When You’re Truly Good at Your Job, You Want to Hear the Ways You Suck at It

One of the most underrated ways to measure your professional success

Leah Fessler
Forge
Published in
4 min readJul 2, 2019

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Credit: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

AAbout six months ago, I quit a job I was very good at. I was a staff writer at a digital publication, and was in line for a promotion. Lots of people told me that leaving was a bad idea. Mostly, I agreed with them. But I had an itch I needed to scratch, and frankly, I was bored. I left my job, and after a ton of hustling, ended up working for an early-stage venture capital fund based in San Francisco.

It turns out venture capital is not easy. And it was a rude awakening to realize that I was not particularly good at it — at least, not yet.

Part of it was learning a new culture. My advisor is a techy, Patagonia-loving, white man, and I’m a feminist Brooklynite who spends much of her time critiquing white men in Patagonia vests. Unlike journalism, where I saw success writing about my opinions and experiences, in VC, my opinions are often viewed as invalid, or unsubstantiated. When I filed investment reports that I thought were great, I’d get a “meh” in response.

He’s just not listening to me, I’d think. His loss.

I knew, of course, that this was not the most mature response. But what was wrong with it…

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Leah Fessler
Forge

Investor at NextView Ventures. Journalist. Thinking about gender, equality, and pugs. Formerly at Chief, Quartz, Slow, Bridgewater Associates, Middlebury.