TL;DR The older I get, the less patience I have - that applies to people as well, but (fortunately) I keep it healthy -> what irritates me is not someone's lack of knowledge or mistakes made, but rather immature or non-constructive follow-up. What is really important is not really the fact that an error has been made (ofc, it's nice to minimize the consequences), but to apply proper learning & knowledge inference process.
One of the best things about working in software development is meeting so many smart, interesting people with incredible variety of past experiences & unique "warstories" to share. Unfortunately, surpisingly high percentage of them do not use their potential to full extent, many of them blocked by the primal fear:
- of being wrong (& caught in the act)
- of not knowing something (other peers do)
In our highly masculinized environment these two events are associated with manifesting weakness in front of peers. Which of course negatively impacts the status (respect, position) in the "pack".
Fear of it renders them passive.
Of course (almost) all of that is rubbish & unreasonable. Being wrong is an integral element of any learning process & no one is born omniscient.
So in general:
There's nothing wrong in being wrong or not knowing something.
What really make all the difference is your reaction when any of these events occur. I see few "typical" kinds of behaviors here:
- noobs (or some may prefer - humble ones) - learn from not knowing / making the mistake; this learning contributes to their accumulated capital of knowledge (obviously, it does not apply only to beginners, even experts learn and commit mistakes) - there's nothing wrong about noobing
- lamers - acknowledge the mistake / gap in knowledge, but "refuse" to learn; either by not caring or by not being able to "distill" knowledge out of facts - laming is all wrong
- assholes - refuse to accept the fact they are wrong / don't know something; their principle is never to show the weak spot; they are usually the loudest ones in the gang - being an asshole is (of course) all wrong
- transmitters - don't even realize they are wrong as they don't have the ability to 'listen', they only 'transmit'; you can easily recognize them by face expression: instead of listening to what someone else is saying, they already compose their own statement - being a transmitter is also all wrong
- doctrinaires - are technically right, but they solve a 'different problem' :) or in some cases - they have different goals (success criteria); this can happen to everyone, but doctrinaires are ones that lack pragmatism / tend to get easily distracted from actual target - being a doctrinaire is undoubtedly all wrong
- nihilists - *... and why should I care?"
So, let me refine the prior statement:
There's nothing wrong in being wrong or not knowing something as long as you're mature enough to behave like a noob, not lamer, asshole, transmitter, doctrinaire, ....
The tricky thing is about how the proper behavior is perceived by the environment - if peers (& seniors) act respectful & provide safe learning space, it's all good. Sadly, this is not always the case ...
If you're an expert, your job is to use your expertise to help other people, not to shit on other people for not being experts.— Tom Eastman (@tveastman) November 24, 2017