TIME Internet

Why Mark Zuckerberg Has a 99% Approval Rating From His Employees

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This question answered by Han Qin and Amir Memson on Quora

Answer by Han Qin:

I can not speak for the rest of the Facebook employees, but I can tell my stories to explain why I believe the 99% approval rating is pretty fair.

After I joined Facebook in 2010, I worked on a secret project “graph search”. Within a couple months, I attended two Zuck reviews to discuss the project. He absorbed our ideas and provided feedback and support. I am not sure how other CEOs work, but as an entry level engineer I was really impressed. In the later years, I attended more Zuck reviews and saw Zuck reviews happening every day (his office has glasses walls) with both VP/directors and eng/designer/PM.

In 2012, Facebook IPOed, so we had an in-campus celebration event at Hack Square. Everybody was drinking and laughing. I was trying to push my code out so I was a little late to the party. When I walked into Hack Square, Zuck was talking to someone else but he turned to me and said “congratulations”, I was so surprised that I said “thank you”. Looking back, I think he was actually the one we all should have congratulated but I am so touched by the congrats he gave me (again, an average engineer) first.

I can list more details that Zuck is so awesome but I think you can get some sense from my stories. He is a really unique CEO that I will forever love to work with. He keeps great relationship with most CEOs in the industry. He loves his wife and always mentions how much he owes her in front of the whole company.

If you still wonder why Mark Zuckerberg has the highest approval rating after reading all the answers, join Facebook and you will know for sure.

Answer by Amir Memson, iOS Software Engineer at Facebook:

Because he is just that awesome.

There are several reasons why we “approve” of him:

  • The story: He built this billion user and billion dollar company from his dorm room, overcame one obstacle after another, and assembled a company with some of the most talented employees in the world.
  • The principles: He is dead-focused on “making the world more open and connected.” The guy doesn’t waver; all the investments in R&D and acquisitions have been along these lines.
  • The heart: He was the biggest donor of 2013, and is generally a minimalist. He is clearly committed to Internet.org, even though that’s not necessarily where the short term revenue increases are. We really feel he wants to change the world for the better.
  • The guts: What other CEO has the… guts… to purchase a chat company for $19B??? It’s a very smart purchase for various reasons, but still, $19B! Even other Silicon Valley CEOs acknowledge Zuck’s fearlessness: http://read.bi/1n24ctW
  • The wisdom: When we hear him speak, he gives us brain wrinkles. He has this uncanny ability to make all the right strategic moves, and when he explains the reasons for making those moves, it simply makes sense. Sure, mistakes have been made, and hindsight is 20/20, but at decision time, it was for all the right reasons.
  • The trust: He doesn’t make all the decisions, in fact far from it. We feel entrusted and empowered to drive our features the way we feel is best for the people that use Facebook. This is drastically different from many top-down corporations. We’re happy with the balance between management-mandated and grass-roots-inspired decision making.
  • The character: He wears T-Shirts and jeans, talks with humility, and he just seems generally very approachable. We like that.
  • The business: Facebook is a rock solid business that is rapidly increasing in revenue as we speak. It makes more than 70% more in revenue than it was making just one year ago.
  • The free food and perks: Yes, this makes us like him and the company too. He has the ability to put an end to it at any time, but he keeps it coming. If somebody gives me free cookies, I like them, this part is not rocket science.

And, no, having a lower approval rating is not a good thing. People don’t “approve” because they agree with everything, rather they know that they have a say, and that their opinion matters. It’s a good thing to like your boss.

This question originally asked on Quora: Why does Mark Zuckerberg have a 99% approval rating from his employees? See more:


The 25 Most Productive Ways to Spend Time on the Internet

This post, which first appeared on Quora, has been removed at Quora’s request.

TIME career

How to Manage Your Email Like a CEO

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Answers by David Shin, Jimmy Wales, Raul Gutierrez, Steven Walker for Quora

Answer by David Shin, High Frequency Trader

When I worked at Google in 2006/2007, Larry and Sergey held a Q&A session, and this exact question was asked of them. One of them answered (I don’t remember which) with the following humorous response (paraphrased):

“When I open up my email, I start at the top and work my way down, and go as far as I feel like. Anything I don’t get to will never be read. Some people end up amazed that they get an email response from a founder of Google in just 5 minutes. Others simply get what they expected (no reply).”

