perhaps, as a way of promoting yourself as a person, promoting your expertise, or your little business? Or, as a way to foster your creativity and put your ideas on paper before you forget about them? Perhaps this blog post will help you make the decision to start (or to bury your plans!).

Read More

How to (De)motivate an Employee?

Can a raise in salary infuriate an employee? Yes, it can. Especially if that employee is an ambitious person with a PhD. And it’s all about the timing.

Read More

Come on, Ladies!

As we all know, women don’t have an easy time in their professional lives. However, while working with lots of people in pursuit of improving their situation in the job market, I noticed that some women also involuntarily make their situation in the job market even harder than it already is — in at least five different ways.

Read More

The days of greatness

I wish creativity was less painful. I wish I was just waking up in the morning with a good mood and had great, groundbreaking ideas all day long. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that — to me, creativity is the other side of the same coin as Weltschmetrz.

Read More

Mum, Dad, I’m a YouTuber!

In the darkest times during graduate school, when I was completely out of energy and I saw no light in the tunnel, I used to think to myself, “Hey, don’t worry. It’s not that bad of a job. It could have been much worse — you could have been a YouTuber.” But, the irony will prevail.

Read More
Why did I really leave academia?

Why Did I REALLY Leave Academia? Top 16 Reasons

Since I just finally defended my PhD thesis, now, I can finally talk about the real reasons why I left academia (although I didn’t really quit doing research! — these are two separate and almost unrelated things…). And, I didn’t necessarily leave for the reasons that most people think I did.

Read More

What you should know before starting a PhD

This blog post is dedicated to Master students who are at the end of their Master’s programs, and consider going to grad school. What are the pros and cons of going for the academic career, as compared to starting an industry job? What is the best motivation to start a PhD?

Read More

High-flyers

When working with academics planning their first post-PhD jobs in the industry, one pattern keeps coming back: the more accomplished the person is in academic terms, the more difficult time they have with finding their first jobs outside academia. The underdogs on the other hand — the early career researchers who are nowhere near that accomplished, and who are often disrespected by their bosses and considered poor academics — are much quicker and more accurate in finding their next career paths. Often happier there as well.

Read More

From home: tips and tricks

The corona crisis stirred the job market and changed the workflow in companies around the world. In these circumstances, business is moving online, and as professionals, we need to adapt and become efficient remote workers. This blog post lists some strategies for achieving good results at working from home. Let’s hope this material is useful to you!

Read More

The tree

A few days ago I had a long and interesting conversation with a friend who started doubting in her future in academia. She complained that academic life negatively changes both personality and mindset. This made me think a lot.

Read More

New Years Resolutions

Frankly speaking, I am not sure how to set New Year’s resolutions properly so that all my plans come true—usually, my success rate is about 50%. This year, I am planning to do “only” eight things better than the year before.

Read More

What I learned this year

The year of 2019 slowly comes to the end. It was a bit of a crazy year, and I learned quite a bit - and this time, it was more of a streetwise rather than bookwise knowledge. In this post, I am listing some of the points I learned in the process - which I wish I had learned before yet still, better now than never!

Read More
How to write a book

How to write a book?

To write a book, three conditions need to come together. Firstly, you need to have some interest in writing and enjoy the process. Secondly, you need to have a lot of time to be able to focus on this task. Thirdly, you need to have a topic for a book, where you can contribute some new, valuable content. Recently, I felt that all the stars aligned - so I decided to write a book.

Read More

Aptitude tests — what went wrong?

Almost every recruitment process for a large company these days, requires going through a battery of aptitude tests - especially in IT industry. IQ tests, emotional intelligence tests, personality tests, social skill tests. You will get tested inside and out. But there is one very crucial yet chronically overlooked factor of productivity which is typically not tested: the attention span.

Read More

Navigate

I was always wondering why some people are so lucky in life - they are neither geniuses nor work that hard, yet always find themselves in the right place at the right moment, gather the right people around them, embark on the best projects or get the best jobs. Now I think I know.

