First post in a long time and it’s an echo. How useless! Still, I absolutely love this quote. An article posted on Reddit about how to hire managers, it’s an interesting article and definitely worth a read. Of course, the part I love is about programmer psychology.
Psychologists have studied how people have a higher opinion of their own abilities than others do. When they do something well, they tend to attribute it to an inherent trait. “I figured out how to write this tricky bit of code; I’m smart”. When they do something wrong, they tend to think it’s a fleeting condition “I forgot to check in that file. Silly me, I’ll remember next time.” Bringing their perception in line with reality will deal them an emotional blow. This is especially true of those whose self-worth is wrapped up in their programming ability, something that’s pretty common among those driven to become the best programmers. Don’t be surprised if they spend the rest of the afternoon staring at their screen in shock, feeling as if all their hard work and cleverness is unappreciated — even if you spent most of the review pointing it out and praising it.
This hit home hard, and I’m sure it hits close to home for others. I often think about the mistakes that I make, I try and take some time to reflect on them in order to learn from them. However, I am guilty of touting my triumphs and downplaying my failings. We’re only human right? Now thanks to this article, and it is the articles fault… ;-) Any time I make a mistake I’m going to feel compelled to analyze whether I should knock myself down a peg for it, or attribute it to human nature. I’d much rather accept that we all make mistakes and attempt to learn from it.
I do worry a lot about how others perceive my work. I’m sure that each and every defect I produce has at least some bearing on their opinion of me, even if I’m only loosely connected to said defect. I have yet to decide whether all of this stems from a lack of confidence or just a healthy sense of reality. I’ll go with the latter. 🙂