I’ve been thinking about how to write this year in review as the year has ended. Things like do X lessons learned this year, but I couldn’t settle on a number that made sense for me, 12,36, 52, 1 thousand. What are the lessons learned? Right, start from there. Did I learn anything? I want to think I did.
I’ve learned or experienced during ‘22, and they were meaningful to me. Without any order, just the stream of thoughts.
I’ve learned all these areas through failing in multiple ways, from the least visible to the most miserable, leaving people without my side of the bargain.
What’s more interesting to me is being able to look back and understand all the times I took the action I wanted to take. Or when I chose not to take action.
Sometimes need to be corrected to take the right action or the wrong decision. This year, I experienced most of the growing pains I’ve ever experienced, probably due to taking an active stance on my career growth.
I also reminisced about past jobs and experiences, my brain being my brain, which made me realize how much I’ve failed over the years.
The most significant learning was actively looking for opportunities that allowed me to demonstrate my abilities and match the next level’s expectations. Executing at the next level proved beneficial for me, as when new opportunities opened, I was effectively the only choice or closer to being the top choice for running with it.
As I kept pondering, I learned the iterative nature of learning and ingraining lessons into tacit knowledge. Insight has also become one of the main things to know about this past year and next year. I constantly asked every person I talked with an essential question: What learnings are we trying to get back from all this data?
Another axis of this thing was focusing “inwards” from a cultural perspective. I’ve been actively trying to improve the health of some parts of the organization, like trying to provide a “break” whenever people push hard on dates, features, etc. Another type of change was looking out for growth opportunities in a way where we meet people halfway and avoid promoting a single archetype of engineer.
Cultural change was also on my mind as I engaged with several groups and attempted to change behaviors while keeping the group’s identity.
As re-org occurred and new leaders came in to manage our group, identity became lost in “translation.” From my perspective, the group lost identity in the “in-between” layer, which puts more burden on management to “translate” back and forth between layers. This pressure on managers becomes more apparent between borders. Outside the boundaries, they remained insulated from the other extreme on either side of the graph.
As part of this event (re-org) occurring multiple times throughout the year, I also became more aware of how much burden gets imposed on managers and reduced expectations of engineers (ICs) in ownership or management of “things.” And also how much some people want to do IC work, even when doing management or director-level work.
I’m still learning how to work with such people, especially as power dynamics are involved, and higher-level people want a say, and no one wants to say no if the suggestion does not match the current context.
As I noticed the pressure of both groups, if they want a bit of what the other group has, what does it say about the organization?
As we leave 2022 behind, I’ve enjoyed all the failures and experiences gained throughout it. I hope you had a great and safe year as well.
Hoping you have an excellent 2023! Happy coding!
See you in the next issue.