Read More

People is the answer

It’s been a long road up to this point, since I left my parents’ place at the age of 18. But, when I look back at the past 15 years, I some some patterns clearly, coming over over again. First of all, I see that there is only one asset which has been systematically accumulating over these 15 years. It was not money, which you can easily lose in the nearest bubble. It was not knowledge, which can become useless once you change the discipline or profession. It was actually people.

Read More

How I became a business developer

I always thought that the common beliefs that everything happens for a reason, and that eventually, you will start connecting the dots, is a pseudo-intellectual bullshit sold to the masses for big bucks by Tony Robbins and others alike. And now, I am starting to wonder.

Read More

A toxic relationship

Sometimes, only a real thunderstorm can make you realise that you have been in one and only toxic relationship for all your life - a relationship with your work.

Read More

Respect

According to a common opinion, former researchers tend to function really well as entrepreneurs. This is true. However, there is one useful quality missing in academia - which turned out to be very painful to me when I went a little bit more into the entrepreneurial direction. Namely, in academia, no one teaches us how to value our time.

Read More

Real choices, fake choices

At some point I realised that the decision on whether or not to stay in academia - or in other words, whether to do research or focus on commercial projects instead - is not the real choice I need to make right now. In fact, the real choice is: how much am I willing to risk? Let me explain.

Read More

Born to do it

One insight I remember from all the motivational books and movies I ever consumed is that, entrepreneurs always underscore how difficult it is to go against your relatives and friends when it comes to risking, investing and dropping day jobs on behalf of starting new ventures. In my case, family and friends react completely differently than in most cases I ever heard of - and it gives me goose bumps.

Read More

15 years later

I spent Christmas among family and friends quite as every time before. However, this time, I also had a few afterthoughts as there are some examples of common knowledge that stroke me really hard. You might hear some simple truths from your parents and teachers over and over again - or read about it from motivational books - but after all, you only learn how important they are when you see the consequences in real life.

Read More

The gap year – vol. 2

In August this year, I wrote a compilation of seven things I had learned from having a gap year. Funny thing is: the gap year was only halfway back then. Now, when it slowly comes to the end, I can easily add yet another seven things I learned since then. Some of these things are almost like rediscovering America, but I would like to shortly highlight them here anyways.

Read More

The Tangle Approach

I was recently recommended to read the book by Emilie Wapnick ‘How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up' (2017), dedicated to the concept of multipotentiality. In the book, Emilie refers to her own experience as a person who cannot fully commit herself to just one profession, but instead, has multiple passions and can only find fulfilment by sequentially indulging in multiple professions on her career path. When I read this book, I have a feeling that it resonates with my own story to a high extent. However, I developed my own model of labor, which I could call a tangle (or a plaid).

Read More

How to conduct an interview?

Perhaps, some latent hobbies or talents you inherit after your parents, but for a really long time, you do not realise this. I have recently discovered that I am actually fond of interviewing people. I also learned that an interview can go way smoother than expected when you follow just a few general rules. I would also like to share the tips in here - who knows, maybe it turns out useful for more people. We are not formally trained how to interview people during our scientific careers after all.

Read More

Mission: Impossible

How to predict the future? That’s the whole difficulty when it comes to making any choices, from choosing the right studies, through choosing the right friends, choosing the right investments, to choosing the right projects at work. A mundane, typical scientist (such as me) can produce one, two, sometimes three first-author publications per year - not much more is physically possible. In such a situation, it is crucial to choose the right projects.

Read More

The gap year

As Confucius famously said, choose the job that you love - and you will not need to work for a lifetime. However, this is all not that simple. As a matter of fact, the school system (or at least Polish school system), kills a lot of natural talents: knowledge served at schools is standardised and the amount of material you need to learn is so overwhelming that you are becoming a little robot, working days and nights for good grades. There is just no more room in your life to explore the environment around you, and learn about your own talents. This is exactly why I decided to conduct an experiment on myself; my contract expired some time ago and I came to a conclusion that it is a great opportunity to actually find out more about myself instead of jumping into a new job straight away.

