Sunday, July 12, 2009

3 years old !

I completed 3 years in the software industry last week. Its a milestone though a small one. Its also time look back, reflect and share some of the lessons i have learnt.

1. Quality of Work:
Chances are that you are not happy with your work because it is not challenging, repetitive, and/or there is nothing new to learn. Now frustration sets in, and typically one's productivity reduces. I faced this problem more than once fell in the same trap mentioned above. Yes, i did tell my manager and tried to get better work and eventually did, but that is only solving half of the problem.
It is not always for possible to get a team change/project change due to various reasons like economic recession amongst other things.

Along with crossing swords with your manager another thing one should do, is to try to see if you can change something about the current project/work. Improvise some code/some feature, automate something, add some more features. Look around and surely something can be done. Something can be learnt.
Also, another thing is capability. Even if there is some work/project to which you can be assigned; are you capable enough? How do you prove you are capable? e.g You are doing QA work and some Dev work opens up which interests you. Now what?

The solution to this is obviously, try to take on some more work which is challenging (along with you actual work) that can prove you are capable. Hence when eventually some new work comes along. You are in the radar.

Initially, i failed on both counts and found myself miserably frustrated. Along with frustration, self-doubt set in. I started doubting my capabilities also. Was i ready good enough for a better quality of job?
Luckily for me, my mentors/seniors at work helped me, guided me out of the rut.

Another aspect that comes out here when you hate your work is lack of productivity and interest. When you are in the right frame of mind, ideas flow; you are more creative. When you lack interest/hate you job; this flow stops.
Hence remember, even if your job sucks. Try to be most productive and give your best, while looking around for
other opportunities.
Its tough, but not impossible.

2.Ask for Feedback:
Always talk to your manager and ask for feedback. It helps in evaluating your performance throughout the year.
At my previous employer, i never bothered asking my manager about my feedback even though we had numerous one on one meetings. At the end of the year, i was surprised when i got a not-so-good rating in my review.
I make it a point to ask for feedbacks atleast per quarter. It gives good insight into where i stand and what i need to improve.

3. Communication:
Supplementing the above point; Always have one-on-one meetings with your immediate managers. Let them know of any issues you have. Don't crib that the manager doesn't ask. Its your job to tell them anyways.
Another thing is, letting people know you exist.

Once my manager asked me, how many people did know on this floor. There were atleast 100 ppl on the floor. I knew around a quarter that too because we were in the same team.
Let people know you exist; across teams. Interact with people in common areas like cafeteria, sports room etc. (No, not in the toilet!). This helps in the long run especially when you want to know about openings in other teams .
Also, talk to senior people in your team. You can learn a lot from them. In turn they know that you are active/forthcoming and will get you more involved in important activities.

4. Peer Pressure:
Another important lesson i learnt is handling peer pressure. Too often, we spend time comparing ourselves with others. Do I have better work than others? Is he getting paid more? Does the manager prefer him over me? etc. Don't let yourself be bogged down with all these thoughts.

Remember the competition is always with yourself. It a very tough but important lesson. Try to find your own weaknesses and strengths and find work accordingly.
Note, its good to observe your co-workers and learn their good qualities both work related and general.

5. Gossip: Indulging in gossip especially one which spreads ill-will about your team, manager or the company is harmful in general. Criticizing companies policies etc are ok to some extent. But idle gossip brings the morale of the whole team down. This may not affect people who have been in the line for a while, but affect the freshers who have just joined. Try solving problems instead. Bring it to notice of your seniors and upper-management

Enough of fundas for now. These are the lessons i learnt after failing/falling multiple times. I was lucky enough to get chances to fix them.


Rushikesh said...

Nice blog.

Very well observed, thought & written.

Many people learn these fundas some or the other way in their professional life but most of them often tend to forget it. At least I felt very good after refreshing it.

Keep writing.

Vedang said...

very well written post... i'm sure this is going to prove to be very good advice/fundas for me :)

Nikhil Talpallikar said...

nice one yaar ....many ppl can relate to this ....

btw one more point to add which I learnt in 1 yr .....

"Surprise you manager ....."

and it certainly does not include telling him u r leaving and ur last day in his team is not far .. :P :D