You can’t just compare outcomes posted on 18 April 2024

It’s very easy to feel disheartened when a coworker does something in 2 minutes that took you days to do (or worse something that you couldn’t figure out how to do). The feelings can be much stronger/worse sometimes – you may feel worthless, disappointed and/or anxious. These feelings likely contribute to the imposter syndrome that you may experience.

While the outcome (time to resolve the problem) is different, you should remember that people have different backgrounds and experiences.

  • Your coworker might have more experience (e.g. they have been working longer, or they started programming at an earlier age etc.). You wouldn’t compare your drawing skills with someone who works at Disney Studios full time – they just had way more time to polish their drawing skills. So why would you compare your engineering skills with someone who has been in the industry for longer?
  • Your coworker may have run into your exact issue a few days earlier and wasted tons of time before being able to solve it. For what it’s worth maybe you would have eventually solved your problem faster than they did the first time they ran into this issue.
  • Today might just not be your day – part of debugging issues is around luck. I spent hours (multiple times!) debugging an issue on the wrong copy of the codebase.

Last but not least, you don’t have to be the best in your company/industry or have a field where you are the best. It’s OK to just be normal. Not everything has to be a competition to the top. There are way more important things in life than being able to write/debug code fast.

LinkedIn post