Site Reliability Team Lead at News UK

View My GitHub Profile

21 October 2014

Learnings Part 3

by Mike

6) You don't need to suffer in a job

It has taken me a long time to realise it, but the most important things in life are not how much money you bring home or how many hours you spend at work. You wont be lying on your deathbed thinking “I wish I had spent more time at work”.

What is important to you will vary person to person, but I would guess it is likely to be one or more of the following: family, friends, physical health, mental health or perhaps even certain good causes.

As someone who has both been hurt in a car accident and burnt-out and come back, this has been a hard learning experience, but something I do believe.

7) Don't be afraid of change. Change is where learning happens.

If you do the same tasks the same way every day for 10 years you are unlikely to learn much. To learn you need to be exposed to new ideas and change.

The one thing stops us changing things, and by extension learning, is fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of breaking things. We can solve both of these to some extent by culture.

Pairing up can reduce the fear of the unknown, you have someone else to reassure and provide support when you need it.

Fear of breaking things is harder, but not impossible. Understanding that failures happen no matter what, having processes to deal with failures and not dealing out blame during or after the event all go some way towards making changes less fearful.

8) Don't be too quick to change something that is working until you understand why it works.

We all understand that change is necessary in business; the outside world isn’t standing still and we need to adapt to these changes. Changing things therefore is an everyday task; a task we need to retain our market fit and to improve the business.

The problem is that if we are too accepting of change that we will continue changing stuff when it doesn’t need it and when doing so will be a detriment to the business.

I have seen this is many places; people that need to change something to feel they have made some input into a problem, people that like to shake things up a little, or even people who like to make others uncomfortable because they can.

The one thing all these have in common is that these are changes without a good reason or a plan. There is no testing and no rationale as to why this is going to be a benefit; it is just a change for change-sake.