This is kind of confession. I need to share my thoughts and feelings with somebody. I don’t know exactly what kind of advice I expect to receive but starting this topic can be my first step in my “career breakthrough”. Or not.
So I want to describe my experience and my personal attitude to it.
I started learning web development at University because I wasn’t satisfied my future as electronic engineer. There were no places for work apart from a military factory with boring repairing old electronics. I wanted to make something useful and meaningful! Also in this period of my life I read a lot of stories about working & traveling. I dreamed a lot about it.
Pretty quickly I found a job as a developer. It wasn’t hard because this company was small and I had particular type of work. I changed some confings for internet traffic system for each new partner. I had free time so I continued learning (php/html/css). After a couple of month I got new task. I had to parse blogs and gather posts into our info portal. It was hard and challenging for me. I used wordpress, some libs for parsing web sites and little php engine for put it together. As you can guess that project wasn’t complete.
Sorry, further I won’t use so much details.
I spent 4 years in that company and did a lot of different things like
parsed internet marketing networks
changed web site’s templates for our site-cards
developed some interfaces for our network with Bootstrap
hired other developers and freelancers
worked with partners and helped them to connect with our network
I had competitive salary in those day.
Last two years I worked more like tech support rather than web developer.
So what am I feeling about it? I was exhausted. My knowledge was scattered. All my expectaitons didn’t come true but it isn’t the main problem. I lost my interest in web development. It maybee sounds like I did a lot but actually all my workflow was awful. I didn’t get any code review. We had a small work team but we didn’t have any communication to each other. There was no sharing and support. And all my four years I was afraid that I will be fired. So I think this can be called bad experience.
But what about my faults? In my opinion I was kind of detached because of my dreams about travelling and freelancing. Our problems with communication is partly my fault. I allways thought that next month I would quit my job and move somewhere. In fact I continue thinking about it. But I’m trying to change my behaviour. Now I think if I’m here not for a long time there is no reason to avoid people. I’m trying not to be cagey. The second fault is fear. Because of lack of response I wasn’t able to estimate my work. Everyday I expected somebody tell me that something doesn’t work. As a result I was afraid to do anything. I allowed my fear controls me and my work. I procrastinated main part of my time and avoided doing something.
Three month ago I got an offer to join new company as a front-end developer with education, mentor and cool team. I have worked there since this February. The reality is different. There is no communication in our team. Everybody looks like high-skilled professional (I feel myself I’m a black sheep). No code review again. To be honest I have learned great devtools since I work there. Some colleagues told me about modern workflow. I have made two projects with React js and it was like a fresh breath for me. I found that I like data visualisation (especially maps and charts with D3.js. It’s amazing!). But I don’t feel really participation. Nobody estimates me and I don’t have any landmarks.
And I feel like I start doing the same mistakes.
My knowledge is messy. I’m not sure I am capable of doing things correct. I am struggling to understand what am I doing wrong? Maybee I realy need to take a break and change the main type of activity? Or I’m just lazy? Should I try to work remotely and beeing alone? Tons of questions are blowing up my mind. I confused in my own thoughts but despite of it I decided to share this. As I said I don’t know exactly what type of response I expect. But sharing it is the huge step for me.
P.S. I’m not a native speaker (huh, like somebody didn’t understand it from first two sentences), so I want to apologize if my story is boring. This is the longest one I wrote in English.
No need to apologize for your English, it’s much better than my … errr … whatever your native tongue is.
It sounds like you need to decide what you want.
Is being in a supportive, interactive department important to you? Then keep looking for that. Those situations do exist. Maybe find some coding teams and work with them to get a feel for that. Work on some projects with others.
If you really want to be a loner, then start taking some freelance jobs and try it out.
I think people also need to decide what they want out of their job. Do you need your job to define who you are and be a part of who you are? Do you need it to contribute to your emotional well being?
Or do you not care and would work a crappy job if the pay was high enough because you could become a fully actualized person in your free time?
There’s no right or wrong answer to that question - it’s different for each person. But if you don’t figure out which type you are, you are going to be miserable. In reality, most people are somewhere in between, but you need to figure out what the balance is.
Sorry I can’t give more concrete advice.
One last thing - as far as your lack of confidence in your abilities, I would remind you that most of us are “faking it” to one extent or another. If you are really concerned, I would talk to your boss. If you are really making mistakes, then your boss is already aware.
