When you write software, let’s say with a code base of 100,000 lines of code, and you screw up only 1 thing then the consequence might be that the program won’t work. You forget to close 1 parenthesis or 1 line is missing the semicolon at the end – as a result it won’t compile.
When you do sales, let’s say you contact 10 potential clients, and 1 of them eventually signs a 6-figure contract then you’re actually pretty successful.
When the software you wrote does not work properly then the reason MIGHT be because of a flaw in the operating system, some bug in a library you use or even cosmic rays – but in 99% of cases it’s just your own fault. The good news, though, is that it’s also you yourself who can fix it.
When you deal with people, e.g. in sales, line management or simply finding a mate, then your strategies need adjustment.
As a coder you’ve been successful by being critical and especially self-critical. If you apply the same attitude to people related situations you’ll fail.
In management, success is not having it right 100,000 out of 100,000 times. Not even close.
In people situations, failure does not necessarily demand diligent analysis. This can lead to over-thinking and making you feel bad about yourself. Failure does not necessarily demand ignoring it either.
Sometimes it’s best NOT to assume it’s your duty to fix something you messed up. Being smart but still just listening to others, showing empathy for the other instead of mainly trying to fix things – that’s the challenge.
Just as you keep learning new programming paradigms, patterns and languages you can also learn new and different ways to deal with people situations and, as a result, advance in your career to a management position.
I know it’s hard for nerds but we’re smart, creative and friggin’ hardcore. You can do it!
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