Listener Question: Daw Chih asks About Over Execution
In today's episode, I answer listener question from Daw Chih about over-execution.
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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Sometimes it's easy to feel like we will sabotage ourselves. We think that we will overdo something or that even though despite our best efforts, we are trying to execute on our job, for example. In fact, we're going to over execute or we're going to do something that is unexpected that totally undermines our entire intention from the beginning. That's what we're talking about on today's episode of Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. You are listening to Developer Tea. This is a show that is intended to help you become better as a developer to help you level up in your career. That's what all the shows it's spec are intended to do. Spec.fm. And by the way, if you haven't been over there recently, go and check it out. Spec is growing every single day. We have tons of people who join us in the community. We've had people on our shows, of course, but also in the Slack community, which is now being converted to over to Spectrum. Spectrum is a brand new product created by Bran, Brian and Max Stoyber, an excellent product that fills a lot of the same roles that Slack was filling for us, but in a much better way and in a much more permanent way. So go and check out Spectrum. There's other things on Spectrum beyond just spec, by the way. It's not only a spec product. You can actually create your own content for Spectrum. It's at Spectrum.chat. But let's get into today's discussion and it comes from a question from listener daqi. Daqi wrote in and says this. Thank you so much for the podcast. It has helped me so much throughout the course of my career. Most importantly, you've been giving me a direction in this wild world to go about my own self development as a person. I want to thank you for that. I'm onboarding to a new job in two weeks and I want your suggestions to people on how to prepare for new jobs. I set my mind to be the best version of myself at work, but at the same time, I'm confused with pressure from the probation period, the salary I asked for and so on. I want to enjoy the whole experience, but I also want to prove myself worthy and right for the job and not screw up. I can see myself totally enjoying the job, being social, displaying good work ethic and performing, but with the pressures, I can also see myself being introverted, cracking code just to finish the tasks as soon as possible and in order just to secure the job. They're very different paths caused by this bit of stress in the back of my head. I would like to know how do you see the problem and what is your mindset to a new job? Best regards, Dachie. Dachie, thank you so much for writing in. Let me start out by saying this. These problems that you're facing, the second guessing of your abilities, they're not going to go away necessarily. These are problems that could pop back up in your career at any point. In fact, anyone who's listening to this, you know, even if you've been at your job for a long time, like I have, you know that these feelings can come up at any time. This is maybe a form of impostor syndrome, sort of kind of, but I want to focus on two interesting aspects of this question, Dachie. We're going to go through the first one, then we'll talk about a sponsor, then we're going to go through the second one. The first interesting aspect of this question that I think a lot of people are going to identify with is that the two options, two paths that you're talking about potentially going down, they actually have a lot of overlap, right? You talk about having good work ethic and performing, and you also talk about on the flip side, cracking code to finish tasks as soon as possible. Now, these are not diametrically opposed to ideas, are they? Your work ethic could be poisoned, then your intention to get things done could end up, seems as if it could end up driving the problems that you're kind of in fear of in the first place, right? So these two ends of the spectrum are not actually ends of a spectrum, but rather they are kind of on the same pathway. I want you to ask the question, why? Why are these two end points, these two points in the future, one where you don't really want to end up, and one where you do want to end up, how can they have so much overlap? They aren't necessarily directly diametrically opposed, they're not two ends of the spectrum. The very simple way of putting it is you have control over some things, right? You know, for example, Dachi, that you can walk in that door on the first day of your job, and because you have intention to get to work, you could either end up taking that intention and displaying good work ethic, or you can end up going overboard with that, right? But the thing that's not going to happen, the thing that you're not afraid of is that you're going to walk in the door and suddenly be labeled lazy, or suddenly be labeled, you know, someone who tries to skirt around the work, because you have control over that particular metric, you have control over whether or not you're actually going to sit down and do the work, right? So the things that you have control over, the things that you seem to be relatively competent with, very rarely are we going to feel the same types of fears that we would fail in the areas that we know we're actually going to perform well at. You know you're going to take action in this specific instance, Dachi, you know you're going to take action. Some people listening to this show, you might not have that same ability to know that you're going to take action. Your fear may be that you're going to step into your new job, and you're not going to take enough action that you're actually going to procrastinate. Maybe that's something that you do on a regular basis. You're a procrastinator. You walk into your job and despite your best efforts, despite you attempting to control this habit of procrastination, you end up procrastinating, and that's actually what you're afraid of in your job. This is not what Dachi is afraid of though. The interesting aspect of this that, again, I want you to focus on, is that the things that you're good at and the things that you can control are often not the things that you're going to be afraid of. Now we're going to take a quick sponsor break and then we're going to come back and talk about the other interesting aspect of this question and then I'm going to give you some advice, Dachi, and everyone else who's listening to this, who's dealing with similar fears. Today's episode is sponsored by Linode. Linode provides super fast SSD servers in the cloud. If you work with Linux, and if you're a web developer or really any kind of developer, you probably have worked with Linux in the last couple of minutes. If you work with Linux and you have any kind of service that you need in the cloud, or even if you don't think you do, you certainly will end the future. Go and check out what Linode has to offer. It's a fantastic offer for developers specifically because they have the best memory per dollar deal on the market. They're playing start at $5 a month and you can get $20 worth of credit right now by using the code Developer Tea2017. Head with respect.fm slash Linode to get started today, make sure you use that code at checkout to get the $20 worth of credit on Linode. That's four months by the way if you stick with that entry level tier on Linode. Go and check it out, respect.fm slash Linode. