After good September, I have a hectic month of October. Hard to believe I've found some time to write this down.
Books I'm reading #
- Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems by Martin Kleppmann I'm at chapter 5, and I can recommend it if you're an engineer that wants to learn more about building big applications. I'm learning a lot.
Books I've read #
- Stress-Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and Body and Be More Resilient Every Day by Mithu Storoni It's pretty good and short at the same time. The only downside is that if you're used to typical self-help where you have 1-2 essential things in a book, you might have a hard time adjusting. Each paragraph is backed up by lots of science, and it's worth going slowly through it.
Elsewhere on the Web #
Time millionaires: meet the people pursuing the pleasure of leisure
Pre-Covid, Fitzgerald regularly worked 80-hour weeks. "My calendar was meetings upon meetings upon meetings," he says. "I had this feeling there was never enough time, and that added to my anxiety. That 'tick tick tick'."
I have to admit that my calendar is filled with meetings, and it's no fun. Unfortunately, making big changes with a mortgage and family is not trivial, so it's more like something I want to keep in mind.
It's worth reading it regardless of what you think about it.
136 facts every web dev should know before they burn out and turn to landscape painting or nude modelling
I can recommend the full thing for frontend developers, but without that context, you have to look for more general advice. I include a couple of points about managers for your convenience:
- It all comes down to needs. If an organisation isn't addressing the employees' needs, nothing in the organisation will be sustainable in the long term.
- Your needs come first. Then come those of your co-workers. Both come before that of the customer and before that of your manager. You need to be healthy, learning about the task at hand, improving your mental model of the product, and building a theory of how the code works. Otherwise, you aren't going to be able to address anybody else's needs.
- A good manager will structure the organisation and processes so that the workers' needs, when fulfilled, will result in them being able to meet the customer's needs.
- A bad manager will churn through employees like tissue paper, sacrificing their well-being for vague and distant business goals.
- The worst manager sacrifices their well-being as well as their employees' well-being.
- As Deming said: 'nobody gives a hoot about profits'. The manager who cares about company profits doesn't exist.
- A manager who seems to care about company profits is more dangerous than most. They are suffering from one or more psychological complication.
- "If the company does well, then I'm a good person."
- "If we make money, then my mother will be proud of me."
- "My dad—I mean the CEO—thinks I'm great."
- A lack of self-awareness is always trouble. In yourself, it causes misery. In a co-worker, it causes tension. In a boss or manager, it spells disaster. The only person you can send to therapy is yourself. The rest require firm boundaries and non-violent communication.
Your System is Not Perfect and That's Great — Balancing Operational Investments
At first, I've read only the free part, and it made me make some incorrect assumptions, so I recommend reading the whole thing.
But if you don't like it, I'm adding a minor spoiler below:
We call that allocated effort time-boxing. You put a certain amount of time in a box, and allocate it to customer issues.
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