Answer by Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder and Wikia co-founder

Jeff Bezos once told me that he tells everyone that if you email him, you’ll get an answer either within 10 minutes, or never. He’s a funny guy, so this was a joke, but in my experience, only halfway a joke.

Answer by Raul Gutierrez

Slightly off topic, but I met Steve Jobs at a Paris Review party for his sister in the 90’s (Next era). I followed up via email which started a series of occasional exchanges that lasted a few years. He answered every email. Emails I sent during the day would often take many days to get a response, but if I emailed late at night (past midnight) I got an almost instant response. If I was up and would respond back, he would again respond… like modern chat. Once, I asked him about how he had the time and he said that he liked to get some unfiltered feedback and thought it was important to hear what regular people were saying.

Answer by Steven Walker

Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon, handles all of his own email. One of the most efficient emailers I’ve ever seen. He uses inbox zero with Omnifocus in a highly efficient manner. In the earlier days we used to try and come up with ways to make this more efficient by setting rules in Mail that filtered emails into different boxes based on how much time they sat. Most were his ideas. Last time I knew his process is it had been simplified to simply starring emails and relying heavily on Omnifocus. He would sometimes email you back in less than a minute. If you ask anyone that has worked with Andrew they’ll note his thoughtful responses paired with his incredible response times.

This question originally appeared on Quora: How do Bill Gates, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey manage their email? More Questions:


TIME advice

8 Lessons That Can Make You a Better Leader

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Answer by Garrett Reisman, former NASA astronaut, for Quora

I’ve been meaning to post about leadership for a while now, thanks for asking the question and giving me this opportunity.

Here are some lessons that I have learned along the way from a variety of role models.

1) Have a grand vision – Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, CTO
As a leader, you can inspire and motivate your team to tremendous effect by communicating a vision in a clear, straight-forward way. But don’t think small – raise the bar really really high. Elon wants us to make the human species multi-planetary. That’s different than a CEO whose vision is to increase the company’s market share by 10% within 5 years.

2) Be Competent – Ken Ham, Commander Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-132
Being very good at what you do will inspire others to follow you and trust your judgement. Ken is the best pilot I have ever flown with, and I’ve flown with a lot of good ones. We did stuff in airplanes that I have only seen before or since in video games. When he was at the controls of Atlantis, you had the feeling that everything was going to be ok. Kind of like when Captain Kirk walks onto the bridge of the Enterprise.

3) Take Care of Your People – Nancy Currie, NASA Astronaut
This is an important principle that is ingrained into most military officers but is sadly often lacking in civilian managers. Mentorship is important but moreover, doing whatever you can to advance the careers of your subordinates should be one of your prime duties. Nancy was my branch chief in the Astronaut Office Robotics Branch when I was a rookie astronaut. When a prime flight assignment became available for a skilled robotics expert, she went to the chief of the Astronaut Office and relentlessly championed me for the spot – despite the fact that she herself was a much better candidate. Neither one of us got the job, but I never forgot her loyalty to me.

4) Give Your People as Much Autonomy as Possible – Chris Brennen, Caltech Professor
Resist the temptation to micro-manage. If you telegraph the answer you expect to your team, then you are not going to get an innovative solution to a problem – or even a correct one. When I would be struggling in the lab and talking to my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Chris Brennen, he would work with me at his white-board just long enough to make sure I was heading in a pretty good direction. Then he would take the maker out of my hand and say, “you’ll figure it out, now let me show you where we should go canyoneering this weekend” and he would start drawing topo maps of the San Gabriel mountains on the board.

5) Say What You Mean – Carl Fisher, former Senior VP of Northrup Grumman
Be a “straight-shooter”. Don’t be passive-aggressive and resist the temptation to tell people what they want to hear, only to proceed in a different direction. This is harder to do than it seems. As Carl advised me, “To be a good program manager, don’t worry too much about making friends. If you need a friend, buy a dog.”

6) Set the Bar High – Gerry Vandervoort, Parsippany High School Physics Teacher
You should have very high expectations of your team members. Don’t berate them for their failures, but challenge them with goals that seem above their abilities. Elon Musk is exceedingly good at this too, but I choose to use Mr. Vandervoort as an example. His physics class was tough, and he didn’t suffer fools. You had to want to be there – but as a result I was instilled with a love of science that never waned.

