I enjoyed this piece by Scott Young. The distinction he draws between knowledge and meta-knowledge is a great framing device. ( link )

Doing well in your career requires two crucial factors: first, you need to be able to do your work well. This requires knowledge. If you’re a programmer, you need to master the languages you work with. If you’re an entrepreneur you need to know your market and how to serve them. If you’re a lawyer, you need to have a rich knowledge of the law.

However, this is only the first factor. The second part is that you need to have meta-knowledge.

Meta-knowledge is knowledge not on how to do your job, but knowledge about how your career works. That means you need to know which skills are the ones to invest in and which ones you should ignore. You need to know how to be able to demonstrate your skills to other people and the types of signals which carry weight in moving you ahead.

This second factor is often invisible and many people can go their entire careers without getting a very good picture of how people succeed beyond the station they find themselves in. One of our students, Chris L., didn’t even realize that he was missing it, “I was frustrated specifically because I thought I was doing a good job, and I see people who I don’t think are doing a good job and they’re getting ahead of me. I work hard, but nothing happens.”