I was wrong

I have believed that as a programmer you only had to put in the effort and you could get whatever degree of freedom you would like. On numerous occasions I have told teams and individuals that: “if you put in the work and take the risks you will get where you want”.
During the last couple of years I have learned much about the role that privilege plays in work life. Reading material and backgrounds posted by people who know more about these topics has made me look at myself and what I say to others. Following people like @ModelViewMedia, @ashedryden, @polotek and @janl. Getting a broader perspective and reading up on some of the back ground material some of these people supply is a great source of new knowledge.

I have had people say: “it’s easy for you to say follow your goals and never mind the rules, you got the title to do it”. In my head I have always replied: “you can have my title / job, if you only made the effort and had the passion to pursue it”. I realize now that my reaction was wrong and I should have seen things differently. It is not about a lack of passion, but people having different ways of showing their passion. Not everyone feels comfortable challenging the status quo and pushing hard for change. It is not for everyone to take lead and make change happen. There are people who like to have everyone on board and do things more slowly. That does not make them less passionate, just more patient. Does that mean their opinions are not worth listening too? Of course not, it is those of us with the privilege and positions to make sure there is a way for others to have their voices heard. I regret not seeing this earlier in my career as I could have given better advice.

The Meritocracy Illusion

Meritocracy in technology is a hoax and an convenient excuse for those in a position of privilege to not try and change things. Positions aren’t given based on merit alone. Gender, race, age, education, personality, etc all play a part. Merit is what we use to not have to deal with the more difficult issues. I have changed my view on theses things and I’d like to thank those who’s helped me get a better perspective on things. We need to work harder to make a community where everyone can thrive and be heard.

I admit it, I was wrong.

* This post was also a talk at a Finn.no technology gathering, it’s in Norwegian: https://vimeo.com/173315086

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