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Cover image for Strive to be known for how you made people feel and not what you've done

Strive to be known for how you made people feel and not what you've done

daveskull81 profile image dAVE Inden Updated on ・3 min read

Cover image by Christal Yuen on Unsplash

I recently left my job to focus on my education. Working as a Developer Advocate I could see the gaps in my knowledge about code that came from teaching myself the last few years and how it could hold me back a little. After a lot of discussion, both with myself and my wife, I made the scary decision to go back to school. Specifically, I am doing a coding bootcamp. I want to get a focused education to build up my software development skills and fill in the gaps of my knowledge while also having the ability to be a part of my family. I did some research on a few and landed on Lambda School. At the time of this writing I just finished my third week. I am really enjoying it and having the opportunity and privilege to go back to school is awesome. Once I am done I may go back into a Developer Advocate role or work to get a position somewhere as a Software Developer. I still have the itch and desire to be a Software Developer specifically. Being a Developer Advocate was something I really liked and I will probably come back to it after having some time as a developer under my belt. With more experience I can be of better service to people in a role like that. Ultimately, I like my work to be something where I can make a positive impact on people's lives. Perhaps I will go into teaching people how to code or something similar. For now, I just want to be part of building something.

After I gave my notice to my manager and told a few other folks who needed to know word of my departure began to get around the company. I had folks coming up to me in person or reaching out via chat or email to tell me they heard I was leaving and asking if it was true. Each one of them told me how happy they were for me to be making the choice of going back to school, but that they were sad for me to be leaving. They took the moment to let me know how much they appreciated me and my positive attitude at work or gave some example of how I made them feel happy with the things I did. Some people noted they learned a lot from me while others just thought I was awesome to be around. It was very humbling and quite special to hear these things.

This also sparked some reflection of my own and I began to wonder to myself if anyone would bring up something I did, like a specific action of some kind rather than just general sentiments. I began to question what I had actually accomplished in the years I spent at the company if no one was bringing anything up that I had done. Didn't they remember anything I did to help our customers and fellow employees? Then as I thought about it more I realized that people were taking their time to tell me how I made them feel and it was important to them that I knew I made them happy in some way. My attitude and the way I carried myself brought them a small bit of joy in their life. That is a greater impact on someone than any specific action I could have done.

I plan to take this forward with me in my career. Wherever I end up after completing Lambda School I want to make sure it is a place where I can positively impact people, both the companies customers and especially my fellow employees. I will strive to be someone who brings a positive attitude to the team and helps make people feel good about their work. If you are starting out in your career or even if you have been working somewhere for awhile, I would challenge you to do the same. It's great that we can make big sales or solve tough technical issues and those things deserve to be celebrated, but only in the moment. When it comes time to look back on what you have accomplished strive to be someone that people will remember as a person who built people up and made their lives better.

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dAVE Inden

@daveskull81

Maker of things at Dancing Vikings | Drinker of coffee

Discussion

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I respect your values but I think I am sort of the opposite of this.

Here me out though. In person, I think I am quite affable. In fact, a lot of people regularly tell me how much they like me and like working with me. I don't really know why. I guess I am nice, even though I am oft gloomy. And I am bubbly and pepper. I thank people often. I believe in our company's mission, and I am always trying to motivate people. Being warm and kind is a natural thing for me. Its kind of a default and trivially easy.

But being a good programmer and data scientist takes constant effort and training. This is a hard field to develop in. I have to solve mathematic, probabailisitic, algorithmic, and software engineering challenges. And do so within constraints and on a limited time frame. I often doubt myself and worry about not making a good enough product, but somehow do in the end.

I feel like, if I left, people would give me praise. But would they miss my actual work? Would they feel as though I actually contributed and important to the development of the company. I would like to think so but I am not confident about this. Ergo, its what I work on the most.

But you know das just me doe. I am quite envious of super confident developers that know their value. Maybe , if I get there, my feelings will change.

 

Thanks for sharing! I think we are more aligned actually. I by no means consider myself a super confident developer. Even in the support work I was doing I still had to work hard to get results. I have the same experience with people generally liking to work with me or be around me without my having to try hard or really at all. It’s pretty easy for me to be nice and respectful to people. I worked really hard at lots of other more technical things. This is what got me thinking about this idea in the first place. When I was leaving I expected people to call out specific work I did, but instead I got notes on how I made people feel happy. At first, it was weird, but I eventually came to see it was a much bigger impact that I had made than any specific work I could have done.