Natasha (bottom, farthest left) with her Product Management students.
Like any self-respecting teenager, I had vowed to be different from my elders. My mother and her three sisters have glittering careers in education. After ten years in tech, I now practice the craft my younger version was adamant to avoid: I moonlight as an instructor at General Assembly.
This side-gig, that started as mild experiment, has become a full-blown passion. I have been at our New York campus every month since I joined the instructional team a year ago. Below is a round-up of 12 lessons I learned from 12 months of preaching product management to five classes.
A decade ago when I started my career in product management, most tech shops gave this role an ambiguous label like consultant or analyst. At the time, besides being a source of an existential crisis my job description had two other problems: I couldn’t explain it to my mother, and it involved authoring specifications – the kind that made its author and readers want to die!
Now, most tech teams either include a product manager or are wondering if they need to. And while my mom still doesn’t get what I do, she is generally pleased that my title says “manager” of something. Also the artifacts that product managers need to produce have evolved to match the personality of the creative people who are typically attracted to this profession. (More on this in a forthcoming post.)
Still, on many days, I have to sit at my desk for hours.
On national hug day – yes, there is such a thing, it seems appropriate to visit the touchy subject of invading a colleague’s personal space.
Conflicts at work not only mess with our heads but also our immune systems —making us easy targets for infections during these stressful times. Researchers have accumulated substantial evidence to back this theory (increased stress= increased risk to your immune system).
At the same time, they have found that people who feel supported during periods of strain are protected from its negative impact on health.
And yet, what behaviors demonstrate care and concern? Dear huggers, you may be onto something.
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