Things I learned in 2017, part 2: career

This year I didn’t spend very much time on (new) personal projects, but I had a crazy growth in my professional and personal development, so I thought I’d write about that.

It became a very long post, so I’ve divided it up into a trilogy. Read part 1 and part 3 here. Today, we’re looking at career:

Planning ahead is weird.

When it comes to my career, I’ve always been a go-with-the-flow kinda guy. I do have ambitions but I don’t plan them out, I just sort of point myself in that direction and see where I end up. This year was the first time I had to really write out my ambitions and discuss them with management here. That felt weird and counter-intuitive. Like I suddenly had a guideline to judge my progress by, no room for chance. I tossed the document aside. Then a few weeks later, most of the things I had written down had already happened naturally. Maybe planning is just making explicit what you expect to happen anyway. That’s not so bad.

I’m bad at not trying to be the best.

Whatever I choose to do, I don’t want to be the best at it, I just want to do it the best that I can do it. That’s troublesome sometimes, because if I see someone doing something I can do better, I have a tendency to assist – or just do it myself. I’ve learned that sometimes people need to figure things out by themselves. I try to be more mindful of that.

Context is my king

The diplomat in me always strives to make my communication as clear as possible to avoid misunderstandings. I realized this year that that also means it’s hard for me to be to the point sometimes. I’ve learned to be very concise in my writing for games or comics, but I’m noticing now when I write motivations for a product design decision or documents about personal development I want to include every bit of relevant context to give someone the full picture. Even now – what I’m writing here started as one post, and is now it’s a trilogy.

So, less context, more to the point.

Let it go.

The perfectionist in me wants control over everything. It makes my life more enjoyable, because I never lose things, forget what I was doing, or get injured, but it also adds significant cognitive load. I’m experimenting with caring less about more things, and things seem to be going just fine.

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