Forget your title and your role

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If I were to give career advice anyone entering the tech industry, it would be to forget your title and your role.

Today’s companies don’t want developers, testers, analysts, and project managers.

They want people who can solve problems, be trusted to follow through on commitments, and get things done.

Companies don’t want people who show up at work, waiting to be given their orders and told what to do.

They want thinkers, people who can take initiative, and can’t help but want to do good work.

The companies who are going to win, are those who are able to ignore the traditional titles and roles, and make the role fit the person.

Because at the end of the day, titles and roles don’t matter. It’s the people filling them who do.

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Are you a Samurai or a rice picker?

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Two types of people you often find on software projects are samurai and rice pickers.

Samurai are the ones who:

  • say what needs to be said
  • call BS when they see it
  • laugh in the face of unrealistic schedules and expectations
  • tackle all the hard, complex, thorny stuff no one else wants to wade into
  • are technically excellent at their craft
  • take pride in their work
  • and are comfortable in their own skins

They are usually the people you see project managers and companies fist fighting over to get onto their projects.

Every project/team needs a couple samurai.

Then there are the rice pickers.
If samurai are the pioneers, rice pickers are the settlers.

Rice pickers are the people who:

  • like to collect a pay cheque, keep their heads down, and quietly go home at the end of the day.
  • aren’t necessarily lazy, they would just rather be told what to do and not have to think for themselves.
  • have opinions but aren’t big on taking the initiative
  • generally they just like to be left alone and are quite happy sitting in the maze nibbling their cheese
  • they also form the bulk of our workforce

Now, I’m not saying everyone can or should be a samurai.
The world needs rice pickers and people to keep the lights on.

But if you find you aren’t getting the opportunities, promotions, or things you feel entitled too, take a look in the mirror and honestly ask yourself:

And are you a samurai, or a rice picker?

Thanks to Jason Calacanis for acting as the inspiration behind this post.

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