Kristen Laird: Converting fear into fuel

In high school, I had a terrible accident that left me with severe burns. There were only a few days left of my junior year, and I stayed after school to get help with a flame test for AP Chemistry. My professor put copper on a plate, poured methanol on it, and lit it; a…

Taking a risk: putting defeat aside to claim her win

I never expected to find myself homeless at 24. In high school, I was that student who could give my work only 60 percent of my effort yet still get an A. It just came easy to me. And I had a plan: I’ve always loved Japan and wanted to attend university there once I…

‘I’ll do it’: how a former spacecraft engineer said ‘yes’ and launched great things

While working on the Mars Pathfinder mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, I came to a fork in the road. It was a moment when I had to decide whether to move out of my comfort zone and take a risk. NASA was putting together a 25-person launch team that would temporarily…

Leaders lead, and you can, too

Building your career is a journey filled with challenges, excitement, and forks in the road. And journeys are easier with maps. In this column, job experts answer your questions and deliver advice to help you take the next step. Question: I was told that I might have leadership qualities—does that mean I should try to…

We’re all in this together: Miri’s brand of being herself

I grew up in the slums (Barrio Unión) of Caracas, Venezuela. My parents were missionaries who taught my siblings and me the importance of kindness and service to those who were less fortunate. We didn’t have much growing up, but whatever we had we always shared with others. We set out to be that family…

Want a seat at the table? Build your brand

Building your career is a journey filled with challenges, excitement, and forks in the road. And journeys are easier with maps. In this column, job experts answer your questions and deliver advice to help you take the next step. Question: My colleague is known for her great reputation, even by people who’ve never worked with…

Mike McCarter: lean, mean, hacking machine

About four years ago, I almost quit. I was getting restless and decided that I wanted to launch a startup. Soon after that, I told my manager that I planned to leave within the next year. I told her that I needed autonomy and creativity. I wanted a job with greater purpose and world-changing impact.…

How to be more you, at work

Building your career is a journey filled with challenges, excitement, and forks in the road. And journeys are easier with maps. In this column, job experts answer your questions and deliver advice to help you take the next step. Question: I hear there are people who can’t wait to go to work every morning. Tell…