HackerNews was aflutter today with talk about how you should be a quiet professional, do whatever it takes and don't even complain, take any and all ill that comes your way like a stoic shaolin monk, show no fear, show no emotion, robotically and efficiently perform any task on your path, go face-first through a granite wall without even blinking and just get it the fuck done.
tl;dr --> bitching gives you teamwork, understanding, focus and appreciation
The original article discussed on HN was apparently written by one Kyle Tress, but apparently the even more original real original story was on CNN ... something about The Quiet Professionals navy seals brutally assassinating a political figure on foreign soil.
Being a quiet professional is a load of bollocks!
And so is the whole "stiff upper lip".
In reality what you'll notice is that bitching just works. The more you bitch about your problems, the more they get solved and the less of them you have.
Of course it can turn out to be a bit annoying to the people around you, but that doesn't really matter. You're trying to help yourself remember? Solve your own problems. You can worry about theirs later. It also helps if you bitch to more than one person and a general rule of thumb you should likely follow is to bitch about stuff to people that can actually help.
Let me outline four great things that can come out of bitching and you be the judge:
- Teamwork - sharing encourages people to help
- Understanding - it's hard to do anything until you understand it, you don't understand until you can explain
- Focus - talking about crap forces you to think about crap, you can only do/solve what you think about
- Appreciation - mums are the most underappreciated people in the world, it's because nobody knows what it is exactly that they do
There's bound to be more, I just can't think of them right now. Talk to anyone who has to manage developers and ask them whether they prefer the guys who buckle down at their desk and don't say a word until a task is finished let it take an hour or a month ... or the guy who keeps giving them progress reports, explains the pain points and so on?
Hell, take good looking girls. Are most of them going home from parties with blabbermouths or that quiet guy who seems kinda cool, but not really all that human?
If you're a fan of House MD. Consider Chase and Foreman. The former gets all the girls, the latter is a robot everyone makes fun of for never showing any emotion.
If you're not a vampire, being all dark and brooding doesn't work for picking up chicks.
Now I'm not advocating being one of those people who just bitch and moan and never do anything about it, that's just being an annoying 13 year old girl. But you should really consider using bitching and moaning as a tool to better understanding the core issue at hand and finding a solution.
Protip: you don't even need a listener, just get it out there (twitter is great for this, nobody will care)
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
20% off this week
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️