“The reward for good work, is more work.” – Justin Gregory
It’s a phrase that I hear rather often, working with Justin, as we plow through yet another set of requirements, another project, another bug, another … the list is never-ending, and neither is the work. And that’s a good thing.
Dreading The Job
Far too often in my career, I have found that I was dreading the work that I was tasked with. It was tedious, error prone, difficult, not within my area of specialty / expertise, or whatever excuse I had. And far too often in my career, I found that as soon as I had rushed through the work, verified that it was correct and pushed the results out to where they needed to be, I was given more of that work. And more. And more.
And there was good reason for that.
It’s not that I was better at doing the work than others. It’s that I typically did good work, even when the work was not something I wanted to do. Sure, there were (are) exceptions to this. But in general, my sense of professionalism drives me to put at least a moderate amount of effort and quality in to what I produce.
I’m certainly not alone in my efforts and my ability to get things done. There are countless people in any given job that will do good work – and those are typically the people that rise through the ranks, becoming team leads, projects leads, etc.
A Growing Reputation
Becoming a leader in a team or on a project is more than just doing good work, even if that is a large part of it. There’s a very human side of software development that is important to understand, as well. But the good work that you do is often one of the first things that others look for, when deciding who they want to follow or pay attention to.
For me, my work and my reputation are tied together. I’m not known for social graces, being easy to work with, or having the best bed-side manner when helping others. But I am known for quality work, for pushing others to do better, and for clearing a path on which others can travel. Sometimes my technical ability makes up for my lack of empathy. Other times, though, I have to work hard to make sure I’m not talking down to people or saying things that won’t be understood correctly, outside of my head.
It’s not easy, but every time I do something right – with technology, or with other people – my reputation grows a little. I gain new followers, I get another person interested in what I’m doing, I make a new friend maybe – at least, when I do something nice for others.
To Build-A-Better Me
In spite of myself, I work hard to build a better, more human side of me every day. It takes work, and I constantly have to fight my “well, actually…” tendencies. But somehow, I manage to not make an ass out of myself all the time. Sometimes, I even do something right when it comes to working with others and managing teams.
And when that happens… when I do show that if I work at it, I can understand other people’s perspectives and provide some amount of insight and even leadership… when I do good work… well, there’s one thing that good work always leads to.