For a few years now I’ve been picking pieces, snippets, ideas, and such. I’ve been stuffing them away for potential posts, presentations or simply conversational fodder. Recently a few of them have combined into a concept that I’m considering for a CodeMash Proposal. I’d love to hear thoughts on this. Please let me know if it’s too much, if I have no right, if I’m missing something, or if you’d come see the talk. I need your feedback. To get me your thoughts you can use the twitter, the contact form off the main menu, or the grapevine that got you to this post in the first place. Dealer’s choice.
Living on Easy
The most recent one comes from a conversation about women in tech, Cassandra Faris suggested a read: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is. It’s an old post, but I found the analogy laid out within it applicable. In a followup to that post John Scalzi addresses an important question:
You wrote the article and pointed out the straight white men live life on the lowest difficulty setting. Okay, fine. What do I/we do next?
Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? What I’m doing is pointing out a thing. What you do with that thing is your decision.
That said, here’s what I do: recognize it, and work to make it so the more difficult settings in life becomes closer to the one I get to run through life on — by making those less difficult, mind you, not making mine more so.
As a long time Straight White Male, I’m taking that advice to heart. I can do more to make the more difficult settings less difficult. The talk I’m proposing is an overview of the things that I feel have helped me the most. I think these can be applied on other difficulty settings, but I’d be happy to discuss it if you don’t agree.
But first let’s look at a few other things I will draw from.
Golden Rule 2.0
The Platinum Rule: Treat others how they want to be treated.
Coined by Dr. Milton Bennett, referenced by Kim Scott in Radical Candor and sometimes attributed to Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.
The Paradox of Tolerance (from wikipedia)
The paradox of tolerance was described by Karl Popper in 1945. The paradox states that if a society is tolerant without limit, their ability to be tolerant will eventually be seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Popper came to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.
Various Accumulated Stories
- Being Fired. The risk I took, and why I’ll probably never do it again.
- Realizing that sometimes the least productive thing that I can do is write code.
- How things changed when I learned the importance of feedback.
- The realization that my health insurance depends on my job, but my right to live in the United States does not depend on my job.
- A healthy dose of Empathy.
- Psychological Safety.
- Radical Candor.
- Humor helps.
- Continuous Improvement and TDD helps in real life too.
- Networking is about giving.
- Communicating is about listening.
I will always be working on some of these things. I am not perfect. I have made many mistakes. I’d like to share some of the lessons I have learned in hopes that they can help others make better decisions.
It’s either this or ‘The Joy of Refactoring Legacy Java Code’, a four hour workshop.
I look forward to your thoughts.