Are You Really An Exception, Or Are You Inflexible?
Can you operate under a different circumstance and best practice when your job changes? Where can you be flexible in your career and where are the exceptions?
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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
We've been told all our lives that we are unique. And this isn't untrue. But we can confuse being unique with being an exception. And more importantly, always being an exception. That's what we're talking about in today's episode of Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. I might go on the show to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. When you think about how you imagine your career going, do you believe that you've had an average path? It's easy to believe that our entry into our careers was unique or our specific skill set has something unique about it and that we are an exception to every rule. This becomes a huge problem when we talk about it on our teams. For example, let's say that you're trying to implement a new practice. Maybe you're adopting agile in your organization or maybe you're trying something new. And as you begin that adoption process, you start to recognize that your organization doesn't really jive. It doesn't really make sense with how the process is prescribing that you do work. And so you make some kind of concession. You say, well, we don't really adopt that particular part of the process. We don't do that specific best practice because we're exceptional. We don't take into account those concerns or we don't have to write tests around that particular part of our code base. We are exceptional. We have a special case. We have a special scenario that exempts us from having to follow the best practice rules or the guidelines. We've defined our own way. Now, this isn't necessarily wrong and it's not necessarily inaccurate. You may be exceptional in some ways and you may have valid reasons for not wanting to adopt certain parts of processes. But it's important to understand that sometimes the things that make you exceptional are things that should be flexible. That's a diplomatic way of saying perhaps those are things that you should change. These best practices they exist for a reason. And it's very likely that you're less exceptional than you think you are. In fact, most people believe that they are not representative of some norm. Very often the things that we find we change when we adhere to best practices tend to be the things that we otherwise would have held on to very tightly. So today's episode is going to be very short because I have a very simple but a very difficult challenge for you. The next time that you try to excuse yourself or excuse your team or excuse a team member from adhering to some best practice, stop and wonder what would we have to change in order to follow the best practice instead. How can we get out of the exceptional state? How can we make ourselves adhere better to something that is not exceptional? Something that has a lot more overlap with the norm. What's interesting is that the things that make us exceptions often are the things that are the most inflexible in our teams and our personal lives. The things that make us exceptional, in other words, we have to treat that particular case very differently. Those things tend to be inflexible. It's also important to recognize that usually when we find something that is inflexible, that can be a liability. Flexibility, both in the literal kind of physical sense and more critically in the metaphorical sense, flexibility kind of translates to the ability to flex in multiple scenarios. In other words, you can operate under many different circumstances. You can change with your environment, with the demands that are on you, with the new processes that you're adopting, with best practices that you're learning. You can change and adapt better if you are flexible. The next time that you hear yourself making excuses or otherwise opting out because of some exceptional definition, try to think in your mind if you're actually exceptional or if instead you're actually inflexible. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. This episode and every other episode of the show can be found at spec.fm. And very importantly, I want to take a moment to ask you, since we don't have a sponsor today, to go and give us a review and rating in iTunes. This is one of the most important things to help Developer Teacontinue to reach new developers like you and it helps give us feedback on what we can do better and make this show more informative and help us achieve that goal of providing clarity, perspective and purpose to you. This episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrellul and until next time, enjoy your tea.