Read More

What trading gave me, and what it stole from me

Since a few weeks I have been doing research projects again, as opposed to past few months when I was mostly trading instead of doing any science. My aim was to work out an independent source of funding for myself, but also to rest from science for a little while in order to see if this relationship has a chance to last forever. So, trading turned out to be a refreshment of a particularly painful sort, as it did not make my daily life any easier - rather the opposite.

Read More

A note on team work

Yesterday was a nostalgic day not only for me, but for every Polish person there is. The reason is because one of our little heroes, Tomasz Mackiewicz, is dying in Karakorum, and no one can really save him from death at this point. Climbing in Himalayas can seem like a distant and exotic concept, but one thing we can definitely learn from mountaineers is a team work.

Read More

Mentorship

Up until now, research on the influence of mentorship on the career perspectives in young researchers is scarce. It seems that, in academia, there is a consensus that mentorship is beneficial in general, but the extent to which the positive effects of mentorship hold in the long term is not clear.

Read More

The three-legged stool

Today, the concept of a job is far from the original concept at the times of the industrial revolution. Back then, a worker was a person who wakes up in the morning, and leaves their household for the most of the day, in order to sell their time in an exchange for a salary. Having a job meant a physical work. Today, the job market is much more diverse - complex but also full of possibilities.

Read More

Taking risks as a path to safety

In the famous riddle, you are supposed to connect all the dots with four straight lines. You can sweat and try as long as you like but you will always be just one line short from connecting all of them. Unless you look outside the box, and make yourself space beyond the limited area of the square - then, all of a sudden, everything becomes easy. The point is: as a scientist, you are pressed to do multitasking as well: as opposite to industry, in academia, you need to prove yourself in multiple different roles every day, and the collateral stress is inevitable whenever you are a good or a bad worker. So, how to deal with stress?

Read More

The future of experimentalists and data scientists

I observe two contradictory trends in academia these days. On one hand, experimental researchers flock together into bigger and bigger consortia, in order to collaborate in large groups in order to be able to conduct complex experiments that are so labour- and knowhow- expensive, that it would not be possible to approach them in a more traditional fashion based on an individualistic achievement. On the other hand, anyone who is connected well enough and talented enough, can formulate a research question, search out for the open datasets, conduct a computational study, report the results and post them in a form of a preprint, and then spread the news through the social media.

Read More

The source of disease

As a scientist, you are doomed to live in a shadow of deadlines, short contracts, and mutual dependencies as you are by definition bound to a dynamic web of people, some of whom might behave differently than expected. The collateral stress is inevitable whenever you are a good or a bad worker. And if you ask your family and friends about what to do with yourself in such conditions, they will all tell you: go for a walk, meditate, go to spa, relax, go to a therapy, grow flowers, stare at the blue sky, listen to your favourite music. All these activities are superficial and do not solve the true problem.

Read More

Students

Initially, I was hesitating for a long time if I can even manage to supervise a student. Namely, if I will be able to catch some good vibes and keep on going regardless of little bumps on the way which naturally pop out during research: you try and fail, and then try and fail again and again… But now, I must say that supervising students is a wonderful experience to me, and I consider it – so far – the most fulfilling part of the PhD track.

Read More

Artists and craftsmen

Researchers have their personal styles of working, and some of them are more like craftsmen, whereas others are more like artists. And the irony is: in order to produce a novel scientific study and publish it well, you need to be an artist, but you also need to be a craftsman - and these two qualities are rarely to be found in one and the same person.

Read More

To read or not to read

‘Yes, people do become successful after reading motivational books but the thing that made them succeed is the same thing that had driven them to read the motivational book in the first place - The desire to succeed.’

Read More

Important versus doable

There are two types of things: important things, and urgent things. Unimportant and urgent things should be delegated. Unimportant and non urgent things should be postponed (or delegated). Things that are important and urgent should be prioritised. Things that are important and non urgent, are the crucial ones and should be taken care of on the regular basis.

