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EARLY Friday Fun for June 14: Best advice you ever got edition!

Hi folks.

Today is my 60th birthday. Bring on the senior discounts!

In other news, I was laid off from my job today (part of a general layoff of contractors). I had been planning to post this on Friday, but then I would likely miss your here goes!

Have you ever received a piece of advice that stuck with you? Like when you were told:

  • Measure twice; cut once.
  • Righty-tighty lefty-loosey (old Navy memory trick  for turning screws, valves, etc)
  • Under-promise and over-deliver.

There must be a million pieces of advice you have been given over the years that have served you well. Maybe something wise your grandparents  or parents or teachers told you (like my high school teacher made me promise to go to a four-year college and get a degree or my mother told me to always make myself useful).

Or some nugget from your boss or a co-worker. Or maybe advice you give others.

I watched Radar O'Reilley on M*A*S*H and used him as a role model (always anticipate what your boss needs and make your boss look good). My boss once told me to never bring him a problem without at least one suggested solution, which I follow to this day. I always tell people that interviewers really want you to be the one they hire (because interviewing is a real pain), so relax and put your best foot forward in that interview--and always send a thank-you note to every person you interview with.

I always tell people to try to leave every person better than you found them (compliment easily and often; remember that sometimes people are having a hard day, so treat them with compassion).

Please share your best advice with the rest of us. I'm going to need it as I look for that next best opportunity. And try to keep my spirits up after having just lost my job.


Monique vdB Community Manager Jun 11, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe  I'm so sorry to hear about the layoff! I hope this means something amazing is around the corner for you, and I'm sure the community will have lots of advice for you.

(Maybe we should have a networking thread in the Jobs & Careers group where everyone can connect on LinkedIn?)

My favorite advice is from RuPaul: what other people think about you is none of your damn business.

I look forward to following this thread. And...


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What a total nutbuster @Karen O'Keefe :''ó( Especially on your Birthday.
Was looking for a nice gif but I think Monique's is perfect, so wishing you a fabulous 60th. Enjoy it to the max!

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this

@Karen O'Keefe  you didn't lose a job, you just open the door to great opportunities. Have success finding them really soon!

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Kat Marketplace Partner Jun 11, 2019

I hope you get a new role soon within our ecosystem. I enjoy and learn from your posts. 

Here are few of my mind-worms (catch phrases that are practical and seem to weirdly repeat in my head):

  • Righty-tighty lefty-loosey - works for most door handles, keys, screws etc
  • Top of bottoms and bottom of tops - when pegging clothes on the washing line
  • Smell 'a rat' when you separate - a weird spelling hint
  • Be the change you want to see in this world - life tips
  • Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things - life tips
  • Those who matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter - life tips

And there are so much more in my head that are not coming to mind right now.

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When they come to your mind, please post them! I love the "don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things"!!

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LarryBrock Community Leader Jun 12, 2019

Those pearls of wisdom came from George Carlin who slipped many like that into his humorous take on life.

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Monique vdB Community Manager Jun 12, 2019

@LarryBrock the Carlin bit that sticks with me the most of his is something like "everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac." 🤣

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Ashish Community Leader Jun 11, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe : Hey! Happy Birthday To You.

Every transition phases open new doors of better opportunities and you know it very well. I wish you start a new adventure ride soon and all the best for that.

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First of all Happy Birthday @Karen O'Keefe - love reading your posts and enjoy your wise words! Hope the best for you - see the opportunities waiting for you!

What my grandpa used to say (and please cut me some slack - I'm trying to translate that somehow): "There are people like that and people like that in life no matter, but there are also people who brake while driving uphill, don't be one of them!"

Took me a while to understand his words :) 

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Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Jun 12, 2019

Karen, despite everything, I wish you all the best for your birthday! Have a party and don't let it get you down!

This community is so big, it would be a shame, if there wouldn't be a new opportunity here for you. Have a look at the Jobs - Group, as Monique suggested. 

I hope, you will be here with us for a long time yet.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jun 12, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe I'm sorry to hear about the lay off.  I know that you are going to be able to find a new opportunity soon! Also Happy Birthday!  Take this as a opportunity to no have to work on your birthday and go do something fun!

To answer the question that you put out to the community.  I'm the father of a 1 1/2 year old son.  When he was about 6 months old my boss gave me a piece of advice that I have found really helped keep things in perspective over the past year.

She said: "Each stage of growth comes with joys and challenges, be sure to focus on the joys  as there's no going back once they move on to the next stage."

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Jun 12, 2019

Happy Birthday Karen!! I hit that magic mark last year. What a ride life has been in 60 years. Full of ups and downs and sorry you are hitting one of the downs currently.

Here are some additional adages...

  • Things happen for a reason - this is my favorite and something I have always believed in and has helped me "climb back on the horse" :-)
  • Well done is better than well said

Here is to new beginnings and your next job opportunity. I look forward to seeing your next Friday fun post where you are telling us all about what you are up to now!

