Being Nicer to People in Tech Industry

After more than 4 years working at the same (amazing) place and, with the help of my teammates, learning a lot about this beautiful world we call “web development”, I was finally wondering about my day-by-day workflow. Despite the fact that I was feeling really productive and happy with my own work it still seemed too comfortable, I mean, I had this feeling that it was about time to search for something new, for some new challenges, for something out of my comfort zone. They say that there is no learning in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the learning zone, it was time to move to the last one.
Since I had bosses there are also friends doing the bosses roles, it was really easy to explain that to them and, as I expected, they were really comprehensives, I will miss those guys.

All this introduction to get to this point, where I made this “looking for a new job” a public announcement and kindly asked for a share from my friends, if they believe I deserve that. To my surprise a lot of people backed me up with that, spreading the world and personally recommending me to potential future employers and to receive this amount of trust was amazing, it made me realize how we lack this kind of attitude in a daily basis with other people, how easy it is to give a word of incentive and to congratulate a coworker and how we underestimate the effects of a this attitude.
Obviously this doesn’t mean we’re all bad people that don’t want to cheer our friends up, we simply forget to do it more often because we’re always full of technical tasks and “don’t have time to chit-chat”, ignoring the fact that this “chit-chat” can raise the morale at your workplace and even make people more productive!

Many years ago the whole software industry used to put all its trust on heavy loads of documentation, employees back then had to spend a good part of their days writing how to use their software and the little Miguelito, barely knowing technology, believed that by working with computers he wouldn’t have to work with people, silly Miguelito.
Time passed by and the software industry got to know those “agile methodologies”, a couple of concepts that, surprise-surprise, put more value on communication than documentation and, as far as I can tell, apparently is working fine. These methodologies know the value of having a communicative team, of having everyone involved on the same page and with the same values, objectives, mindset.

I don’t intent at all to say how we should build software or (not?) manage teams but companies using agile methodologies are noticing the power of kindness on communication, open source software maintainers know that a good software is not all, people also expect some kindness when opening an issue, asking for help and even starting to contribute.
That’s even truer considering that our field of study/work has many people suffering from Impostor Syndrome in different degrees and lots of groups trying to make the tech industry more friendly to women and fulfill these sad minorities gaps we have.

Let us not underestimate the power of treating people nicer, software isn’t dealing only with computers anymore, it’s dealing with people and being kind.


Originally published at miguelgraz.com on April 6, 2015.

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