Talk to me again in 1 year

I have been in my current job for about three months now.   In that time I would say I have accomplished a lot of significant things.  However, regardless of what I have done, I have also heard on 3 or 4 different occasions the phrase “Talk to me again in 1 year” from various co-workers.  As if to say my ability to impact and effect change is only due to my newness. As if all of my previous experience and hard work is somehow going to fade away in just one year working at this company.  As if to say the management is so against doing the right thing, I might as well just roll over now and die.

To that I say, loudly, “Talk to me again when you become a professional software engineer”.

Though I know this sounds angsty, please note that this is definitely not the only place I have heard this.  It seems to be the undocumented motto in most corporate jobs I have worked at.  It also seems the longer a person works in that place, the stronger they feel that way. The even more sad thing is that when you boil it all down… it’s their own fault.

Even if change is difficult, that doesn’t mean you should hide in your cube.  Even if you can only impact the world in small places, that doesn’t mean you should write poor code.  Even if your project is working fine, it doesn’t mean it can’t work better or even that it’s the only thing you can work on.  Even if you want to use a particular technology set, it doesn’t mean its the right one for the job.  The “even if’s” never end.  Even if the company really truly is overlooking you, it’s still your choice to stay.

I don’t write code because I get paid, nor for this company, or for any other reason but because I love it.  I write professional code, because I am passionate about what I do.  Because every morning I have to look at myself in the mirror.  No matter what, no matter where, no matter when, I refuse to stop doing my best.  I study hard, I question everything, and I practice.  Hell, I programmed myself into every promotion I got.

Every time I sit down to write a piece of code I am thinking about how it can be done better.  Every time I look at a process I am trying to improve it.  Every time I look at a system, I try to find it’s pain points… and solve them.

Stop working around the issue.  You can change one set of problems for another, but you can NEVER solve them until you are willing to stand up and do it.  Sometimes what you might find, is that YOU are the issue itself.  The mirror is a hard thing to look in… but the more you do it, the better off you will be.

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