7) Lead by Example – Roman Romanenko, Russian Cosmonaut
What you do is so much more important than what you say. As a leader, you should be the hardest worker, the most well-prepared and the one willing to do all the things no one else wants to do. When we did our winter survival training in Moscow, our commander Roman was always the first to go out to chop more firewood, the last to eat, and the one who carried the heaviest load through the forest.

8) Allow Your Subordinates to Tell you That you are Wrong – Garrett Reisman
Often leaders who do their job too well end up surrounded by a bunch of “yes-men/women”. This can have disastrous consequences. When I was the leader on a desert survival course our task was to navigate to a water source by map and compass. I studied the map and proclaimed that a certain mountain peak in the distance was the one indicated on the map. Then I told my team – it is the job of each and every one of you to prove to me that this mountain is not the one on the map. We found the water and lived to tell the tale…

This question originally appeared on Quora: Leadership: What is the most important thing you have learned about leadership? More questions:

TIME advice

How Can I Get What I Want in Life?

Worried about my job
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Answer by Oliver Emberton, founder of Silktide, for Quora

There are just two reasons why you haven’t done the stuff you ‘want’ to do.

  1. You can’t because of something external
  2. You won’t because of something internal

Here’s the thing: nearly everyone who succeeds, will always assume number #2. By default, the reason they have failed is themselves. It is, without fail, their own fault. Always.

If this sounds like willful bunk, consider the flipside: those who fail always assume it’s not their fault. With that attitude, your ego is forever letting itself off the hook. You can’t learn from your experiences, except maybe that you shouldn’t have even tried, because – well – that big bad world was just super-mean to you again.

Try listening to a lot of normal conversation: it’s just ego repair.

“I’ve been here 6 years in the same job and they still haven’t promoted me!”
“I know, me too! It’s so unfair…

As Don Draper would say: I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.

Whenever “it” or “they”, “he” or “she” is to blame, you’re just diverting the blame. Because the only thing that matters is what you can control: what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it?

There are always situations when you really can’t have something that you don’t control. Maybe you dream of being a championship triathlete, but you were born without legs. Well of course.

Except that kind of reductio ad absurdum doesn’t excuse 99.99% of the identical, fundamental bullcrap that most people lament about: their health, jobs and relationships. For this trinity, the principles are well known and within the capability of everyone. Assuming, of course, you accept responsibility for that.

Why do we make excuses?

Making excuses can make us feel better. Excuses are like painkillers for our self-respect.

Surely they evolved with this purpose. For not everyone can succeed all the time, and if you can’t, it’s better that you don’t become too depressed about it.

But the chances are the things that you want – that you want the most – are not fast cars, Angelina Jolie’s chest or a giant catapult to the moon. Most of us crave fundamentally simple things: love, respect, security, health, significance. These things don’t require that we’re born to wealthy parents, or with perfect genes.

If you’re reading this, the chances are you have access to education, sanitation, medicine, freedom of speech, shelter and the sum of the world’s knowledge (The Google), and that you take them for granted. For over 150,000 years human life would have utterly sucked compared to now, and you’ve been born in the last 70 or so, in the blessed minority, when it doesn’t. You’re so lucky you can’t imagine.

You are the problem

Whenever you hit a wall: find what you can do about it, do it, and forget anything else. All the other stuff just consumes your attention and accomplishes nothing.

The solutions to all your problems are probably so obvious, you likely already know them. The trick is simply acknowledging it’s your responsibility alone to make it happen.

This question originally appeared on Quora: Life: How can I get what I want? More questions:

TIME advice

What Is The Most Productive Thing I Can Do When I Am Bored?

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Answer by Visakan Veerasamy, an employee of ReferalCandy and writer for Poached Magazine, for Quora.

I’ve noticed that everything that’s been stated involves doing something or trying something or focusing on something.

I propose elimination. See how much you can cut away from your life. Via negativa.

Eliminate needless clutter from your desk.

Eliminate needless noisemakers from your social media. (Eliminate needless social media channels altogether.)

Eliminate needless apps from your phone.

Eliminate needless blogs from your RSS feed.

Eliminate needless books from your shelves.

I think of this as an ‘Odyssean’ activity.

Odysseus guarded himself against temptation by the Sirens by getting his men to tie him to the mast of his ship.

