Gethyn Ellis invites us to blog about What is the best piece of Career Advice you ever received for this edition of T-SQL Tuesday (#tsql2sday – Twitter). Head on over to Gethyn’s blog here to see details.
At work one day I handed in my notice to my manager. Nothing too spectacular about that, a very common occurrence around the world. I’d very much enjoyed my time but was looking for a different challenge elsewhere. The position I was moving to wasn’t a particularly significant step “up” in terms of developing, but it was in terms of architecting and implementing.
I worried about this (I was also excited), I would have responsibility for choosing technology and “putting the puzzle pieces together” to bring to life an analytics data platform. I worried about not being able to put the technology together correctly, that the development work would somehow fall short…
I mentioned this to my boss casually one day during my notice period about these concerns and that boss said “It’s not the technology you need to concentrate on, it’s people.”
I didn’t really get this to be honest. Why would I need to concentrate on people when it was my job to work on technology? So I still worried about the technology, after all there were new versions of software to understand, a puzzle to fit together in terms of architecture, and new data processing platforms to understand…
People? Yeah, they’re easy.
It’s People, Not Technology
And guess what…that boss was correct (thank you for the advice!). The technology? Well I had documentation, blogs, videos, community, the vendors themselves, to help me with that. I didn’t have to worry too much about the technology in the end. But people? Well yes… I soon realised that I did indeed have to concentrate on people. You see, people are not really like technology. They have opinions, goals, personalities(!), ways of doing things and ways they want to do things!! I soon saw that my own opinions and ways of doing things didn’t always exactly align with the people around the business I needed to work with.
A New Way of Working
And so it was that I didn’t need to worry too much about the technology, I had to concentrate on collaborating, appeasing, being forthright when it mattered and was relevant, understanding motives, understanding context to people’s action. Trying to understand people!
Understanding people…such a simple statement and one that will continue to challenge us all for many years to come. I’m not perfect, I wish I was better in certain situations when dealing with people…but we’re only human. And as long as I continue to try and keep people as an important part of my work life, I will continue to try and be better.