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I totally luuuuuurv  "Things happen for a reason" ! !
Wrote some song lyrics for a great song by Lee Foss called "Happen For A Reason"

Chorus goes:

Everything is happening for a reason
Tis the season,
To open your mind

And fill it up with all kinds of positivity,
Kill negativity,
Raging in your heart!

carolyn french Community Leader Jun 12, 2019

Dear Karen,

We are all thinking about you and behind you with whatever you chose to do next!

I hope this reaches you in time because it sounds like your Atlassian Community account is tied to your work email account based on your comment.

I had been planning to post this on Friday, but then I would likely miss your here goes!

Go ahead and change it before you leave- that is my advice if that is the case. We want to keep seeing you here :) 

Lastly, Happy Birthday!


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Yeah @Karen O'Keefe - take the advice of @carolyn french and change your account to a private email adress. We don't wanna lose you!

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@carolyn french  I have been told by my Atlassian administrator internally that I just need to create a new account under my own email addy--as we use single sign-on here. My name will be the same, but I'm guessing my badges, articles, etc won't transfer.

Monique vdB Community Manager Jun 13, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe can you update the email address on your current account and create a new one for your single sign-on if you still need that?

carolyn french Community Leader Jun 13, 2019

Let us know if Mo's suggestion works @Karen O'Keefe . Otherwise this seems like a big pain point for continuity @Monique vdB 

Hi. This is Karen O'Keefe under my own (not corporate) identity. I'll work on getting my new ID merged with my old. In the meantime, here is my linkedin account:

I'm about to leave work, so my old id will be disabled shortly (hopefully we won't lose the whole thread).

@Monique vdB and @Carolyn French

I downloaded my .json files (with my profile and community content). Is there a way to apply those to my new account?

Monique vdB Community Manager Jul 05, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe  can you email me the details? mvandenberg at, and I can update on the back end. 

Like Kat likes this

That's quite the post. Good luck with whatever is next.

My advice to my children which now guarantees eye-rolls:

"Only boring people get bored"

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Matt, that reminds me--I cured my son's eye rolls right from the start. 

The first time he rolled his eyes, I grabbed him by the arm and said "OMG, Rodger, get in the car."

Him: "What?"

Me: "Get in the car. We need to go to the ER."

Him: "Why?"

Me: "You're having a seizure."

Him: "I am not."

Me: "Yes you are. Your eyes just rolled back in your head."

Him: eye roll.

Me: "OMG, it just happened again! Get in the car!"

Him: "You are crazy!" And then he walked away.

He never rolled his eyes at me again! (I consider a retreat by a teenager a win for all involved.)

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Thank you so much everyone! I'm a little teary-eyed reading all of your posts! I had a great birthday (in spite of the bad news), Celebration started over the weekend, when friends took me on a trip to the coast, where I was stuffed with seafood and went on a whale-watching excursion (on one of those Zodiac boats that are low to the water). What a great time!

When I came in on Monday, I had a birthday card from my co-workers and two mini-cakes (I'll post photos later). The genius baker makes cakes that look like velvet. Admittedly, I was bummed about losing my job, but I had lunch with my favorite people here and then went to dinner at my best friend's house--who made me spaghetti and meatballs and let me steal her dog's affections. Plus, I won $7 on a scratch-off lottery ticket (hey, it's not nothing). 

The good news is that I have had three interviews and am one of the final two candidates for a Senior Software Engineer job (requires a bilingual ability). I also applied for another testing job yesterday.

I look forward to more of your wisdom--and will take your advice about changing my email--and going to the community jobs section.

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Sounds wonderful ❤️ Keep on going girl and a lot of hugs for you!

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That is great @Karen O'Keefe !! Good luck. Wishing you all the best with the interviews.

Ties in to some of my favourite quips:

  1. When a door closes, a window opens.
  2. Keep on dreaming.
  3. Never give up.
  4. Keep going, you're doing great.

Here's one I no longer believe in as I become older and wiser: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"

Nowadays I believe more and more in "Not only can the dog learn new tricks, it WANTS to keep learning" :oD

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Rachel Wright Community Leader Jun 12, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe , I think you have a great attitude.  Like attracts like!

A great VP at an IT company once said to me "make sure you're always running towards something instead of away from something".  I appreciated his wisdom and haven't forgotten it.

When I graduated from college, a Student Services Administrator gave me a pen with "Whatever it takes!" engraved on it.  I don't have the pen anymore, but I think of him and this advice whenever I need some extra motivation.

We're all here cheering for you.  Happy birthday!!

Rachel Wright

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Leslie Lee Atlassian Team Jun 12, 2019

Happy birthday, @Karen O'Keefe! What great advice from this group. You're clearly super valued in this community and I'm wishing you luck on the final two interviews! My advice is found in Wayne Gretzy's quote: You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. Take the shot/change!

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@Karen O'Keefe I love this topic. So important!