Our willpower is limited.

In moments of clarity (or boredom, when we have enough energy to do simple tasks but not major ones), it helps if we tie ourselves to our masts by eliminating distractions.

Cut away anything that isn’t relevant to what you want to achieve in life. Do it now, while you can, and you’ll thank yourself for it later when you’d have been otherwise distracted.

Of course, you never want to get too extreme with this, because there is always value outside of what you’ve set up for yourself. That random annoying person on Facebook might just be the spouse of your dreams. It’s pretty unlikely, though.

Trust your own judgement and get rid of what you know, with reasonable certainty, to be a waste of your time.

That leaves you with only what matters. Now that’s productive.

This question originally appeared on Quora:What is the most productive thing I can do when I’m bored? More questions:

TIME advice

What Are the Best Bargaining Techniques When Buying a Car From a Dealer?

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Answer by Jason Lancaster, president of Spork Marketing, for Quora.

1. Don’t negotiate. Tell the salesperson and sales manager that you’ll sign the paperwork the minute they hit your target figure. Politely decline any counter-offers, give them your phone number, and leave. If the price you’ve proposed is within the realm of possibility, they’ll call you at some point.

2. Follow-up on Saturday or Sunday nights an hour before closing time. Call and ask to speak with the salesperson or manager you’ve spoken to before. Remind them you’re a buyer when they meet your figure, but that they shouldn’t waste your time if they won’t.

If your offer is possible, the opportunity to do one more deal before the end of the day might compel them to work with you…especially if the dealership is having a bad weekend.

3. Follow-up on the last day of the month. Again, salespeople and managers are often under pressure to find one more deal before the month ends. A deal that didn’t make sense on the 25th might make sense on the 31st if the month hasn’t met expectations.

4. Follow-up on days that have had terrible weather. A major snowstorm, a day of wind and rain, etc. can dramatically affect car sales. Call and remind the salesperson or manager that you’re happy to come down when they meet your offer. Again, the fact that they’re not selling cars might get them to bend in your favor.

5. Rinse, wash and repeat. Do the same process concurrently with a couple of other dealers in your area. Make sure they have the car you want, and then give them their mission.

6. Know what a car is worth. If you’re buying a new car, Edmunds.com and TrueCar.com provide “true market” estimates that are reasonably accurate. If you’re buying a used car, KBB.com is a great resource, as it will tell you both retail value and wholesale (aka trade-in) value.

My suggestion is to try and buy a new car for $500-$1000 less than true market value. This is aggressive, but assuming that you’ve got time and you’re willing to work the phone, you can often find a dealership willing to dip into their holdback (financial reserve) to make one more deal.

If you’re buying a used car, I’d try for a 10-15% discount off of wholesale (trade-in) value. It’s damn difficult, but every now and then a dealer will take a car in on trade at below market value. If you make this kind of aggressive offer, you might get it every now and again.

Of course, you can always just offer true market value (new) or wholesale value (used). That will make getting a deal much easier…but what’s the fun in that? (Hat tip to Doug Dingus.)

7. Secure your own financing if you can. A great way to avoid the drama in the finance office is to get a loan from your local credit union. However, if you’re buying a new car and you want to take advantage of a special interest rate (like 0%), you’re going to have to work with the dealership’s finance person.

Quite frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is about going through finance. It’s true that you’re going to be brought into a small room with a very good salesperson, and that he or she is going to pitch you all sorts of stuff. You’re an adult. You can handle this. Be polite, but say no to everything. It’s not personal, it’s just business.

If you’ve got bad credit, the dealership finance office is going to help you out (at least a little bit). However, this doesn’t mean you need to do them a favor and buy a warranty or something…just say no.

8. Always be polite. In some of the other answers to this question, I’ve read suggestions about telling the dealer to “take it or leave it,” threatening to walk out, etc. This is all bad advice.

There are a lot of things that suck about working at a car dealership, not the least of which is being treated like crap by most of the people you deal with. While dealership employees learn how to “warm customers up” – it usually only takes a minute or two to get a stranger to laugh and relax a little – it’s emotionally draining.

Therefore, when someone starts dictating terms and making threats, most salespeople and sales managers will respond aggressively. It’s human nature. Instead of finding a way to make a deal, you’ll be told to wait an hour because someone is “on the phone with Japan” (see Leonard Kim‘s comment here).

