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Of Symphonic Musicians, Tennis Champions, and Skill Building

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explores the habits and routines common among people in different fields who have achieved significant success. As part of his discussion, Gladwell cites the “10,000 hour rule,” which notices that many of the elite musicians in major symphony orchestras spend at least 10,000 practicing before becoming professionals. In subsequent interviews, Gladwell explains he mentioned the “rule” to show not only the effort required by the musicians themselves, but also the large amount of sacrifice and assistance needed by those around them. However, many people took the “rule” to mean that practicing something for 10,000 hours guaranteed proficiency and success.
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Keeping Proper Documentation Saves Time and Money

These days, everyone is in a hurry to finish their projects and move on to the next one. In most cases, documentation is the last thing they think about – if they think of it at all. More often than not, it’s ignored completely or becomes “something you’ll get around to later.” Well, “later” all too frequently means there’s a good chance you’ll forget to do it – or that you’ll forget something important once you get around to doing it. But if you don’t document the changes you made then the next person working on the project has to reverse engineer everything to see why the last change was made.
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CSIA – The value of certification by a governing body

We all receive value from the governing bodies that regulate industry and standardize the products we use every day. We need to feel confident: we rely on the Food and Drug Administration to certify the safety and purity of our foods and medicines and the National Institute of Standards to ensure there’s a gallon of gas in the tank when it says so on the pump. Consumer trust is critical to the buying process.
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Office Culture First, Career Second

Sir Richard Branson is quoted as saying “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.” I wish I had read that prior to launching a mediocre teaching career that I very much despised. My sense of humor, extreme directness, and love of workplace shenanigans made me less than an ideal candidate for working with the uptight school administration in my district. I left five years ago when I realized that if I wanted to have a career I loved, I needed to first find a workplace culture that was the perfect blend of shenanigans and success.
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Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Things have changed a lot since I started in this business. In the “old days”, you could use any color combination you wanted on your HMI screen, as long as it was amber on a black background. You could use timers and counters in your ladder logic, as long as they were structured exactly right, and outputs always went at the end of the rung. Always.
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