New Year, New Me

When I started here, I was secretly concerned. How could I ever hope to match my new colleagues’ motivation, let alone their technical skill? How could I find the time to mess with projects outside of work, and the passion to care about a job, as they did, beyond the 9 to 6 daily grind? I’ve always been enthusiastic and optimistic, but mostly that was just to keep me afloat in a sea of morose office robots. Even the best of the companies I’ve worked with in the past have had their share.

A month later, I’m a very different developer to the one I used to be; a neurotic bundle of wishes staring in futile desperation at my screen, smile fixed rigid in hope of some joy. Here are the important things I’ve learnt over the last month which may help those of you still stuck to survive the robot sea.

  • Blame cultures are quagmires, trapping everything that comes into them and drowning even the best of developers. If there’s one thing that I could convince every company in the world to get rid of, this would be it.
  • It’s worth keeping motivation and enthusiasm up, even on the darkest of projects. It keeps that all-important “passion for technology” alive, and gives you hope for the future. Without it, you become a morose office robot. With it, you can infect other people. This in retrospect, as motivation is no longer a problem.
  • It’s worth asking about things you don’t understand. Your company hired you for a reason; they don’t necessarily expect you to be an expert on day one. Pretending you’re an expert and floundering through stuff isn’t as much fun as persuading people to teach you New Things. If you’re lucky enough to be an expert, please – teach the rest of us New Things.
  • There’s more than one Right Way. Well, maybe that’s not true, but since even the experts debate over which is the Right Way, it’s worth getting to know a few of them. Be open to new ideas.
  • Given fertile ground and some seeds on the wind, things will grow. Similarly, given the right environment, passion for work just happens. You don’t need to find time. Let it find you.
  • Having said that… substituting coffee and sugar for sleep may be amusing in the short-term, but eventually you need to step away from the screen.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New Year, New Me

  1. entropyjim says:

    Blame cultures are quagmires, trapping everything that comes into them and drowning even the best of developers. If there’s one thing that I could convince every company in the world to get rid of, this would be it.

    Blame cultures happen because of fear. Fear that, if shown to be responsible, you’ll be shown the door. I’ve worked with several people who used to keep box files full of paper proving that nothing was their fault. I’ve always found that fixing a problem is better than finding who’s fault it is. For everyone. Even so, recurrent problems need to be identified and the causes removed, whether it’s a person or a process causing them. Reeducation may be the solution in a person’s case.

    It’s worth asking about things you don’t understand. Your company hired you for a reason; they don’t necessarily expect you to be an expert on day one. Pretending you’re an expert and floundering through stuff isn’t as much fun as persuading people to teach you New Things. If you’re lucky enough to be an expert, please – teach the rest of us New Things.

    I will always respect someone who has the balls to stand up and say “I don’t know that” more than someone who will meander around until a project fails. That said, too many people are too quick to say “I don’t know” when a search on $SEARCH_ENGINE will reveal the answer. Too many people don’t know how to learn these days.

    Many hugs.

  2. anonymous says:

    Knowing what you don’t know is important. Admitting it is equally important. But knowing how to find out tops it all.

    In job interviews, I’m the guy who has to ask technical questions. Some of the ones I ask are pretty esoteric at times. If the candidate doesn’t know the answer of the top of their head, then I ask them how they would find the answer. If they do know it, I go for something trickier – of course, I’m limited in what _I_ know off the top of my head. 🙂

  3. sirenian says:

    Cool. I’ve gone a long way in a few interviews just by being able to say, “First of all, I type XXXXX into Google…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s