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      One of the big realizations of my career was noticing that by working crazy hours to meet any deadline or unforeseen issue that arose, I was actually perpetuating bad design practices. By always meeting deadlines, no matter the cost, I was enabling fellow engineers and management the luxury of not having to take the time to plan projects with time integrated for unforeseen risks. Working like this can be doable for a deadline or two, but over time it encourages a continual cycle of unsustainable work practices that led to burnout.

      It’s challenging to spend the time to be disciplined enough to properly plan a project out and push back on overly optimistic deadlines. Sometimes it’s even just fun to program late into the night to impress stakeholders. As a software engineer I’m a highly paid professional, and I feel like I should be able to meet the needs of the company, even when it comes in the form of last minute requirements. But overtime it’s led to me having less skills in the planning and estimating parts of a project. This then lead to more underestimated projects, resulting in the whole death march situation happening again.

      Right now I’m reading The Mythical Man-Month and Rapid development to try to develop my skills in time estimation and planning. It’s not as fun as learning a new language or tech stack, but I think it’s important. Coding is just one aspect of being an effect software engineer.

      That being said, I could totally be wrong. Sometimes I wonder if true innovation requires working at a crazy fast speed, and not being conservative about what can be accomplished given some good engineers and a lofty goal. Maybe I’m just becoming lazier as I get older.

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        One of the big realizations of my career was noticing that by working crazy hours to meet any deadline or unforeseen issue that arose, I was actually perpetuating bad design practices.

        I came to the same conclusion: propping a faulty process removes any incentive to fix the process.

        It took me working 80+hrs a week (with 24/7 on call) for 18 months before I hit burnout. Thankfully I was old enough and well established enough in my life that it didn’t destroy me or my career. I do worry about my 2 ASD kids having the ability to pull the brakes early enough to get out of it relatively unscathed.

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          I’ve certainly gone full throttle right over the cliff myself. Some of my later posts will cover topics on communication and trying to avoid that very thing, though admittedly it’s quite easy to do so despite whatever experience and knowledge I have that I’m vulnerable to it.

          I think a lot of it is being vigilant and knowing your worth, including that of your free time.

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        I have often asserted the need to service infrastructure yearly in the same way one would look after their car. In the past fifteen years of working in various industries I can safely say no company I worked for ever did; most had largely jury rigged applications held together with duct tape and hope or simply worked on fire and forget projects with no care on ROI.

        Case in point, we have several event programs of which most were last ran more than two years ago. Last week I got called into a meeting asking how quick we could spin up one of them for an event one client was proposing us to host later this year. I had the hard job of explaining how a system at rest can still atrophy; That the code hadn’t been touched by anyone in three years, I joined last year and have never had time nor need to look at the code and having done so briefly I can see the technology stack it operates on is by now almost a decade old, unsupported and in some cases no longer available.

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        The Mythical Man-Month

        Yes. 100%, yes. Recently (finally) read the entire thing. I had spent years (years!) talking about bits and pieces of it and having colleagues mention how yes, we have heard of it too…it’s an old school book. I honestly would love to work for any company that made it standard reading for new hires while reminding them that challenging some of its assumptions isn’t a bad thing either.

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      When I tell them, people often say “but you don’t act autistic!” Well yeah, that’s because I’ve spent years learning how to socialize better!

      Also, most people don’t realize that autism has physical effects on you too. I’m extremely sensitive to textures and automatically walk tiptoe if I’m barefoot.

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        A lot of non-autistic people don’t really seem to internalize the fact that social skills are, in fact, skills that can be learned and practiced. They do it all the time for special-case scenarios like giving presentations or trying to sell something, but the idea of doing it for “normal” things like sitting down and having coffee with someone, or participating in a conversation involving more than three people, doesn’t occur to them.

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        For me it’s hearing and textures. I can hear conversations clearly across a room, and certain food will make me physically sick if I try and eat it when prepared a certain way.

        The loud noises meme is no joke, I end up wearing some form of headphones in offices at all time to drain out noise because my head picks up everything.

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        I hope you’ve had. an ortho look at you head to toe to mitigate the consequences of a lifetime of toe walking. If not, do it now. When you reach my age you’ll be glad you did.

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      Maybe we should defend the 1x engineer: http://1x.engineer

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        This whole thing seems like nonsense. I thought a 10x engineer was defined as one who delivers 10x the value (and a myth, according to the internet)… and a lot of the things on that 1x list delivers value. Over the last couple days, I’ve seen “10x engineer” get defined (IMO redefined) as “jerk” (which now very much exists), and now 1x engineer - instead of just being “average skill” - is being redefined as “not a jerk” just to contrast with the alleged 10x.

        And it is now a useless term completely divorced from reality. A lot of extraordinarily productive programmers are team players. A lot of average programmers are arrogant jerks.

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          Yeah, 10x was originally about 10x the value. It’s better to keep that definition since Nx programmers actually exist. They’re also rare and often problematic enough that we can continue critiquing companies whose HR focuses on them.

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        I love the retro styling on that.

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          The mouse cursor is a nice touch

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        I notice that there are a lot of overlapping traits between 1x and 10x engineers.

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      To summarize: everyone more productive than me is an autistic slave being driven by an abusive boss. My fragile ego thanks the author.

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        Said author is autistic and thinks you miss the point. The point is, and a more apt summary: the traits which make a supposed 10x engineer are very similar to ASD tendencies, and because they don’t always know their limits they run full blast into burnout. Some managers will indeed abuse this tendency.

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          Your summary is accurate. My summary is tongue in cheek. People like hearing things that make them feel like those who perform better than them are cheating, unsustainable, privileged, etc. so that they don’t have to acknowledge that they are anything less than the best.