Sometimes my wife listens to me complain about work. We know I need a change as my complaints escalate.

I ground myself by reflecting on reality.

I ask why I’m complaining if I’m learning, earning, and growing. I consider alternatives approaches if my complaints are valid and my LEG needs work.

Learning

During my career, I’ve experienced peaks & valleys of learning.

Early in my career, finding learning opportunities was easy. I’d become proficient at high-demand, high-value activities, but then came typecasting. As for actors, being typecast as a programmer isn’t fun.

Case in point:

A friend was often handed fabulous in-demand Sharepoint developer roles thanks to his willingness to take one for the team. Unfortunately for him, Sharepoint is a mysterious maze of madness that most dare not navigate. This typecasting valley quickly became a pit of despair.

I’ve experienced typecasting myself with ETL. I did my best to spice it up with generalized solutions that accelerated delivery; it was fun until it wasn’t.

Nowadays, I have plentiful learning opportunities, so I’ve stopped complaining.

Beware typecasting, look for new spicy challenges, and learn effectively.

Earning

If your account balance is rising, 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 misunderstood my worth. It difficult to quantify your worth as a software developer. Market demand, skill scarcity, and numerous factors are part of the equation. However, confidence in your value assessment is crucial for interview performance.

As professionals, we’re selling and branding ourselves intentionally or unintentionally. Earning requires knowledge, intelligence, and confidence. That’s a magical circle of power, so start spinning it!

If our storefront is messy and we don’t believe in our products, we’re out of business, so keep it 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 hone my craft. Beyond that, I’m learning what it means to be a leader.

Coaching revealed that achievement is my top fulfillment need. A close second is collaboration, so I’m growing communities while I grow myself to unlock big wins for everyone; that’s my kind of growth!

Knowing what you need to grow is vital. Focus on self-awareness to identify your crucial fulfillment needs and get proper sunlight! 🌱☀️

Conclusion

My buddy has another formula worth considering. It helps you learn, earn, and grow sans analysis paralysis.

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 might 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 toward stagnation.

I notice it happens in three or five year spans, with each phase divided into equal parts.

-– My Buddy Tom

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