Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Types of employees

For a long time my own definition (everyone's got their own...) of a senior software engineer as distinguished from a non-senior software engineer is that the senior can articulate how what they work on directly impacts business value. Many non-seniors will be perfectly happy to spend their jobs taking items off a queue someone else prioritizes, working on them, and completing them, without ever caring about anything other than the problem in front of them. And if they're really excellent problem solvers, they should definitely be promoted and paid well, but they might not fit my arbitrary definition of 'senior'. Implicit in my definition is a capacity to be independent that this hypothetical problem solver doesn't seem to have, or at least it hasn't manifested itself through desire to control what one works on more directly.

Agile methodologies try to make us all equivalent cogs. So while I don't really like practicing (and many so-called 'agile' groups at work don't either) making sure story titles follow the naming convention of "As a [persona], I want [desire] so that [business value] is achieved" I do see the inherent value of it and the direct focus on what a company exists for: creating value so that customers can be delighted.

This line of thinking made me consider another aspect of the work place which is that some employees can be Typed differently than others, even if they supposedly fill the same titles and on-paper roles. There are probably more types but the two big ones I noticed were Costs and Assets.

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Character flaws aren't static

For me now, green, but orange I can make the justification for used to be like that. Maybe some remnants I can't easily see anymore. But the point is that progress has been made, and will continue to be made. Of course decline is possible. Pot is legal in my state, easy to get. Alcohol too.

One of the fundamental insights is that one isn't all that gifted or smart, even if one were unburdened by things like some of the above. ("If I wasn't so tired all of the time I could do anything!" Nope.) An aid to achieving that insight for me (besides actual burnout) was this quote, and I wasn't even the one being directly addressed:

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