Therefore, be nice and respectful to everyone you deal with. If you’re a genuinely nice person, I’m far more likely to do something unusual for you (like selling a car for less than invoice) than I am if you’re a grade AAA jerk.

What’s more, dealerships are now frequently paid on their overall customer satisfaction scores. Polite and courteous customers are far more likely to give a dealership a positive review, and dealers know it. A dealer’s worst-case scenario is to cheap sell a car to someone who gives them a lousy review on the manufacturer’s satisfaction survey. Not only did you fail to make money, but you get yelled at by the GM or owner for doing a bad job.

In closing, the downside to my process is that you might have to buy a car late on a weekend, might have to buy a car during a blizzard, etc., but you’ll get the price you want (or at least get closer than you ever thought possible).

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the best bargaining techniques when buying a car from a dealer? More questions:


What is The Most Unfair Advantage a Person Can Have?

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It's a trait you really can't control

Answer by Ivan Mazour, CEO and founder of Ometria, for Quora.

Not needing a lot of sleep.

This is a genuine, and unfair advantage, since it is almost entirely genetic, and not based around lifestyle or nutrition. Some people (Margaret Thatcher, Napoleon, etc) were able to function very effectively on just 4 hours of sleep, leaving them 20 hours in the day to be productive. Others need 8 hours just to feel normal, and that is 4 hours that they fall behind every single day, with no way of changing that.

It’s easy nowadays to use all sorts of efficiency methods and systems to help you get more done in the day, but as you push this further you inevitably hit a limit where you are as productive as you can possibly be. Unnecessary work is delegated out to either people or technology, and you are left doing just that which requires your personal input. It’s at that point that the extra 4 hours become a fundamental unfair advantage.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What is the most unfair advantage a person can have? More questions:

TIME Culture

Uzo Aduba of Orange Is the New Black on Changing Perceptions of Prisoners

Yael Stone and Uzo Aduba in a scene from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” Season 2.
Yael Stone and Uzo Aduba in a scene from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” Season 2. K.C. Bailey—Netflix

Has the Netflix series changed the way we think about women in prison?

Answer by Uzo Aduba, actor in Orange is the New Black, on Quora.

Absolutely, a firm yes. Before this show, I think I was not unlike Piper or perhaps even many viewers of the show, who, not that they didn’t realize that the inmates were people, but just simply didn’t recognize that they had a life and a story. Every sentence has a story. It really is true. It wasn’t until I read the pilot and I auditioned that I was like, ‘Wow, that was really great. I would love to be a part of the story like that.’ My character came in during the second episode and when I was reading the script (I think I was about a quarter way in), I reached the part with Red’s backstory and I immediately understood the show. This person, this story that we’re telling, actually has absolutely nothing to do with their crime. If you notice, it’s actually really interesting. For a lot of the characters, we don’t even know why they’re even in there and you can come to this conclusion from just watching 13 episodes. The show has little to do with their reasons for being in jail. It has more to do with who they are inside jail, who they were before going to jail, and what pieces of who they are remain and/or changed. I found it to be a fascinating study. Being on the show forced me to depart from the crime portion and instead view these women as mothers, daughters, neighbors, aunts, children, and babysitters. They are people with jobs and people who had lives. They are not just a number, not a crime, not a jumpsuit. They’re people.

This question originally appeared on Quora: Has “Orange Is The New Black” changed perceptions towards women in prison? More questions:

TIME career

What Should I Do About My Early-Life Crisis?

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Some people are lucky enough to get paid for their passions. Many aren't. It's a fact of life, and it's one you can cope with

Answer by Marcus Geduld, Shakespearean director and teacher, on Quora.

Here’s a secret: there are four types of people in the world:

1. People who, from an early age, know exactly what they want to do and are still doing it in their 50s and 60s. My friend Meggin is like that. In elementary school, she was already writing. By high school, she had written several novels. Now she’s the best-selling author of “The Princess Diaries.” It’s incredible because it’s so rare. A tiny percentile of people are like her. You’re not like her; I’m not either. Get over it.