First off, happy belated birthday and I'm sorry to hear about your job. I'm hoping this amazing community we have available can help drive some support or connections for you. Please email me and I can also reach out to my network too ( 

Regarding the best advice I've been given, it was "protect your personal schedule".  We are constantly pulled in multiple directions.  I block out times for myself on my calendar. When I was told this advice, it stemmed from the idea around, "if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of others". It resonates with me as a professional supporting large groups of people and even more so as a parent, friend, daughter, etc. I want to bring my very best self to work, to my kids, to the people I care about. I deserve it and the people I care about/support deserve it too. 

Love this btw: "My boss once told me to never bring him a problem without at least one suggested solution, which I follow to this day", I live by this in life and it's incredibly helpful and allows people to feel like you're meeting them in a place to drive results. 

Thank you for sharing! 

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It just occurred to me that I wrote an article that really fits this topic. I'm going to post it in the Jobs and Careers Group and link back to it here. Hold, please!

Make Excellence Your Norm

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Also a Happy Belated Birthday and Good luck on your Job Interviews!
Way to hit the ground running!

So maybe not so much a piece of advice, so much just something that one of my bosses once said to me on my first day of work.

"Your primary job, no matter what, is to keep us off the front page of the paper"

We'd had some bad press with some things, and what I did involved a lot of sensitive information and access.  I've kinda kept that with me as a "guiding" principle ever since.  :D

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That is a GREAT one....! 
I've worked at companies when they've reached the press for negative reasons... not great.

I used to work for THIS company.... way to hit to FRONT PAGE running ;o)

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I think some of the best advice I ever got was from Star Trek.

Scotty to Geordi
Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would really take, did ya?
Geordi La Forge: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

I always pad my time estimates so I'm never behind schedule and don't miss expectations.

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Under promise and over deliver!

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One that I've been told numerous times but just can't get right is:

"Only ever give 75%... that way on a bad day when you deliver only 50% people won't mind, whilst on that one day when you do give 100% people will think you are amazing"

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Erica Moss Community Manager Jun 12, 2019

@Karen O'Keefe So sorry to hear that, friend! I know how tough a layoff can be, but I also know that when I've dealt with that in the past, it has always paved the way for even more awesome things!

I hope that, despite all of that, you're able to celebrate a fabulous birthday because you certainly deserve it!


Advice can be a tricky thing because it often comes across as cliche, but someone I always turn to for good vibes is Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of "Hamilton" on Broadway). He tends to post affirmations in the mornings and evenings (would recommend his book), and one of my favorites was this one: "Take time to think on what you've lost. Take stock of what stays with you. Be grateful for all of it. Keep going." ❤️

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Here's a bit of job interview advice I received from my uncle; he was a well known speaker for AA and always had something to share. 

You know those interview questions where the interviewer asks you to tell them about a time when..." Those should be the easiest softball questions in an interview. Here's how:

Write down and memories 10 stories from your working or volunteering career. Practice telling them to different people, in different ways. If you know 10 stories by heart you can answer ANY interview question with confidence and charm. You'll stay comfortable throughout the interview because you know that you know your Sh...stuff. 

Going to a stressful social event? 10 stories.

Meeting new people? 10 stories.

Speaking in front of a crowd? Yup...10 stories. 


“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” 


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A professional speaker (and Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking) told me something similar.

Make a list of stories from your personal and professional life:

  • A professional success
  • A professional failure
  • A personal success
  • A personal failure

With the failures, you need to include what you learned from it and how you grew from it.

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I love this advice! 

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Happiest of birthdays to you Karen! Sad to hear about your job, but you are highly employable with tons of skills and experiences, you will be scooped up by another organization(s) in no time :)

If you are interested in a Public Service Career, here is an article I wrote from words of wisdom shared with me from a speed mentoring session I attended a few years back:

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We can never forget this epic collection on advice - Trust me on the sunscreen

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LarryBrock Community Leader Jun 27, 2019

Hi @Kat - could you check/fix that url?  It's aiming me at a dead-end.  Thanks!

Like Kat likes this
Kat Marketplace Partner Jun 27, 2019

The link should work now @LarryBrock :)

LarryBrock Community Leader Jul 03, 2019

Thank you so much for sharing that @Kat - soooo many words of wisdom packed in there. And, I can say without a doubt (have the scars to prove it) - TRUST ME ON THE SUNSCREEN!!!!!!!


Like Kat likes this

Another favourite of mine that I taught myself...

Dare 2 Communicate

Also one of the most wisest I've ever been taught:

The Right Door Opens At The Right Time !

Kat Marketplace Partner Jun 27, 2019

Here are some password related tips:

  • addresses make great passwords. Use the address of your local takeaway store, a friend's address, are somewhere you used to live (if you have moved a few times).
  • use passwords to reinforce goals like '6krun<1hour' or 'EpicholidayDec2019' or 'Post1article/month'
Tim Keyes Atlassian Team Jan 13, 2020

Hi Karen,

I am hoping you have since found a new job.  I read through the thread and would love to hear what you are doing now!

"Listen to your elders" has always resonated with me.  I have always found that people with more experience on earth have interesting perspectives and value to contribute to discussions.   

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Kat Marketplace Partner Jan 13, 2020

I concur - please give us an update @Karen O'Keefe 

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