As I've now worked across a variety of companies, of all sizes, I have been exposed to awesome coworkers/managers, as well as some not so awesome ones.
It has also been reinforced to me just how important the people you work with are to your personal and professional success.
At work, your team is most everything. You are going to be learning/spending the most time with them - knowing what I know now, it is foolish to not optimize for finding the best people/team to work with.
As I'm faced with figuring out what the next thing I should be doing with my time, I am again reminded to optimize for these "best people." The question, however, is where do I find this team to work with? Who are they and how can I tell if they are really good?
I do not think there is a guaranteed, clear, and prescriptive way to go about finding awesome people to work with. The only metric that I have found to be consistent among the best people is that they care - and the fact that they care is quite evident.
People who care will do the little things early on - very early on. During interview phone calls, they will ask about you and what you think. They have a genuine caring for you, what they do, and why they are doing what they doing.
They are the best because everyone who works with them knows it and, you can ask anyone at the company, they know who the best people are.
They are humble enough to take irrational chances on kids, like me, and they know that doing so is a risk, but they do it anyways.
Find the people who take chances on you because they want to, not because they have to.
These big bets are rare. Most people glaze over them.
But the ones who care, the really amazing people, they will give you a chance. You just have to be sure to make it count.