Role models

February 19, 2020

At work, we talked a lot about role models and who ours are recently. These people are usually very good at something, or even at many things. I linked to the newsletters of a few people that inspire me a while ago. We aspire to be more like our role models, because they can get stuff done. What people rarely tell you is that you are probably also a role model to others without even knowing it.

It is common to assume that what we know comes easy to everybody. We think that everybody can do what we can, and that everybody else is more capable than we are. Both of these assumptions are wrong. Everybody starts out knowing nothing, figuring things out over time. We learn how to write code and how to work with people. The skills we pick up with experience look like magic to those that have not been through this process yet.

People coming into our teams look to experienced colleagues for guidance and leadership. If you have been working somewhere for a while, you are likely that person for someone there. Nobody asks us if we are ready for that responsibility. No promotion comes with a raise and a certificate that says “can now be a role model to others”.

The sooner we are aware of our role, the sooner we can learn how to become better at it. If our behavior shape those around us, we have to choose our words and actions wisely. Nobody is perfect, but at least we can try to be good role models to others. I am not censoring myself because of that. Instead, I am learning how to make the most of this opportunity I have been given. How are you dealing with it?

– Dom​

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