A little while ago an ex-Google employee wrote about the challenges he experienced while trying to get promoted, and his subsequent departure from the company.
While the article was more focused on individuation and existentialism, he brought up an interesting point: why is it so challenging to be recognised for our efforts in the modern workplace?
Well, usually the work that provides recognition is that which aligns with the business objectives.
That seems like a straightforward concept, but as we often decide for ourselves whether a particular effort has merit, we may find ourselves lead astray from the path of providing genuine business value.
It’s worth considering a different approach if you’re finding that your work is going unseen, and your previous efforts weren’t considered impactful.
Amazon's process is to "write the press release first", which has enormous merit in proving out and validating your interest in a particular area, before committing to the work.
In a similar vein, Gayle Laakmann McDowell's Cracking the Coding Interview will tell you to work on projects with visibility, which means you have pre-validated work items on which to focus.
There's a simple thread of thought among these ideas, and it's that in order to be successful we need to be both better communicators, and better listeners. These "soft skills" are often overlooked, and have far more value than learning a new framework or language.
So, if you find yourself struggling to move up the ladder due to your coding efforts, try and reconsider your approach.
You may find it's not your skill that's at fault, but only your way of communicating or choosing these efforts.
This was originally published on my blog.