It's Your Life
September 11, 2020
"I am not in this world to live up to your expectations
and you are not in this world to live up to mine"
"The Pragmatic Programmer" by David Thomas and Andrew Hunt was the best technical book I ever read in my life. I received it as a Christmas gift from my supervisor. This book caught me in the first chapter and I ended up spending my entire holiday vacation reading it page after page and could not stop. That was the book I could hardly put down. I was in a fancy spa hotel with a huge water park, heated outdoor pool, and many cool entertaiment activities, but my face displayed such level of excitement that a number of people stopped and asked for the name of the book.
Since then I was re-reading some chapters over and over again finding a valuable insight to a bigger context of various situations I've been at work. Yes, this book is truly about me and chances are, if you are reading my blog, this book is about you too.
As software developers we have skills that are in high demand, paid well and allow for a lot of flexibilities like working from literally anywhere. Yet there are many devs that are not fully happy with what they have and do nothing to make things better. The quote below discusses this at the right angle - the angle of taking a responsibility for own life.
It is your life. You own it. You run it. You create it.
Many developers we talk to are frustrated. Their concerns are varied. Some feel they're stagnating in their job, others that technology has passed them by. Folks feel they are under appreciated, or underpaid, or that their teams are toxic. Maybe they want to move to Asia, or Europe, or work from home.
And the answer we give is always the same.
"Why can't you change it?"
Software development must appear close to the top of any list of careers where you have control. Our skills are in demand, our knowledge crosses geographic boundaries, we can work remotely. We're paid well. We really can do just about anything we want.
But, for some reason, developers seem to resist change. They hunker down, and hope things will get better. They look on, passively, as their skills become dated and complain that their companies don't train them. They look at ads for exotic locations on the bus, then step off into the chilling rain and trudge into work.
So here's the most important tip in the book.You Have Agency
Does your work environment suck? Is your job boring? Try to fix it. But don't try forever. As Nartin Fowler says, "you can change your organization or change your organization."(Source)
If technology seems to be passing you by, make time (in your own time) to study new stuff that looks interesting. You're investing in yourself, so doing it while your're off the clock is only reasonable.
Want to work remotely? Have you asked? If they say no, then find someone who says yes.
This industry gives you a remarkable set of opportunities. Be proactive, and take them.
Thomas, D., Hunt, A. (2020). The Pragmatic Programmer
All I can add is that we, developers, have all resources to reach the full potential and ultimate happiness. All it takes just to get responsible for own life.