I believe in people. I also believe in people changing, and in discussion, collaboration and teamwork prevailing in the face of adversity. I also care a lot about words and the implication of language and perception. With that in mind, I present to you my industry pet peeves:
- Resources ➡ Calling people resources gets on my nerves. It’s dehumanizing and unnecessary, specially when talking directly to the people which we refer to as resources. Alternatives Say people. It’s even shorter.
- Soft Skills ➡ Are not soft. They’re hard, perhaps just as hard as the technical part, if not more. I’m a firm believer that people can learn the technical part much faster than they can change a specific behaviour or improve on what we usually call Soft Skills. Alternatives: Lately I’ve been saying Human Skills, and it seems to better fulfil the role of describing them.
- Putting tech above people ➡ Software is written by people, tested by people, designed by people and used by people. The lines of code, while relevant, should always come second to an actual people problem. Alternatives: If faced with a technical problem, and a people problem, focus on the people first. The tech problems are usually a consequence of broken communication and other people problems in the first place.
- Not looking outside our bubbles ➡ I’ve heard people say things like “I’ve never experienced any diversity related issue in our industry, I don’t think that’s real”. Not looking outside our own bubbles can blind us from the reality around us. Alternatives: Stop being an unbeliever. Most people don’t have a reason to lie about these kind of things, so believe them when they open up about them. It’s hard. It requires a lot of bravery that I don’t know I would have. The least we can do is not question it.
- Gatekeeping ➡ Tech is one of the industries with the lowest barrier of entry. It doesn’t require a college degree or any kind of studies, it is language and geography agnostic (or at least it can be) and salaries are amazingly high, even for junior positions when compared to other career paths. So, thinking that you have a right to stop people from entering the industry, or declare yourself above everyone else for whatever reason sucks. A lot. Alternatives: Getting down our high horses and embracing all the people that feel excited enough by our work that they’d want to do it as well.
These are some things I could really do without in our industry. They’re also things I’ve done in the past and sometimes when I forget, I still do. I try not to forget, mostly because I get mad at myself when it happens, but also because I believe the world is negative enough without us being small, negative forces ourselves. So I try to be a small, positive one instead whenever possible.
It’s the least I can do.