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So we're discussing.ch's question about how to approach a new job. We've already said that the same fears that apply to new jobs, they also can apply in the middle of your job or way on down the road in your career. I don't want you to listen to this show or listen to this specific episode and write it off because we're talking about a new job. All of this stuff is totally applicable to people who are feeling the same kinds of fears, same kinds of concerns and you're already well into your job, your years down the road. This stuff applies to me. I felt very similar feelings to Dachee. So we're going to continue discussing this. We said the first interesting thing about this question and about the specific wording of Dachee's fears is that they're not diametrically opposed. You have two scenarios. One is kind of the good path, the positive path, the desirable path, and then the second scenario is the less than desirable path. The one where Dachee feels like even though he's tried very hard and even though he's put forth what he believes is his best foot, that somehow those efforts were poisoned. This fear is not that he's not going to head in the right direction, but that somehow maybe he'll overshoot the target or something like that. This is a very interesting aspect of fear. The way we experience fear, it's not always going to be the exact opposite of good. Sometimes it is a thwarted version of our desire of outcomes. That's the first interesting thing. The second interesting thing that I think is really important to point out is that the things that we often are fearful of, and this is the things that Dachee is fearful of, the things that we're fearful of are often the things that we cannot control. The reality is that a lot of our efforts and Dachee's efforts in this particular scenario, you're really trying to control things, to point them towards the positive direction. But the fear is that once again, despite those efforts that you will end up experiencing something bad, and this fear is driven by the unknown. When we can control something, when we can predict what's going to happen, when we can affect change ourselves and when we understand the future, when we have a picture, a clearer picture of the future, we tend to fear that future less. There's a little bit of a strange continuum of understanding and fear, as you gain more understanding about your future, or as you gain more control over your future, your fear of that future tends to decrease. A better way of putting this is, as you gain more experience, your fear of a given thing decreases. For example, if I told you, as an able-bodied person, let's assume that the person that I'm talking to is able-bodied. An irrational fear, a fear that has very little reason to exist, would be the fear of the sky falling. This is a very common, especially for people who have been alive longer than five years or so. Every day that you walk outside, and the reality of science and the sky not falling on your head, that reinforces that you don't really need to fear the sky falling on your head. Your experience has reinforced your understanding. You have a relatively decent understanding and ability to predict that the sky won't fall. Now, if you are extremely young, similarly, if you have been walking for most of your life, the next couple of steps that you take are unlikely to be ridden with fear. You're very unlikely to believe that you're going to fall any moment because you have relatively good control over those motor skills. You have relatively experienced control. Those things are on autopilot. The things that we don't have a lot of experience with, we tend to fear. We tend to be able to generate fear for those situations. The difficult thing is, we can't really abandon that fear altogether by trying to force ourselves out of that scenario. In other words, we can't really add experience instantaneously. I'm not going to be able to achieve that to give you the experience necessary to not have a battle, to not have some kind of sense of fear, some kind of intrepidation. But what I can do, and more importantly, what you can do, is simply be brave. What does that mean? Well, it means understanding and recognizing and embodying the fact that you are inexperienced, that there's something out in front of you that there's a level of unknown, and that your only way of getting through that thing is to face the reality that you may fail. Face the reality that some of these pressures, some of these concerns that you have, they are valid. That is a possible future. Failure is a possible outcome that you could possibly step forward and end up stepping off, that you could actually experience something brand new that you didn't expect and you could never have predicted to experience. Now, here's the reality. The fears that we experience are often overstated based on the effect that they will have. In other words, if the outcome at this job is poor, it's very likely that the fear you are experiencing of that poor outcome is greater in terms of its magnitude than it should be. And this is proven. We, as humans, we inflate our losses. We inflate our fear of loss because of a lot of different psychological factors that we don't really need to go into. We've talked about it on the show before that loss of version concept. But understand that that's going to cause you to inflate your fears and not be able to see beyond them. So what I want you to do, Dachie, I want you to embody this idea. It's not blind bravery. I don't want to be an advocate of that. I don't think that's smart. I don't think that people who just walk into dangerous situations that they should be praised for their kind of forced bravery. That's not the point. What I do want you to do is understand that your psychology, your psychological makeup causes you to inflate your own fears. So if you want to kind of D bias or bring down some of that inflation, you can step in and do something that does actually feel scary because here's the reality. The only way you're ever going to actually gain experience is through bravery. This is what I really want everyone who's listening to this episode to take away. The only way you will ever gain experience with something that you've never done, something that is scary is through bravery. In other words, doing something that is scary, that is unknown, that has some kind, some factor that you can't predict and doing that thing anyway. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Dachie. I know that you are going to be experiencing a lot of new things in the upcoming weeks. I wish you the best of luck. And I want you to understand that if something goes south, if something goes wrong, that very likely you're going to have the fortitude that you need to pick yourself back up. Humans have the excellent ability of being resilient. So thank you so much for listening. Thank you for the question, Dachie. Thank you to today's sponsor. Once again, Linode. Linode provides super fast SSD Linux servers in the cloud. Very fast, lots of storage, lots of memory, all for an extremely affordable price. Go and check it out, spec.fm slash Linode. Again, they're going to give you $20 with the credit. If you use the code Developer Tea2017. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. If you're enjoying this episode of Developer Tea, go and check out the other shows on spec.fm and also subscribe and whatever podcasting app you use. Thank you again for listening. Once again, you may have noticed the audio is a little bit different. We're trying out some new formats and some new locations for recording for Developer Tea. And I'm really excited about some upcoming episodes. You don't want to miss out on those. Go and subscribe and whatever podcasting app you use. Thank you so much for listening and until next time,