Another exciting week. My friend Camy Bhandari have kicked off a new project - the Tech Engineering Lounge. It's a podcast and YouTube series exploring engineering culture.
Please check it out - if you like these newsletters, you'll probably enjoy it.
Check it out on YouTube (audio only version to come).
On with the newsletter!
🔁 If you could get a do-over - what would you do?
If you've watched the latest episode on the channel above, you'll have seen Camy ask the question - what would we do if we had a 'career do over'?
I've thought about it a bit since then. I've been in software for almost twenty years. If I could do my career over, what would I do differently? Any regrets?
Well, yes. Kind of. Here are some things:
I regret not knowing how to quit.
I stayed at my first 'industry' job for seven years. One of my former colleagues recently asked me why I stayed so long (most people, including her, left after three).
The honest answer was, I didn't know how to quit my job.
I was too scared to let my manager and my team down, so I stayed, even though I didn't like it, and even though there were better opportunities for me.
Quitting a job can be scary and hard, and I think it's actually a skill that needs learning - it can be done well. I wish I'd learned this, and practised it, sooner.
I regret being a know-it-all.
This might sound like I'm being hard on myself, but hear me out. Because I've done this more than once. When joining a new organisation, it's really easy to see flaws. I've found myself in this position where I've identified a lot of problems, and told my new team they're doing it wrong, and we need to fix it.
What I failed to acknowledge was that - the way I'm used to doing things isn't necessarily the "right way". That, and a lot of the problems I identified - they knew about already. By pointing it out, I was being obnoxious. It burned some bridges - that I fortunately managed to repair over time.
The hard lesson for me was that when starting a new job, take time to absorb the culture, and listen to what the people around me are saying (don't tell them how it should be).
I regret not taking the advice of others.
Many (many) people over the years have encouraged me to take on a leadership role. I largely ignored that advice, because, I didn't think that would be one of my strengths (sometimes, I still don't).
Eventually, I've ended up in that leadership role anyway, thanks to some good timing and a push from a couple of people. I've got a lot to learn, but I think I'm doing OK. (I know some of my team read this email, feel free to reply and tell me otherwise).
What I've learned is, that others can often see strengths I can't see myself - and I should listen, instead of dismissing it.
Regrets are a funny thing. In some ways, I don't regret these things at all, because they're valuable learning experiences for me. At the same time, they're things I would have done differently, had I known what I know now.
What about you? If you had a career do-over - what would you do?
🖥 Neat stuff from around the internet
- One for my fellow Manchester United fans - this blog from Ian Miell draws on some leadership lessons from Sir Alex Ferguson.
- Sandro Volpicella explains the difference between Amazon's SQS and Amazon's SNS.
- I'm onboarding someone next week (I'm quite excited about it) and I found this guide to onboarding from leadership garden a good read.
- Layoffs in tech companies have been in the news a lot. Angela Riggs explores the feelings of being laid off - this is a short but important read, especially if you've faced / are facing this.
- One of my favourite content creators interviews another of my favourite content creators. Lenny Rachitsky and Julie Zhuo. Worth an hour of your time!
- I crossed paths with ISO 29119 this week. Which meant I went back and watched this talk from James Christie from 2014. Points still stand today. (I found the video thanks to this blog from Dr. Lee Hawkins, thanks Lee!).
- Some of the top games (and check out the source code) from GameDev.js jam 2022
- Been learning React? Try some React challenges!
🎟️ Events coming up
TestBash World (23-24 June, everywhere!)
The 24 hour testing conference is upon us again! There are watch parties all around the world, find and join one if there's one in your area, or, join from home! It's free, there's a ton of good stuff, why would you not?
(I'm heading up to Auckland for it!)
Data for Good (28 June, Auckland)
Tech for Good NZ presents Data for Good - how to use data to make a positive impact on our world.
NZ Testing Conference (1 July, Wellington)
And of course, NZ Testing Conference is just around the corner. I hope to see you there!