There’s definitely a time to say no but, sometimes, there’s also an opportune time to say yes.
It’s not often that you’ll find me advocating agreeing to do something extra in the Grand Game of Software Engineering. This is primarily because committing to extra work, something that’s not always within your progressive remit, is often something that can cause a lot of inadvertent pain and suffering for the volunteer.
Take, for example, volunteering to do something for your project manager who may either be inept themself or attempting to use weaponised incompetence against you (having read my article, of course, and decided to try and turn the tables on a professional incompetence wielder, so to say).
Unless there’s something to be gained such as helping get your own shizzle completed, moving the dead wood closer to the wood chipper, or some kind of free lunch (missing mandatory events, working from home, not having to engage in ‘wellbeing’ seminars) then, frankly, what’s the point?
Altruism you say, helping your fellow human and all that? Well, perhaps, and that’s totally your call, but today let’s talk about the situations where you shouldn’t be second guessing putting your hand up, taking that one step forward, or replying to the tumbleweed gathering email that appealed for help right in your hidden speciality.
Aces in the Hole
One of the most effective times to take that step forward in the grand game, moving your pieces ever closer to that desirable eighth rank, is when it will gain you favour with a particular person.
Knowledge is a wonderful thing and as technically minded progressives we continually accrue all sorts of interesting, general, and off-topic items — all of which can be incredibly useful.
It’s wonderful to be the goto guy¹ when it comes to modern functional languages, the syntax of complex regular expressions, or to know just how many times you have to repeatedly tap the spacebar in Python (to get it to stop complaining and get on with its tardy processing), but it’s almost heavenly to be the goto guy when it comes to something absolutely vital to the operation of some management process or other.