Isaac Su — exercising my powers of observation

Insecurities of an engineer turned team leader

Wed, 28th Aug 2019

Just finished reading Promise Me, Dad. Easy, enjoyable, emotionally-rich read. It was a refreshing departure from Capitalism without Capital which was quite academic and An Elegant Puzzle which was quite task-focused.

The thing that stood out most prominently to me is how much time Joe and staff spend strategising, writing speeches, delivering speeches, setting up meetings and calls and corraling people.

In the last month or so, I've been gradually removing myself from the implementation and deployment of code within the team. Instead, I've been focusing on establishing robust processes, streamlining communication flow and information dissemination, and listening intensely to where each member on the team is at, helping to unstick things that are missed in the macro movement of things.

The contours of such efforts differ dramatically from that of an individual contributor. As an individual contributor, I spend my days cracking the back of engineering problems, coding up the solution, considering tests, stepping through deployment environments and seeing it operational in the hands of customers. There is a cadence to it that is irrefutable. I feel confident, safe, satisfied.

Of late, my son would ask me - how was your day? What did you do at work? My answer has been consistently vague - I talk to people, I have meetings, I sometimes solve puzzles.

Feels less irrefutable.

Reading about the strategising, the speech-ing, the people corraling affirmed me that the activities that fill my workday, albeit at a far smaller scale than that of a VPOTUS, have inherant value that I've still yet to fully embrace.

One day I would like to have mustered up the conviction to explain to my son: people long to accomplish things that are much greater than themselves. In order to achieve that, they need to find ways to work with each other. Everyday, daddy has the opportunity to help people do that at work.

Let's take the conversation to mastodon.