Read More

Passive income

Passive income became a popular key term over past few years. It comprises all the possible ways of making money which you initiate and then can let go, so that the money, in a word, keeps on producing itself. Most of the time, passive income relates to online activities, such as writing e-books and selling them on Amazon Kindle website, releasing an online course which can be downloaded at a price, releasing popular youtube videos so that you can capitalise on advertisements, affiliate marketing, Fiverr freelancing (which means that you can offer any service at a fixed price of five bucks), launching an online business that can be automated to a high extent such as an online store with one or two employees, etc.

Read More

YouTube culture

Just a few years back, kids posting on youtube were just a niche phenomena, aggregating a small audience of hipsters willing to watch. Now, more and more of these - usually teenage - performers, became quite popular and a good few of them collected nation-wide audience. One reason to talk about youtube culture is that, interestingly, even though it is a completely unsupervised and nonhierarchical system, the mechanisms which evolved in this community are similar to science: similar issues and similar coping strategies.

Read More

Luck

The popular belief is that people who perceive themselves as successful and lucky, are those who just take opportunities – notice the money lying on the street and take it. Or, those who interpret some events as lucky whereas others would rather perceive the same events as unlucky. For instance, if you were stolen a wallet, and the wallet was retrieved with a credit card missing but all the documents in place, would you interpret this as misfortune or luck?

Read More

Happiness is not forever

Happiness is not given forever. You can put yourself together and fool yourself that happy times are for good, but in fact, the feeling of happiness will vanish away with time if you do not take care of it properly. It is just like a plant that needs to be watered every day.

Read More

Going dark

I sometimes wonder what happens during the maturation process, when people slowly turn from fragile, troubled and empathic PhD students which they were in the past, into a bit psychopathic, emotionless and calculated bosses who push others to do things not necessarily optimal for their development. Just as everyone believes they will make better parents than their parents were, everyone also seems to believe that they will never copy their PIs’ mistakes.

Read More

Teaching

Recently I started teaching, and I have a plentora of feelings relating to this new experience. First to say, it is definitely true what they say: 80% of our fears is completely unnecessary.

Read More

All these exams

I was studying extensively in Warsaw, where I was going through three Master programs at a time. Throughout my studies, I experienced a lot of less and more painful exams. Some were funny, some were nerve wrecking. I think the fact that I had such a long list of exams and qualifications to take, might play a positive role on the general stress resilience.

Read More

Productivity

‘Productive’. A simple word, however the it bells in my ears like a threat. In Poland, no one around me was ever describing themselves as productive. Could be motivated or bored, could have a flow or not, but ‘productive’ was not in anyone’s personal vocabulary. In the Netherlands, I hear this expression quite often though, which might be due to the competitive nature of science in here. People around seem to be quite obsessed with the concept of productivity. And, every time I hear about it, I always start wondering: am I productive? What if not? Maybe it is counterproductive to even think about productivity? And so on and so on.

Read More

End of the year summary

The end of the year is coming, which is a perfect occasion for little considerations of what happened in 2015, and what is, hopefully, about to happen in 2016. Some of my goals were achieved and some other goals I have to put on hold. However, in general, I feel that I am going towards the right direction.

Read More

Second life

Current November is probably the happiest November by far, even after correction for the weather. You know, when you are a researcher, every happy day is a success itself. And, in addition to that, if you are an ex-depressed person, every happy day is one step away from death and one step towards life. You’ve got to fight for every single day, literally.

Read More

Imposter syndrome

I just had a really wild attack of the imposter complex. This is when you feel that others overestimate your mental and physical capabilities. Pretty much everyone is academia suffers from it, it is just that some people overcome this effect better than others.

Read More

Overcoming fears

Human brain can rewire so quickly… I remember the rainy days four years ago when I first came to Nijmegen and tried to survive at the very place. During my studies I hadn't had too many programming courses, neither I had opportunities to present science. No wonder that programming and presentations were my two biggest nightmares. Now, they are my two favourite and most relaxing activities at work.

Read More

What do successful people say

Singers, sportsmen, writers, famous bloggers and motivational speakers, Noblists, inventors, enterpreneurs and famous CEOs. All these people think shockingly similar about the rules for success.

Read More