2. People who, from an early age, think they know what they want to do. They often have big surprises in their 40s, realizing they don’t actually enjoy what they’ve committed to. Many of the apparently-directed people you see are in this group. You’re feeling lost now. They’ll go through what you’re going through later, but it will be much more complicated, because they’ll have husbands, wives, kids, and mortgages. So as nuts as it seems, you’re lucky.

3. People who don’t care about big goals. They know how to follow rules (e.g. do the homework, study for the test, do what the boss demands) and the enjoy dotting I’s and crossing T’s. They coast.

4. People like you who are lost.

Most young people are in that final category. Some hide it better than others. Some even hide it from themselves. Do your peers all seem more confident and directed than you? They’re not. Most of them are faking it or just aren’t as introspective as you are. Talk to them in 20 years and they’ll tell you how frightened and confused they were back when they were in college. So the first thing to realize is that feeling lost is part of being a 20-something.

To be honest, it’s part of being a 40-something, but those of us who don’t have midlife crises tend to embrace it. I enjoy being lost, because it allows me to be surprised. I prefer to have life hit me than to hit life. Anything could happen!

When I first started directing plays, I was terrified because I didn’t know what I was doing. My goal was to come up with a plan so that I could have some confidence. It took me 20 years to figure out that the fun was having no idea what I was doing. The fun part of directing is making it up as I go along. So I’m just as lost now as I was back then. But when you’re lost, you can either view it as a scared child, alone in the woods, or as a brave explorer, open to experience.

We can subdivide lost people into two groups:

1. People who are truly lost. They really do have no passions. Their emotions are blunted. This group may be clinically depressed. If you’re a member, I urge you to seek professional help. There are treatments for depression. There are ones involving meds and ones involving talk therapy (e.g. cognitive-behavioral therapy) that can be quite effective. If you’re clinically depressed, Quora can’t help you but a doctor probably can.

Also note that lots of people use “my career” and “my major” as proxies for their real concerns. When I was in college, most of my complaints about lofty things (“what am I going to do with my life?” “what’s it all about?” “how can I find meaning?”) really came down to panic that I didn’t have a girlfriend.

2. People who have bought into cultural norms of what they’re “supposed” to do. For example, George loves video games. They really, really excite him, but he’s been told “you can’t make a career out of that” or “that’s not for grownups,” so when he wonders what he’s passionate about, he doesn’t count gaming and decides he doesn’t have any passions. Be he does have a passion. A passion is a passion, whether it’s a sanctioned one or not.

Or Mary, who has bought into the idea that she has to choose a major in college, and that whatever you choose should be your passion, and that this choice is all tied up with a lifelong career. What Mary most loves is singing. But she doesn’t have a great voice, and she’s been told she’ll never make it as a professional singer. So she doesn’t even consider majoring in music. As far as she’s concerned — based on what she’s been told — she has no passion.

Or Dan, who dreams about being a dad. No career interests him, but he really, really wants to have children. Or Amy, who longs for a boyfriend. She’s very passionate when she imagines being in a relationship, but she feels guilty because modern women are “supposed” to be independent.

If you’re in this group then you’re not really lost. You just don’t fit well in generally-accepted categories. Well, then that’s your lot in life. If you love doodling, you can’t make yourself stop loving it and start loving banking instead. What you can do is work to arrange your life so that you can have as much doodle time as possible. You can stop confusing what-you’ll-get-paid-for with what-you’re-into.

Some people are lucky enough to get paid for their passions. Many aren’t. It’s a fact of life, and it’s one you can cope with. I’m 30 years into an adulthood in which I can’t make money doing what I most love. I don’t even think about it any more. I have a great life. I have a day job that’s interesting and a night-and-weekend life that’s thrilling.

Adrian Thomas suggests some ducks you should line up. He’s right. Do that. Then quit worrying about what you’re supposed to do. Your major? It’s not important no matter how many people tell you it is. Your passion? You have one or you don’t. Maybe you don’t have one now but you’ll have one later. It doesn’t matter. Just work to give yourself opportunities.

One last piece of advice: how much have you traveled? How often have you ventured out of your comfort zone? Consider taking a year off and backpacking around the world. Do it with little or no money, paying for your room and board by working in restaurant kitchens or whatever. Let Planet Earth and its peoples and sights shock you into becoming a passionate person. Many young people can’t be passionate because they haven’t been exposed to enough sensations and experiences to be awakened into the possibilities of the world.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What should I do about my early life crisis? More questions:

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