Developer Tea

Bringing Your Whole Self to Work

Episode Summary

In today's episode, we'll be discussing the importance of a holistic approach to working.

Episode Notes

In today's episode, we'll be discussing the importance of a holistic approach to working.

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode.

In 2018, Linode is joining forces with Developer Tea listeners by offering you $20 of credit - that's 4 months of FREE service on the 1GB tier - for free! Head over to and use the code DEVELOPERTEA2018 at checkout.

Episode Transcription

Have you ever been told to separate your work life from your personal life? In today's episode, I'm going to explain why that's probably not such a great idea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help driven developers just like you connect to your career purpose so that you can do better work and have a positive influence on the people around you. That's the goal of the show. In today's episode, we're talking about this idea of bringing all of yourself to work, but really what we're talking about is what it means to have a principle or to develop a principle and what makes for a good principle. The idea of separating your personal life from your work life, this is not a discussion on balance. Balance is a complex discussion that has unfortunately been kind of minimized to the idea of setting your hours and being really rigid about that or having a specific set time that you're going to turn off your email. No matter what, it's going off at that point. Every person practices balance differently, but that's not really what we're talking about in today's episode. But we're talking about more is bringing your entire perspective, as we talked about last week with the three episodes on perspective, bringing all of your perspective to work with you. No matter what your balance looks like, if you're not bringing all of your brain, if you're not bringing all of your experiences to the table, then really you're going to have a hard time becoming effective, becoming a truly good developer. And more importantly, perhaps you're going to have a hard time enjoying your job because who you are and what you think in your perception, those things are greatly affecting on your ability to appreciate what you're doing at work or at home, no matter where you are. Now before we go much further, I do want to say that it's impossible to scope your perspective. You do bring your whole self to work every day. It is, however, possible for you to squelch that perspective, to squelch the ideas that come to mind as you have them. If you recognize an idea that is coming to your mind that is coming from that personal life experience, if you see that coming and you turn it off, you cut it short before you let it grow, that can be a problem. And here's the reason. All of our experiences, all of the things that we go through as humans, not as developers and not as parents or friends, not as citizens as humans, are holistic experiences. These are inseparable from each other. Our brain doesn't really create categories for parenting versus work time. Our brain doesn't really care. It doesn't really know to create those categories. These are things that we have created in society to be able to manage things. It's a way of allocating resources or allocating time or whatever it is that we need to collaborate on. We've created this meta system of separating those concerns. But your brain doesn't work that way. Your brain doesn't separate concerns. This is why you can have an epiphany about work while you're playing with your child. Or you can have an epiphany about a problem that you have at home in the middle of the work day. And for us to try to limit those is really not a healthy thing for our brains. Now that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be mindful of the intentional separations that we want to create. But instead, we should allow these different areas of life to be teachers to each other, to put a microscope on one area and learn from it for another. And we're going to talk about exactly what this means and what we can gain from this process right after we talk about today's sponsor. Today's sponsor is Linode. Linode is sponsoring Developer Teathroughout this first quarter of 2018. And they've been a sponsor for a long time on this show. And I'm so thankful that Linode is a sponsor because I care a lot about this audience. I care about your success. And when I get emails from people that have listened to this show saying that they have overcome a battle, maybe they got their first position as developer or maybe a new perspective has changed the way they work or the way they think in a positive way. There are so many things that I hear from developers who listen to the show about. So I care very much about the audience of the show. And I can say that Linode cares for the audience of the show as well. Linode is providing you resources as a developer, specifically Linux in the cloud, Linux service in the cloud. They're providing that to you at an excellent price point. Just $5 a month can get you a gigabyte of RAM and a Linux node. And it's super easy to spin up. So they're providing this at a good price point, but they're also providing you with extra resources and customer support, 24-7 customer support. They have high availability on their servers as well. They have 10 data centers and their servers are top of the line equipment. So all of this to say that Linode is really providing a service to developers because they are made up of developers. People like you, people like me who use their service, those are the same kinds of people they're building Linode. So another developer is out there trying to make Linode better for you. So I encourage you to check it out if you haven't yet, head over to slash Linode. Linode is going to give you $20 worth of credit just for using the code Developer Tea2018. It's another way that they're showing that the care about the audience of Developer Tea and developers in general. So slash Linode, make sure you use the code Developer Tea2018. You'll get $20 worth of credit on your account that you can use on anything. If you use it on that $5 server, for example, you get four months of service basically for free. Check it out, slash Linode. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So we're talking about how bringing your whole self, bringing your whole perspective to work and not limiting those crossovers between the areas of your life, not allowing those things to squelch each other, not trying to put them in boxes and neatly fit them on the shelf, but instead allowing them to teach other areas of your life. The reason this is important and what you can get out of this, we've talked about the pillars of Developer Tea for this year, principles practice and purpose. The idea of a principle is very simple. A principle is something that holds true. It's a kind of a underlying system, something that you can rely on in a given scenario and most likely in another given scenario. Very seldom lead as a principle change based on your context. Very simple example of this is interpersonal skills. If you want to resolve conflict with another person, an obvious and relatively culturally shared way of resolving conflict is to start by listening. This applies whether you're at work or at home, if you're visiting family or friends, this conflict resolution principle of listening first is applicable in all of those scenarios. When you allow yourself to take principles from other areas of your life, when you allow yourself to apply principles from, for example, your hobby, if you learn a principle while you are, I don't know, maybe woodworking is your hobby. Maybe you learn the principle of measure twice and cut once. This is a common crafting principle or kind of an admonition to crafters, but the same concept can apply in some way to developers. Use your twice cut once, of course you're not cutting anything, you don't have materials, but perhaps having someone review your code, that is the same underlying principle of measuring twice. Making sure something is right before you take an action that you can't go back on. This is an underlying principle system that is true no matter what. I highly recommend that you allow yourself to share those principles, those underlying systems. In ways of rewording principles that you already have to be applicable in those different scenarios and in those different contexts. I think what you're going to find is that once you allow this to happen, you're going to start seeing systems more clearly. You're going to start seeing metaphorical similarities between your different activities and how things work and how they respond to your inputs, how they respond to the environment, how you can interact with them. This is incredibly important and I hope that you can take this concept and apply it in your development work each and every day. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope you will take the time to think about your principles, think about the ones that you haven't been bringing into your work. And also think about the things that you learn at work that you haven't taken home with you that could improve your life holistically. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you again to Lenoad for sponsoring today's episode. If you want to get $20 worth of credit on Lenoad, use the code DeveloperT2018 at checkout and head over to slash Lenoad today. Thanks so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.