There are times in life when one is down due to underachievement, low performance, things not happening as per expectations and morale being low. This sometimes happens due to reasons not within one’s control. There are moments of frustration and one starts feeling that it is me against the world. People start feeling that they are losers and unless this mindset gets changed failure is inevitable.
I too have my moments of frustrations. When I am down I remember a wonderful quote said by John Foppe, “It is OK to be down but it is not OK to stay down”. How can one get out of the vicious cycle of under-performance and low morale? I was thinking about it and I would like to share what I do.
I look at the moments of Pride which I have cherished all these years. I still remember many but to quote a few, in my college days I was the president of the Rotract Club and organized a science exhibition in Kalyan, the city where I used to live. It was a big hit amongst the people of Kalyan and I still remember on the last day, the police were called to control the crowd. Everybody in Rotary Club and citizens in the society congratulated me for organizing such a grand event. Congratulations/Recognition is a result of what you created. Moments of pride are in creation and I cherish the memories of how this grand event was organized and successfully executed.
I have cherished another event which happened in AIR INDIA, where I was working as an apprentice in automobile department.There they use snorkel ladders to clean aircrafts from the outside. A person stands on the platform on the top of the ladders and washes the aircraft from outside. When maintenance work is carried out in the hanger, aircrafts are washed this way and then are put into service. One day we got a call saying one snorkel ladder has got stuck and aircraft cannot be taken out. I was sent with a very senior mechanic. He tried everything he knew to unfold and move snorkel out of the way of the aircraft without success. There were people around us, ground staff pushing us to get it out of the way as the flight was getting delayed. Then an idea struck me, which I shared with the mechanic. He worked on the controls and I went ahead and implemented it. To the delight of everyone snorkel started folding and we could move it in few moments. Day was saved for everyone. Mechanic, managers everyone congratulated me however my moment of pride still is the way my idea worked.
There are plenty of such moments in my life where I built a SPM for multi-drilling and multi-tapping of chairs, automatic tube flaring machine, table top conveyors, table top packing machine and many more. Moments of pride are not the recognitions I received but watching my idea work and yield result.
I sometimes wonder what those moments of pride are for software professionals. Are the recognition mails received from managers and seniors, moments of pride for them? Are praises showered by the client, moments of pride? In my opinion they are the outcome of the wonderful work software professionals do. The creation, working in front of them is the moment of pride. Functionality well understood and executed which is being used by millions of users is the moment of pride. Finding a solution for a technically challenging problem and implementing it to resolve it, is moment of pride for them. Problem taken care of by the solution suggested by them is a matter of pride for them. I think moment of pride for them is no rework. No one likes rework. Rework is not as effective as doing the task for the very first time. Task completed in defined timeframe gives immense satisfaction. When we go home without strings attached of incomplete or defective work, it builds the goodness feeling. Pride is when colleagues come and ask me my suggestions, views, help and guidance. Pride is in the contribution we make.
Seeing the relationship of my work in the growth of the organization, colleagues and me as well provides necessary fuel to move on. Respect of my knowledge by others makes me proud.
When code gets reviewed by the third party and no defects are found, one has a deep satisfaction of the work done. When testing is not able to find a bug in my code I feel happy. If the architecture I designed is robust, scalable and need not to be changed time and again, it gives me a high. If the test cases written and executed are so well that the customer is not able to find a defect provides me the energy to keep going. I think we have every right in the world to feel proud about the work we do. Recognition, e-mails, certificates and appreciations will be there or not. Nobody can restrict us from feeling proud about the work we have done and the contribution we have made.
I think these moments of pride are applicable to any profession. Ideas suggested to improve, innovate are like your babies. As we take pride in our baby, take utmost care of them, nourish them and become extremely happy to see their accomplishments, same is the case when we deploy our ideas at the place of work.
I think one has to cherish these moments close to their heart and when you are down look at them. They tell you how competent you are. They will tell you that you have a bright mind generating wonderful ideas. They will tell you that there is no need to get frustrated as you are a creator in your own way. They will tell that you can make things work around you. They will tell you “Friend, it is OK to be down but not OK to stay down”. You are capable of doing things which others could not imagine. Cheer up and create another moment of pride to cherish it for a lifetime, to get energy to move on when you are down.