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.