Or the Pseudo Random Thought Generator. I've taken a blocation (blog + vaction) for a few weeks now, and my mind is full of random thoughts, none of which seem to expand into a nice, modular post. Instead of me going through the torture of making a readable post out of them, I decided to simply put you good folks through it.
* Familial teams
Have you heard the phrase "You folks are like family to me (sic).", typically from an Indian? Somehow, we Indians assume that the family is the highest unit of social cohesion. Is that really the case? Did we choose our families? Did we choose our parents, our siblings, or our relatives? Isn't that simply a function of the gene, as opposed to relationships we cultivate - most notably friends? Why is it that a genetic relationship is deemed higher than once that we chose? Why must the "meme" which is biologically more powerful than the gene, get a higher pedestal?
Anyways, that is not the point I want to make. The next time you hear someone (most typically a supervisor) tell you that he thinks you're family, quit your job, change your home and run; run like your life depends on it. Because what the supervisor is really saying is that he thinks he is the "head" of the family (and that you're the tail), and he'll be the only one making all the decisions, and if he ever quits, he expects you (after all, don't family members move if the head moves?) to follow suit.
(PS: Before you guys get any great ideas, no, I'm not against families, and my own family and relatives are a very nice bunch. Thank you.)
* The hardest thing about being a mentor/coach
For a long time, I thought the hardest part of being a coach or a mentor, or a team/tech lead would be giving negative feedback. It is still high in my list, but I've found something harder. And that is to keep your hands tied when there is cool work to be done. To let your team-mates pickup the cool feature, or the delicious design, or the simply salivating opportunity to work on a hot new piece of technology: all this while you remain on the side-lines, wringing your hands in (mock) despair. That is really hard. For one that believes that the only worthwhile contribution to a project is in its engineering, this is especially hard on me.