Discussion on: From Chef to Programmer: Lessons From The Kitchen

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Jeremy Schuurmans Author

I am really humbled and grateful for the positive response this thing of mine has gotten over the past three months. Based on that response, and without rewriting the whole thing, I do want to clarify some things for the good of the community, and whoever might read this in the future.

By 'work harder than the person next to you', I am not advocating for any kind of unhealthy work environment or lifestyle that involves working long hours, weekends, or giving no room for self-care.

What I am advocating is the idea that programming is a craft in the same way that cooking is, and that being a successful programmer isn't just about your job title or salary, but proficiency at your craft, and the best, if not only way to gain proficiency is to work hard at it.

So by 'work harder than the person next to you', I'm talking about a healthy concept of competition where a person who is striving for mastery of their craft motivates themselves by trying to work harder at it then the person next to them, who, in kitchens, is often better at it.

I am by no means saying that engineering teams should function like professional kitchens. The toxic environment of the kitchen was one of the reasons I decided to move from cooking to programming. But there are principles of success I took with me and find applicable.

But it's what I find applicable. I'm not saying this is the one and only way to be a successful programmer. I'm hoping it helps me and anybody who thinks like me to be better, but there is more than one way to program, more than one way to work, more than one way to be successful.