Monday, October 26, 2015

Getting the water out

I saw this image recently and it struck a cord with me. The basic idea is there and being a boat owner I could relate to the metaphor pretty easily. The person who wrote this down forgot to mention that no matter what you do, water will get into your boat.
When water gets into your boat there are some pretty easy ways to get it out, bilge pump, bucket, water gun, etc. When what happens around you gets in and it will, you need a way to get it out. Everyone is different here so figuring out what your bilge pump is will help you get the crap out when it does get in. Ask yourself what it is that you do that helps you feel better after doing it. Assuming you are not Dexter and have emotions, those things that allow you to feel better are those things that can help you bilge the crap that gets in.

Different people recharge differently so knowing yourself is the best way to determine how to get the crap out, get together with friends, read a book, do some gardening and other things is your personal bilge pump.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Code for Good

As a developer, software, you always want to write good code. What is even better is when you can write code for good. Sure, you can write code to solve a problem, speed up a process, improve a users chance of getting the best deal on a new TV or you can write code that helps people do good things in the world. I've been fortunate enough to work for two non-profits in my past that helped people in Colorado. When you write code for good, you better still write good code, it feels different than when you are writing code for a company that benefits that company.

The feeling of doing good is a strong one and in many cases you are willing to make personal sacrifices, monetary, to work for a group that is giving back to the world. Personally, if I could work for an organization that does good I don't really care what the base infrastructure is. It's more about the work and who it benefits than the tools used.

If you can, if you want to, see if you can code for good on your next project.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Are you too experienced?

Even in the software world there is a growing expectation you are an expert in a single area.

What if you are an expert software developer, regardless of the language? When a project lands on your plate you need to ask yourself if you plan on using the language the customer/employer wants you to use or the language you'd like to use. In many cases you are going to use the language that the rest of the team can support in the long run. Still, you'd like to use a lighter, faster, shinier new language to make sure you stay current. However, development skills have become more specialized in recent years and that is actually hurting our career field.

If you've been working with OS's, databases, languages, scripting tools, build tools, etc. etc. for a long time then you may be too experienced for the current crop of companies looking for good people. By too experienced I mean you have yet to specialize your skill sets and forget everything else you've learned. You are a polyglot engineer or a language agnostic developer and if asked you can spin up and be an expert in a given language in short order, pulling from years of experiences, your expertise can shift depending on the project at hand. If this is you, you may be too experienced and finding a good fit in today's world may be more difficult.

Please, if you are a PolyGlot Engineer, Language Agnostic Developer or just a well rounded software type person, don't change.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Rabbit Holes

If you have a lot of little projects going on at once you may drop down a rabbit hole on one and forget to come back up for air. Right now I should be at the grocery store getting fixing for dinner tonight but I went down a hole for one of my projects and am now a little behind. Rabbit holes are not a bad thing and you just need to set yourself a time limit if you drop down one. I give myself only 15 minutes to write this blog and then I have to move on. If you give your rabbit hole a time limit then you can still be productive for the day and feel good about one of your projects.

Time limit you say, yes, time limit yourself and you can get more done than you think. A lot of people tend to work better under a deadline and a time boundary will help you stay focused and productive. Keep notes of where you were on a project, limit yourself to a set time and you can focus more effectively on each project.

Times up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Think business, keep the heart on the side

I'm sorry, we've decided to take a different path and we will not be needing your help.
We felt that you were lacking depth in the areas of work we have at hand.

These are rejections from possible employers that I received in one day. It's also the leverage I'm using to slay the Dragon of Resistance in my life. I told myself that I'd take my personal business to the next level if I wasn't given an offer and here it is. While it hurts the heart to hear a rejection, I know that when I am running my business I'll need to make those same decisions if someone comes to my door for a job. Business can have a heart and good business is being able to listen to your heart and still make a business decision even if it is not popular.

When thinking for the business and or hearing news from a business you need to keep your heart on the side. And sometimes, knowing that there is still heart in a business will help make the difficult or hard decisions more palatable when delivered.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Advice vs Perspective

Looking over some notes I found a quote I heard a few weekends ago. I don't give advice, I give perspective. This is, of course, a quote from someone else and I wish I had that reference. If you know it please share.

I had to determine what this meant to me and how to change or update my methods of communicating before I understood the quote better. This is not a call to arms to just stop giving advice or to only hand out your perspective in a situation. There is always a balance and the challenge is finding what that is for each conversation. Your perspective is how you see a situation or conversation or event and it is only your view of what is happening. Your advice would be how to correct or fix or affect the situation or conversation, which in turn means a lack of active listening on my part. A good conversationalist will be able to mirror back your discussion so they fully understand your point of view. Giving a perspective is very similar in that you have to listen to the person talking or pay attention to the situation to be able to have a perspective. And, your perspective may be entirely wrong. 

Having a perspective has given me the ability to listen and observe, better than before and it helps me with my tendency to always want to fix or problem solve something. Having a perspective is also having good active listening skills and many times listening is what's important.

Friday, October 2, 2015

When do you think?

Better yet, when do you clear your head when a problem comes up? If you have been trying to push through a problem, keep working till you get it right, banging your head against the wall to knock out all the bad ideas... You may need a new method to flush out that solution to your problem. Admittedly this is more related to the people who have 1st world problems and normally sit to do their work. Regardless, when you have a problem and you need to noodle on it pretty hard, you should be doing something completely different than what you are doing now. The subconscious has almost all of the answers you need to solve the problem at hand. Getting the subconscious to do the work for you is what we are talking about here.

When up against a wall of a big problem, sometimes, you need to step away from it and let the smarter part of your brain kick in. Options here are boundless and each person is different. Just like sharpening the axe, taking a break from the current problem can allow your brain to do the work it does best. I've had solutions or developed a better picture to solve a problem in the shower.

Sometimes, stepping away will help you solve the problem faster and better.