Maybe it is normal. Maybe a certain amount of mistakes is expected. Or maybe you need to learn to test better and plan out your algorithms better. Maybe you need to spend some spare time reviewing certain technologies. Coding is a moving target and you need to keep honing your skills.
It’s called work, they have work to do, you have work to do and they probably would not hold your hand or give you affirmative high fives in every little task you do or give you compliments like good job, that’s awesome, here’s a gold star for you. Everybody is busy.
This is not classroom environment. Where they teach you formally.
That said build up friendships with them, and when there’s some camaraderie established, hit them up… say hey can you be so kind to review my code and offer some comments on whether it’s up to par to company standards and what can I do to improve? I’ll buy you lunch or beer after work.
Also, some people don’t like to spoon feed others but they’re willing to help a little,(that’s me btw).
So probably it will be good if you can offer up something for them. If they see you’re an expert in one field, they can see you’re a self starter and then maybe then they’ll be willing to help. You then can then can teach them something in return. It’s a win win for everybody.
What I get from your story is that your biggest struggle is the social connection with your co-workers. If you would like some more insight in how to create better connections with them I recommend reading the book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.
I am only halfway through, but he gives great tips on interaction with others by telling a bunch of stories, so it is never boring. I hope this will help you!
I remember one reviewer wrote of “win friends and influence people”, “all well and good but bending over backwards to ingratiate yourself will see you taken advantage of time and again”.
I’ve been told I’m too nice and sometime I feel that. Other times I know it’s my survival instinct to be greedy.
Good spot about the OP’s struggle to connect, I get that a lot, but I would rather address the addressable technical skills gap (reading manuals, writing code) than read “Emotional Intelligence” and other sociology tests, unless I can ace some sort of exam/qualification by so doing.
Is there anything really important to gain from the book that you can condense for us here?
I just want to start out by saying that this is a hard discussion and it is late over here, so I will come back in the morning to revisit the discussion.
One of the things I know from experience and hear all around is that you learn most from being taught in person and teaching others. As wFern feels that his co-workers have a lot of skills that he doesn’t, I believe both he and his co-workers can benefit from each others experiences. However, requests for pro-longed explanations and sharing of knowledge might hit a brick wall when there is no social connection between these people.
One of the things I learned from the book is that by taking a serious interest in a person, things like code reviews and knowledge sharing occur naturally. Just a simple comment like: " I really admire your work because… . I wish I could write code like that myself." could start the conversation. Other tips given in the book include remembering and using names, smiling sincerely and focusing on the positive instead of the negative. I would hardly call that “bending over backwards”, but rather civilized human interaction. Of course, this is only a tip of the iceberg and I would really recommend reading the book if you want to know more.
I read the HTWFAIP book by Dale Carnegie back when I was in high school in the 80s. It was my dad’s book and I remember I enjoyed reading it and inspired me. The book isn’t about “bending backwards to ingratiate yourself”… Have you read the actual book? If that’s what you got out of the book, well I think you read a fake edition.
It’s about showing genuine interest in other people’s lives, in who they are, in what they do, their background, etc. You do that, and they’ll return the favor in kind, and even help you along.
Thank you all for your replies! I forgot that feeling when other people reply your message. I think this is my first forum topic since 2007
Yeah, when I was writing it I thought sometimes that I can replace “web development” by “work in a bank” for instance and the main problem would be the same.
I think I still cannot understand it really somewhere inside. Forever junior. But break this situation doesn’t mean that I have to stop learning. I have to start taking responsibility for my own actions.
And yes, to make a first step is another good advice.
Thanks wendyn! I’ve heard about this book many times and I think it’s time to read it.
I have to think about your replies more Maybe I should join conversations in other topics. It seems like virtual communication much easier for me)
If you want to be a senior developer, it doesn’t only mean being better or more experienced in programming. It’s not all about programming. It’s also about leadership, and interfacing & communicating with clients, and upper management. The higher you go up the chain, the less work and more meetings and communication you have to do.
If you have trouble communicating with other people (and therefore, can’t lead a team) well… that’s a big problem for a senior leader/programmer dont you think?
You’re going to get stuck where you are right now. Good programmer, but can’t lead a team?.. we’ll assign and leave him as junior programmer.
We had a word for sociology and psychology students when I was studying engineering- burger flippers!
So they advocate forcing a “sincere smile”, Personally I find a smile too similar to a snarl to be conscious of its purpose, unless brief and deducible, but training and manipulation of this presentation defeats its purpose in my eyes.
