In December, I made a blog post about being happy. A anonymous (of course) commenter said:
Hey Rob. 5 months? Are you really this shortsighted? It’s like watching a kid say he’ll NEVER get tired of THIS toy. Frankly, if you don’t get tired of it you stopped growing. Take it as a good learning experience for the time when you forge your own destiny, but if you aren’t back to being a grumpy asshole in 6 months I’ll eat my hat. Not that I wear hats.
So 6 months (and a released expansion) later, have things changed? No, not one bit. In fact, late-night-drunk-rants have grown even more positive all around. Few of the bitch-sessions I’ve been used to in my career. It is an unfamiliar feeling. But addictive.
So why am I not back to being a ‘grumpy asshole’? Because there’s nothing to be grumpy about. There’s plenty wrong, but we’re moving at a steady pace in the right direction. And everyone is on board that it’s the right direction. No “we’ve decided this is the right direction so STFU and do what you’re told”. This happens because the talented people that complain loudly have several constructive outlets (I put myself in that group, at the risk of sounding egotistical).
One of the most exciting are communities of practice. Read the Wikipedia article if you like, but really they are a company-sanctioned forum for people with axes to grind to argue. Then we figure out what we want to do, and how to do it. And then we do it on some 15% time for skunkworks projects we’re able to reserve. Being able to talk about our common problems, across teams and responsibilities- we have everyone from tech artists to server programmers to the CTO there- is a refreshing experience.
(If you’re at a large company with lots of programmers who all aren’t on the same team, I’d highly suggest forming your own communities of practice).
The people who get shit done and can convince you of the way forward are given the responsibility to get more shit done. It’s nice. I think it has to do with the open source and python mentality.