The journey back to being an individual contributor

Isn’t saying that I want to write code again like giving up?MotivationOne of the most common questions I get asked is about what motivated me to switch tracks.

Looking back now I realize that there were a few things I know about myself that I didn’t before:I love writing code.

Working with technology and exploring new problem spaces drives me.

Enabling others via proof of concepts and building things gets me excited.

I measure my success on what I personally accomplish.

As a manager, I viewed my job as enabling my team to succeed.

When the team achieved success, I was excited for the members of my team.

As folks grew and tackled bigger responsibilities, I was excited for them, but I never really felt a sense of accomplishment from it.

I’m driven to create impact.

After many talks with my partner, I was convinced that I could have a greater impact for my organization by stepping away from my current role.

LearningsThough I decided to step off the management track, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to manage a great team.

I learned a ton while being a manager.

Some of these are things people told me early on, but didn’t quite register until later.

Some might seem obvious, but they’re worth re-iterating.

Stop worrying about writing code.

The sooner you can let go of the problems you were solving, the sooner you can start thinking about the new problems you must solve.

Reach out to your new peers for help.

All managers were new at this at some point.

They understand the challenges of the role and can share valuable experiences.

Give responsibilities to people on your team.

It provides them a chance to step up, and you a chance to free up some of your time to look ahead.

Owning a problem, product or project doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself.

Find a way to measure your input and output for the week that motivates you.

Find a good coach.

I was lucky enough to have access to some great coaches that helped me work through challenges I faced early on.

The futureFolks ask me whether or not I am giving up on management altogether.

The answer is I don’t know.

What I do know is that at this point in my career, it’s not right for me.

I’m happy to write code and believe this is where I can have the most impact at this time.


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