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Author Topic: 365 (Life) Lessons  (Read 4782 times)

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Offline IzuTopic starter

365 (Life) Lessons
« on: August 30, 2014, 03:38:09 am »
When I tell people about how my career has developed over the past one year most people go for 'Wow! That's freaking amazing!'. And I supposed it is so. Those of you who know me, know that I joined my company in the beginning of last year as a junior web developer. It was (and still is) my very first job. I honestly didn't expect it to go all that well, but my colleagues are amazing and my bosses (French guys) are even more amazing. I got the chance to learn a lot, and I suppose I did not disappoint them in choosing me for that first complicated project that I was initially assigned to. I quickly grew to a senior-ish type of position, allowed to handle that project on my own, coding it on my own and completing it in only 8 months when I had been given 12-18 months for it. Last December they told me I'd be made a team leader for a new important project and I was completely amazed - in most other companies I'd still be a junior, but here they were giving me the chance to go to a position that otherwise normally would have been mine in 2-3 years. In April my big boss told me that they have great hopes for me and in a year or so I will be made project manager of our biggest and most important project. And in May they told me that I'm becoming a project manager of the project I would have team-led and of another project for our biggest client and co-owner. I was wowed. But in the end of May came the big WOW. My boss told me that I'm becoming Product Manager - I'd manage our biggest product, which brings 70% of the revenue of the company, along with the other two projects, now separate products... So in a little over year I became the manager of 1/3 of our company, 12 people under me... A little overwhelming at how fast I progressed...

So, yeah... told like this my career story does sound 'Wow'. With a year and a half of experience I'm at a position that I might have had in 5-6 years. But my bosses told me that they think I'm the right person, for I understand specs like no one else, for I'm capable of seeing problems in advance and playing out scenarios in my head and figuring out what might be done for our products, and for I'm the type of person who can lead the guys as I'm the perfect balance of serious and goof... *breathes in deeply* But there are times when I doubt that.

We're having problems with that co-owner/one of the biggest clients' project. And the past month and a half have been hell for me. Often I wonder if I'm truly the right person for the job, whether my bosses didn't hurry a little (too much) to give me that kind of a position. There are just so many things that I do not know about managing, about handling people, about handling stress, work, and life as a whole. And that very thought has been keeping me awake in a semi-panicked state for the greater part of the past month.

But now I've decided to focus. I might panic easily, but once I set my mind onto something there is no backing off. I'm stubborn like hell. Especially when I want something. And right now I want to grow. I want to grow as a person, as colleague and as a manager.

And most importantly I want to learn how not to miss the important life lessons that I'm given every single day. Because if I keep them in mind I do believe I will not only conquer my fears and problems, but I will also succeed in growing and becoming the person I do have the potential to become.

And who knows... the lessons I've learned might turn out to be useful to other people as well...

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2014, 04:12:33 am »
I woke up with a start. I do not remember what were my dreams, but my guess is that it was something that made me feel cornered, scared and quite so freaked out, because the moment I opened my eyes I felt how panic took over me. The first thought that got in my mind was 'We'll never make it on time with the German project' - the project for the problematic co-owner/huge-client. And truthfully we really might not make it on time. Thanks to their manipulative and somewhat psychotic project manager we were given 6 weeks and one developer to complete something that needs at least twice that much time with at least two developers in the team - the reason why I'm freaked out. And right now we have only 2 more weeks until the end of that deadline, and we still have quite a few things to do. Just thinking about all the small details that need to be integrated in the project sent my heart leaping in my chest and I felt dizzy with nerves. I could even feel cold sweat breaking out as I sat in my bed with my eyes closed, trying to get over that panic episode.

What could I do? Well... for one I started thinking about all those little details - we don't even have the specs written down properly for the developer. If we have them written down he might manage to integrate them rather quickly. They are not hard, just a bit catchy. But if I sit down and go through our given specs and extract them properly explained we might be able to make it. And this is what I intend to do this afternoon - I'll spend an hour or so working, but it's worth it. On Monday I'll go to work prepared with a solution in hand. And the moment I thought about it my panic episode passed and I was able to simply breathe out.

Lesson 1
Do not let fear blur your vision. Focus on the problem and you will see the solution. Do not procrastinate, but get down to solving right away.

It's amazing how when you face a scary (or scary in your eyes) problem everything around you seems to get blurry, you feel lost, scared, like there is no escape, like that problem will come to you and hit you hard across the face and you will fail. Well.... at least this is how I feel most of the times when I face a problem, but then again I do tend to be panicky...

It is hard to ignore all those little voices that keep you distracted from the main problem, but just whisper to you how you would fail and all t he horrible consequences of that failure. But if you try to focus on the real problem, and you manage to keep your focus onto it for a while, slowly those voices shut up one by one until it is just you face-to-face with what is the real problem. And when you see it, just it, the solution is often quite obvious and simple, and it usually pops in your mind right away.

I felt like this when I was failing my classes back at university. The thought of failing brought me to horrible panic attacks, and all I could think about was how I'd fail, not manage to get a job, not manage to have a life, but then as I'd focus on the said problem - failing a class, the solution was right there - I simply had to study. Duh.

That 'duh' moment has always been there when I'd face a problem. It's actually quite hard to admit to yourself that the solution of something that seems so horrible and impossible is actually quite simple and obvious. And it's even harder to get yourself to actually doing it as you first have to win over your fear, then over the battle with yourself that the simple solution is actually this and that you need to get moving to do it, but if you get to the point of admitting it, it get easier to take a deep breath, stay focused and take the first step to solving that horrible impossible problem.

