5:01 developers, extending your passion to others, etc.

A few weeks back I blogged about Alt.Net in Austin. I had said I’d be posting other entries with more specific thoughts about things I got from there. So here’s one…  🙂

The first session I got to attend to was the one where people discussed mostly how to motivate developers (such as 501 developers) so to get them more passionate about their job; usually people who are passionate about what they do are much more productive and produce code of much better quality (besides being fun to work with).

When I do my presentations or training gigs, I always get good feedback from people saying they enjoy me speaking because they can tell I’m very passionate about what I’m talking about. Usually not only I enjoy the topic I’m presenting on, but I also cannot let go the great feeling of having learned about something that some people may find complicated to grasp, and make others understand it.

I was glad to hear that a bunch of other people have been hosting brown bag meetings at their companies. I’ve blogged about that not long ago. I really like brown bag meetings. These meeting are not at all about people trying to show off; it is actually all about being so excited about something you’ve learned that you can’t help but let other people know about it. It is also about being frustrated with something that you’ve been struggling with and you want to run it by others that may be able to help you. Of course, the latter is a good exercise for putting all your pride aside and say "hey, I’m stuck! I have no idea what the heck I have to do to fix or implement this.".

Now, if a person can’t get excited about anything to a point of feeling like sharing it with others, what can I say… maybe the person should go work with something else. Because I usually have so much fun doing my job, I really can’t relate well to somebody who works out of obligation. That’d bore me to death, and I just can’t do it. At every situation where I would wake up and hate the fact that I had to go to work, I’d just make one out of the two obvious (at least to me) choices: A, try to change something, B, change jobs.

On the other hand, if somebody doesn’t ever get frustrated with things that the person can’t figure out, wow! I mean, does such person exist? With the myriad of new tools, technologies, techniques, etc., it’s is just impossible for somebody to know anything.

I’m always thinking of ideas as to how I could get people more passionate about the job we do, but of course it does take a lot of perseverance to actually implement and move forward with some of the ideas and insist on it, analyzing what works and what doesn’t, etc.

One of the things mentioned at this session at Alt.Net is that a person who acts like a catalyst should not put all of the effort into doing everything alone. Such approach does not scale well. There’s only so much an individual can do by him of herself. A better approach would be to plant this seed onto others, so that they also become catalyst type of people, and that way, the fire spreads out much quicker and stronger.

It’s like many years ago, when I received my first MVP award. I remember some people on the community saying something like "wow, so now that you’re an MVP, what’s next?". My reply to that was: "I’ll continue working with the community, and one of my goals is to help others become MVPs". This same mentality has been always something I try to bring into the companies I work for. Some people joined the ride along the way and still thank me for all the help (even after all these years), and some people couldn’t care less. I’m okay with that. As long as I can get one person to carry the torch on I’m happy. It’s a great feeling to know that you’ve made a difference in somebody else’s life; it doesn’t matter how big or small that difference was. 🙂

Bottom line is: are you having fun with your job? If so, get others contaminated with it. If not, see if there’s anything you could do to change the situation. If you don’t even feel like proposing and pursuing changes, consider going back to square one and finding something else to do with your life. Maybe you have other talents that’d be best used if you had fun using it.  🙂

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