Today I was part of a Thought Leadership series run by the Microsoft Sydney Reactor along side Mandy Michael and Norman Sanoso.
You can watch the full episode here
One of the themes here was “What was your biggest mistake or learnings in your career”?
My personal learnings chain together a bit but break down into:
Build a Fund Buffer
If you’re in the privileged position to be able to squirrel away funds – do it. Having some financial independence (and this amount is different for everyone) gives you power – power to say YES to opportunities and try new things, especially scary ones and ones that others see the potential in you that you haven’t noticed. It gives you the buffer to give things a go. It also allows you to get out of bad situations and choose your own career path.
Your career is yours to decide what makes you happy
Everyone is different. There is no one correct career, career path or definition of success and happiness. This is what you need to work out and decide on for yourself. Don’t have a 5 year plan – that’s fine. Want to work part time and surf the rest – that’s fine. Want to “just be a developer” forever – that’s fine. Don’t let other people impose what they think is the correct career path on you.
Don’t Judge The Path You Didn’t Walk
As a developer – this is a big lesson. Never judge other peoples code and projects that you weren’t on at the time. When you inherit their project and code you don’t know the constraints, pressures, rules etc that the team at that time was under. I’ve seen some pretty wild stuff over the years and then to find the background around some arbitrary rule or process that had blocked that team and how they had to work around the system can be truely eye-opening. Also – I’ve been on those teams, wondering what someone in 5 years is going to think of us when they see some of the “interesting” solutions we had to problems.