People love making themselves and others miserable and this phenomenon is no different in software business. If you’ve ever wondered how to keep this misery wheel turning you just need to follow a few easy steps.
Lately, I started feeling overwhelmed with the type of work I was doing and noticed some patterns in software business that made everyone miserable. Interestingly, I also recently ran into a video that sends you on a path to follow to be truly miserable in life (you can check it out here). It was the perfect blend of entertaining and informative (also I always loved proof by contradiction in mathematics) so this kind of content hit home with me. It also made me think about how this type of thinking can be translated to software businesses.
And the answer was… Pretty easy! Here’s a list of steps to follow:
1. Stop learning.
This is the main thing to kick-start feeling miserable at your job. Stick to the knowledge that got you hired in the first place. Why would you improve your skills if you don’t have to?
There are always better things for you to do, for example, being frustrated about everything around you changing and complaining about it. That way you won’t be the only one feeling bad, but you’ll transfer your frustration to others as well.
On the other hand, if you are in a junior position and your primary job is to learn more, the thing you should learn about is how to avoid learning and seem adequate at your job as time goes by. Just learn a buzzword and keep saying that’s what you are doing until someone gets suspicious, then just learn another one. Now you’ve set yourself up for future success! Umm… I meant misery.
2. Stop evolving your projects.
In the end, this one library has been serving you well, who cares if it became deprecated a long time ago and there are better alternatives now?
Just keep piling up new features on top of the old infrastructure and hope everything will be just fine.
Since just hoping for something to work, without taking reasonable steps to make it work, almost never works, you’re definitely going to give yourself and the rest of the team headache fixing something so many features rely on.
3. Force your way as the right way (because you are always right), and force others to listen to your unsolicited advice.
Just think about all the times you’ve said “I told you so” to someone. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that you are always right, isn’t it?
Now that we’ve come to that conclusion, what is the best thing you can do at work? Especially if you are in a position to make impactful decisions, you should just ignore what everyone else has to say and do what’s objectively the best (which is the same as what you think is the best).
But it’s not enough to keep all that omniscience to yourself, you should force it upon others. It doesn’t even have to be job related, any glimpse into your vast knowledge is a privilege itself.
You think microservices are always better than monolith architecture? Go ahead and tell everyone to use microservices. Always.
You think tabs should be used over spaces? Go ahead and tell everyone to use tabs. Always.
You’ve read somewhere that snake oil will relieve any ache and it seemed convincing enough? Well it’s obvious by now… Go ahead and tell everyone to use snake oil. Always.
4. Avoid the hard problems
So far everything is going well. You’re being very opinionated and know a bunch of buzzwords so everyone thinks you know your stuff. At the same time you aren’t losing your time learning anything new and you are keeping your project the way it was when you started working on it (maybe with some minor changes).
The next step for you is to avoid any hard problem that needs solving. Taking it onto yourself to tackle something problematic can result in many unwanted effects:
- Knowing buzzwords might not be enough to solve this problem.
- In turn, you might start doing research and learning something new.
- In the end, you might not succeed in solving it so your credibility could be questioned.
Even worse, you might succeed and have more of those problems come your way. In any case, not good for what you are trying to accomplish. It’s better to just keep following previous rules and find a way to avoid hard problems. That way you could quietly be building up your CV without doing any important work.
5. Work on something you hate
Now comes the good part … All those items you’ve stockpiled in your CV over the years finally paid off! You’ve received a financially great offer from a corporation!
This particular corporation is destroying bunch of ecosystems and you’ve been hired to write software that will make that process faster and more efficient. You love nature and don’t want global warming on your doorstep, but hey, everyone else is doing it, so why wouldn’t it be you reaping the benefits?
No matter how much happier that extra money is making you, in the long run you are very likely to feel some sort of regret. But, the good news is, that’s exactly what you want!
All the previous steps were making you feel bad at the moment, but if you only follow them, as soon as you finish the project or leave the company you have a chance to turn over a new leaf. But now, with this type of long-term regret, you are bound to feel miserable for much longer.
6. Work all day, every day.
If you work any less you might actually have time for some relaxing activities that can mitigate all the misery you’ve created at your job. But you’ve worked so hard to feel this way, you don’t want to ruin it all now.
Also it’s so much easier to make bad decisions when you are exhausted, which will in turn make you miserable when those decisions blow up in your face.
Just repeat everything described above until you are at the amount of miserable you want to be at. And then repeat some more just to be sure.