Do you feel the same?
We all like to perceive ourselves as 100% professionals, real craftsmen, brushing up and sharpening our toolset all the time. And whole community requires us to do so: attend a conference, write a blog, learn a new language, present something at a local meet-up, tweet something interesting, write an open source tool that will be used by developers from every continent. The list seems endless.
But unfortunately reality isn’t so bright. There are high expectations to be met by every, single aspiring developer. And even if I try not to disappoint myself, sometimes I fail. I fail miserably and consciously. And in such moments of my life I know that I am 9-17 developer. And deeply inside I hate myself for that.
We tend to keep it underneath, showing only our fully professional face: “I don’t play computer games” they say, “I read five blog posts every evening”, “I don’t watch stupid TV series”. But in most cases this is simply a lie. A lie prepared for other people in our industry to show-off as a pure professional, a role model to admire. And the more we lie the more we hate ourselves for not living up to expectations that surround us and that we have created ourselves.
The truth is completely different. I like to laze about from time to time, there are evenings I spend on watching football highlights or CSI: Miami episode with my Wife. I try to read 10 pages of technical book every day, but there are weeks that I don’t read anything related to work. I just don’t. Instead I do play computer games or read something for entertainment (I call it off-topic books), recently I’ve finally managed to win Champions League in Football Manager with my small, favourite club – the achievement that I’ve never been able to unlock since I was 15. And I was really, really happy, despite the fact that “wasted” several hours of my life.
There are periods of time when we are really in “self-development” mode: we create, we read, we learn. But there are also days when a silent voice in our head says: let’s do something cool and useless. And instead of hating ourselves, we should accept that we are not ideal human beings like whole craftsmanship movement wants us to be. We should embrace moments of both types: these effective, spent on learning and improving skills but also these lazy, non-productive ones. I think that they are inevitable part and parcel of our lives, these moments of childish levity and pure joy of doing something completely useless. And they allow us to gather motivation and refill energy to start doing something valuable again.
So maybe we should accept it instead of hiding it deeply inside and bashing ourselves. It is more honest and definitely more healthy approach.