Best Practices

Don't Work With Psychopaths

I saw a tweet today, asking “If you could tell one piece of advice to yourself at 21, what would it be?” and without hesitation I thought, don’t work with psychopaths. You’d think you could handle it but you’d be wrong. I always thought I could, and I was wrong. You can’t outsmart a pathology.[1]

Diary and Delta File

This is a two parter but I keep them together because it's easier.


Keep a diary of what you do every day. This has a ton of benefits:

Delta File

Maintain a written document, for your eyes only, where you capture observed behaviors (and consequences) that you find objectionable in yourself and others. I find this useful for keeping yourself sane in cases of being gaslit by your employer, as well as documenting behavior that should be documented for future reference. You never know when you will need these details and they could 100% save your ass someday.

The purpose is to understand, change or act differently should you find yourself in the same position. It allows you to reflect over time on actions that you find problematic; sometimes you learn that you were naïve and when presented in the same situation you then understand why a person acted in a certain way, other times you can make a different choice and rise to the occasion — it helps you prepare for that moment.

A short-term side benefit of the Delta File, is how it’s a great way to let go of tolerable crap you have to deal with. When you see something objectionable and there is nothing you or anyone can do about it, just writing it down and acknowledging it’s “a bad thing” can help you handle the emotional burden.

Regular Self-Assessment


This is super useful for maintaining an up-to-date set of useful information in your current job. If you are keeping a regular running list of what you have done every day, then a regular distillation of that can help you keep track of your accomplishments and your trajectory within your workplace. I do this on different scales: weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

For each one, I throw all my accomplishments from the more-regular assessment (weekly I look at last 7 days in diary, monthly I look at last month's weeklies, etc.) together and consolidate them into the largest possible accomplishment for a given project. This helps me keep me on track for knowing where I am in terms of larger scale goals, but in the meta of the job (promotion, etc.) and the work itself.

When it comes time for promotion, to move on to a different company, or whatever, you will have a lot of really useful context for demonstrating your ability on different levels of granularity.


When you are writing your assessment for others, you need to go about things a bit differently. Most of this can be summarized as "know your audience".


  1. Don’t work with psychopath
  2. The Delta File | Manager Tool
  3. Your resume probably won't be seen by a human (and how to fix that)

Last modified: 202405271533