A short reflection on how to handle the grind | Courage | Stoicism
Either teach them better if it be in thy power; or if it be not, remember that for this use, to bear with them patiently, was mildness and goodness granted unto thee.
- Quote by Marcus Aurelius
I am a developer by day.
I write code and make things work on computers.
Sometimes, oftentimes, I have to work around old technology that might still be in use, bad architectural decision-making from management, peoples egos, colliding timelines, etc.
I am sure other professions have their own challenges, but since programming can be quite intangible for non-techies, it's sometimes hard to communicate why doing something seemingly simple is very hard, or why you believe hacking and patching together the third web service that is based on tech from the 90s, and needs to be manually deployed for each update is a bad idea.
Therefore, evangelizing for best practices and modern solutions is always important. Making management understand that once you're "finished” building the product they wanted, you are far from being done. Someone has to maintain the code base. Someone needs to be there to bring stuff back up when it breaks for whatever reason. Even the most well-tested app sometimes has weird bugs that are hard to find and fix.
Sometimes developers are heard, rarely understood, and in some outlier cases management actually sees the point you are making. For example, in cleaning up the code after the last VERY URGENT feature that needed to be implemented ASAP – ideally last week – instead of demanding the next thing immediately. Or – pulling you suddenly from the thing you have been building to work on another project.
I need to be there at every possible opportunity to talk about what would be the optimal course of action, and why, plus pointing out trade-offs for alternatives. All that in a very high-level manner, so even 60yo Suzanne from accounting understands what's up.
As a dev, I need to have the patience to beat the same old drum to every changing management personnel. I need to be persistent, and insist on potentially pissing off some manager to gain extra time to make the work easier (aka. bearable). The next dev that works on my code will thank me, or at least future-me will thank past-me to be able to come back without starting to question my own existence over what the hell I implemented 2 months back.
At the same time, I also need to be tolerant and accepting that people who have never written a single line of code in their life, will have an incredibly hard time understanding some of the finer nuances of programming. Especially how those carry over into future project timelines.
The best way to communicate to management, of course, is making it tangible for them.
Translate your contribution into estimated monetary gains, and they will start listening to you as they have never listened to any one before.
If you can moderate yourself to find what is important for another person and frame your work in their perspective, you'll be able to lead them to more wise decisions.
Apply the Stoic virtue of Wisdom to work the person, not the issue.
Apply the Stoic virtue of Temperance (or Moderation) to stay humble and persist in your efforts.
Now we'd love to hear from you.
What situation have you dealt with where you had to persist in teaching people for their own good?
Or maybe you have another great quote regarding wisdom or temperance? Don't hesitate to contact us through the quote submission form 📝
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