Jeff Bailey
Written by Jeff Bailey

Learning resources, opinions, and facts about technology.

Learning, Earning, and Growing

Reading Time: 3.7 minutes
Listen to this post

I complain about work sometimes. My wife knows I need a change as my complaints escalate, and so do I. However, I ground myself while reducing complaints by reflecting on reality. If I'm learning, earning, and growing, I ask why I'm complaining. If my complaints are valid and LEG is missing a letter, I consider alternatives. It's a fun little homegrown formula I pulled out of my ass.

I'm a software developer, entrepreneur, and hyper person with low attention. Let's explore these critical components of a healthy professional life.

Learning

During my long career as a software developer, I've experienced peaks & valleys of learning. Early in my career, it was easy to find learning opportunities on the job, but later on, it became more challenging. I often become proficient at a high-demand, high-value activities but get typecast. Like acting, being typecast in programming isn't a good thing. As a programmer, you'll get stuck doing tedious tasks nobody else wants to do.

A buddy of mine was stuck with the role of Sharepoint developer because it's in demand, he knows how to program it, and it's a mysterious maze of bullshit that most dare not navigate.

I typecast myself with ETL work in high demand in the past because it was in high demand, and most people didn't have the patience. I made it enjoyable by coming up with generalized solutions applicable to multiple projects, making delivery speedy and clients happy. It was fun for a while until it wasn't.

Nowadays, I'm knee-deep in an overwhelming amount of learning opportunities. It's good, so I should stop complaining.

Earning

If your bank account balance is increasing, rest easy. If you're taking a loss while cutting costs, ask for a raise or move on.

I struggled with salary negotiations early in my career because I didn't know my worth. It's not easy to quantify your worth as a software developer. Market demand, skill scarcity, and many other factors are part of the equation. However, having confidence in your value is crucial for performing well in interviews and at the negotiation table.

As professionals, we're selling and branding ourselves intentionally or unintentionally. Earning requires knowledge, intelligence, and confidence. It's a magical circle of power, so start spinning it! If our storefront is a mess and we don't believe in our products, we'll go out of business. Let's keep ourselves clean, sharp, and ready for the next challenge.

Growing

My favorite aspect of being a software developer is growing. I'm constantly learning new patterns, concepts, algorithms, and tools that improve my craft. Beyond that, I'm diving deep into leadership and what it means to be a leader.

Through coaching, I learned that achievement is my top fulfillment need. A close second is a collaboration, so I've gravitated toward growing a community from the ground up. While I grow myself, I'll grow others and unlock big wins for everyone. That's my kind of growth!

Knowing what you need to grow and where you want to grow is vital. I highly recommend focusing on self-awareness to identify your crucial fulfillment needs and getting the proper sunlight! 🌱☀️

Conclusion

A buddy of mine has another philosophy that is worth considering. It will help you learn, earn, and grow without overanalyzing.

Ask yourself this question:

How do I feel about my current job?

Answer with:

  1. WTF?
  2. Huh?
  3. ZZZzzz

If you're in the WTF phase, you're probably asking what the fuck is going on, so you're likely learning & growing.

If you're in the Huh? phase, you're still learning and growing but consider your options.

If you're in the ZZZzzz phase, it's time to pack it in and find a new job. It's unlikely you're learning or growing, and if you're not earning, you're heading towards stagnation.

I usually notice it happens in three or five year spans with each phase dividing up in equal parts.

My Buddy

Life is too short to work in an environment that doesn't help you learn, earn, and grow. If we're not living life on your terms, we've lived it on someone else's.

Let's prioritize ourselves, set ourselves up for success, and help everyone learn, earn, and grow!