And isn't it like this?

Failing a class? Sit down, focus and study harder.
Don't like your job? Sit down, focus and prepare to search for a new one - make a resume, find sites for jobs, do a few searches.
Want to lose weight? Well... stand up and get moving.
Want to go to university? Find one, get the application papers and fill them in.
Want a relationship? Get out, meet people. Go online, search for dating sites, make a profile.
Don't have clarified specifications for your project? Sit down and write them down...

It's always so obvious and simple... but it is damn hard to get over yourself and do it... And sometimes it's so easy to forget to look for the simplest solution... But I do believe that if I keep my mind onto the problem, focus onto it, I will be able to get to that duh moment... and eventually to get over both my pride of admitting that it's truly a 'duh' and the fear of getting down to solving the problem, and then moving on and eventually facing other problems. But if you want to progress you will eventually have to get out of that stuck place and move on to the scary (at least for me) unknown future...
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 04:13:35 am by Izu »

Offline Oreo

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Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2014, 05:00:32 pm »
Izu, you have truly climbed your own Everest. The strides you have made since we met here on Elliquiy are nothing short of heroic! ;D *looks forward to the remaining 364 lessons*

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2014, 05:07:48 pm »
*blushes and hugs Oreo* Thank you...

I still feel like I'm making one step forward, and then two backwards... But I'm trying...

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2014, 08:01:25 am »
Lesson 2
You cannot control everything.

Actually this is a lesson that I need reminding myself every single day. Still, it's hard to grasp it. And it's even harder to accept it. Ever since last night I've been fighting panic attacks about this coming week. Yesterday I felt quite well after I did work for an hour or so and gathered my thoughts about what else needs to be done for the problematic project. However, as the day progressed into a night I started thinking whether the developer would actually make it. There are a couple of complex bits. One is extremely complex, and the other is somewhat challenging. Still maybe he might be able to accomplish all tasks in two weeks. Maybe... or not...

And that 'not' case simply drove me crazy. Still is actually... I keep trying to remind myself that I truly cannot control everything that goes on, but despite that I worry. I guess it's going to be a lesson that I'd need repeating to myself more often. Because truly I do realize that I cannot control everything and that a lot of things do not depend on me, but I still cannot separate myself from it all...

Honestly, I think that part of my current anxiety is that realization that some things are outside of my reach and control. I like being in control. I like being able to plan my work and do it accordingly. And as I've been disappointed so many times in life I simply cannot relay on other people. I know I can relay on myself for everything and anything, but when the success of something truly does not depend on me alone... this freaks me out... badly... I cannot control everything and this thought makes me feel like I suffocate...

I still need to learn how to let go...

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2014, 01:17:08 am »
Lesson 3
Nothing is permanent...

It has been a very, very long week. Not so good either. It started with the theft of my car, followed by tons of stressing work, along with realization that I'd need to fire one of the guys on my team, and ended up with fights with my mother. I woke up early this morning and staring up at the ceiling I realized something that maybe I should have known long ago - nothing is permanent. Our belongings, our friends, even our families, feelings, problems - nothing is permanent.

I used to think that I'd always have my car until I break it and got a new one, but fate had other plans for it. Being stolen had never even crossed my mind - it was an 11-year-old Golf 4 with quite a few problems, who would want it?! But it turned out that it, as well as so many things that had belonged to me in my life, one day simply goes away, is lost from my reach and never to be found.

I've had quite a few friends that I thought they would be by my side for the rest of my life, but they betrayed my trust and now are into the category of 'People I used to know'. And the hurt from their betrayal and way of treating me has long gone into the 'meh, whatever' category. And back then I did think that I would always hurt because of them, that I would never be able to make new friends, move on and so on. I was wrong. Even the scars that they left on my heart have been fading away.

And now that I think about it - even those big scary problems that everyone faces sooner or later, fade away with time. Even my scary work problems are about to be over - this week is our deadline. We are maybe going to meet it successfully. Or not. But in the end it will be over one way or the other and we'll do our best. After it's over it will no longer be as scary as it used to be. I'm ready for the consequences - I'll most probably get criticized by the clients, but I'm sure my bosses will back me up. In the worst case they will point out where I've wronged and how I could have avoided it, but I'd welcome this as it would help me learn and grow. And even if the clients want me removed from managing their project (something I'd welcome), there is no one else in the company who would be willing to work with them, so they would have to work with my boss and he will kill them.

So, even those scary problems I've been stressing over the past couple of months, are not going to last forever. Everything comes and goes. Things, people, feelings, no matter how much you cherish them or how much you dislike them, in the end they are gone. Life goes on, dealing you a new dose of everything and depending on your luck (maybe) you're given a better or a worse hand. But in the end you gotta play with the cards you have in your hand and remember that nothing is permanent - cherish it while you have it or just push through it while it lasts.

Offline Oniya

Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2014, 03:22:00 am »
Charlie Chaplain once said that 'Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles.'

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2014, 03:25:44 am »
I didn't know this quote... I truly need to remember this lesson... especially in moments like right now...

Offline Amazee

Re: 365 (Life) Lessons
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2014, 07:26:01 pm »
Charlie Chaplain once said that 'Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles.'

Though my troubles seem to come and go.