Okay, I doubt very much that was verbatim from the book. Simple flattery, oldest trick in the book.
Since I’ve been picked up twice on my language, “bending over backwards” I will take issue with yours . “positive instead of negative”. On what scale is this measured? This is Orwellian destruction of language you might as well just say “be nice”.
Taking an interest in people is just good management. Push their buttons. No one ever took an interest in me and I would not go out of my way to take an interest in anyone else. But I have never worked in teams in any meaningful sense- too selfish I suppose to consider any interaction anything but bending over backwards to ingratiate- sorry I must be a robot
Trouble is, I have no life outside of writing code. I also find volunteering personal information detrimental to my interests when pressed, I have very little outside of the job in hand, other people can shoot the breeze until the cows come home yapping about their genius children, friends in low places and other things I have no interest in. But I’ve only ever worked jobs I have had no interest in, and nor has anyone else.
Do you mean software geeks are expected to have a life outside of work?
I can see that you’re going through the FCC challenges, which is the best thing for you, I think. Keep that up! Also, think about what questions you have regarding workflow and ask them here on the forums or search Google/DuckDuckGo/Whatever for workflow tips. There are a lot of people on YouTube who like to share their personal setups, tips, and strategies. If you feel language is a barrier (your English is fine), ask on the forums and I’m sure someone here will be able to get you links or information.
You already have professional experience, and I’m certain that after you gain some confidence, you’ll be able to get a job in an environment that’s better suited to your personality.
I hope that FCC challenges will make my knowledge more structured. Actually I like how this challenges are structured (making portfolio, preparing to interview, etc.).
Thank you for your support!
Today I woke up with two ideas for app. It’s a good feeling to want something. Last years I just wanted to complete my work tasks and take a rest. I don’t know exactly how it works but I feel better after starting this topic. My future still scares me but I feel enough strength to cope with it.
Spreading thin (as the described situation looks from my subjective perspective which may be wrong) is what some employers (especially if a company is relatively small) may quite often want from employees. Strong character (development of which is employees sole obligation) and definitive job description (which employee should demand from employer to have for own position, and it must be complied with) are one of the best allies against spreading thin. But, like you mentioned, it’s your past, moving forward…
Is education and mentoring documented in your agreement with the employer? If it is, demand it in a polite manner if you need it. If it is not, be grateful for the lesson and take notice for future to have everything negotiated about to be documented and signed by both parties. It’s business after all.
Maybe it is not bad at all, on the contrary it’s good no one is estimating you. It’s a great opportunity to develop self-esteem or self-worth as a professional. You should not grow above anyone or anything but your past self. If others estimate you, it’s their subjective opinion (it does not matter whether it is positive or negative), and it may hinder your ability to estimate yourself correctly (in fact each instance of esteem that comes from outside is a challenge for one’s ability to estimate oneself correctly). Esteem from outside should be taken strictly neutrally always. How do you estimate yourself - this is what’s really important, but it is essential to not lie to oneself.
I may be totally wrong, excuse me in advance, but it reads like a result of traumatic experience.
Always remember, you are not the result of your actions, particularly concerning programming - you are not your code, and try reading articles like this
Yes, it will.
By the way, it has been a month since your previous post. What’s the current situation?
The thing I kept thinking while reading your story was that you are not employed in environments that are healthy to you, and that by your description seem to not value helping others – I think you should find somewhere you feel comfortable asking questions and pushing yourself to grow. Of course, I’m only hearing part of the story.
But to provide some comparison, I got hired on as a support agent at a small software company without much experience in the internet-realm, but I was (and am) eager to continue learning. My coworkers have always stated that the only way to learn is to ask questions, and to not be afraid to do so – that not asking questions is detrimental to getting your work done. They encourage using each other for making the group stronger, and for everyone to continue learning; that’s the best way to get the most out of everyone, and this has been an environment where I’ve gained what feels like a huge amount of knowledge about software and the internet in a relatively short period of time.
That said, I understand how it can be tough to ask questions, especially if you feel out of place. That’s something I can definitely relate to – I work alongside many very smart engineers, and oftentimes my own lack of knowledge in something as simple as the ‘proper’ vocabulary to use can be prohibitive to my asking questions.
I think the most important thing though is to find people who you feel safe asking for help, and to keep working towards a work-environment that encourages that.