What got you here won't get you there

April 01, 2019

Effectiveness is something that has been on my mind as of lately mostly because I’ve started to feel ineffective at work, related to what I was doing previously.

I’ve been trying to understand why I have this feeling. I’ve been reading a few books about work effectiveness and other (inter)related topics.

There is a level of difficulty in switching job tracks and getting promoted. In my mind, I was going to be doing the same things plus new responsibilities.

After months of trying to understand what is going on; I realized that what I need is to let go of past practices and responsibilities. Because, in the end, other people can be more effective in such tasks.

The tasks that would make use of my time more effective have changed. As such, I readjusted my expectations in regards to what I’m supposed to be investing my time.

I think that as part of going into staff level employee, I have to help my coworkers and peers with understanding and “clearing the path” to make them more effective in their work.

Coding is still part of my day to day activities, but I no longer can “hide” behind headphones and my computer screen. Not being able to “hide” is one of the things that had me feeling ineffective. In reality, I have to readjust my view of the role.

I’ve been reading a book called “Ego is the enemy” and had this quote in it:

As you become successful in your own field, your responsibilities begin to change. Days become less and less about doing and more and more about making decisions. … this transition requires reevaluating and updating your identity. It requires a certain humility to put aside some of the more enjoyable or satisfying parts of your previous job. It means accepting that others might be more qualified or specialized in areas in which you considered yourself competent—or at least their time is better spent on them than yours.

When I first switched my career track, I thought that I would be doing most or “all” of the things. Also, while that is humanly impossible, I tried and got myself tired to the point that I didn’t want to leave my bed during weekends.

After I let that feeling sink in, and started looking into answers. I started reading “Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More,” and while I just read the first chapter. It talked about reducing the scope and obsess over the smaller scope.

I’ve been trying to do that, and from time to time I get that feeling that I should be doing something else. However, in the end, my time is better used by making other people’s lives easier.

In the end, in my path for career growth (and hopefully another promotion), personal growth and in general learning about how to better employ my time, there needs to exists a moment where you pause and ask yourself, is this the best use of my time? Can I delegate some of this? Is someone better prepared to do this?

That way you can focus on what you’re growing into, what you’re expected to do, and especially to not feel ineffective!

Happy coding!

Oscar Funes

I help people solve problems, and build software.
Software architect that enjoys reading, retrospecting and asking questions!