mental-health,

Don't Wait To Feel Ready

Jef DeWitt Jef DeWitt Follow Dec 02, 2021 · 3 mins read
Don't Wait To Feel Ready Photo by https://unsplash.com/@charlesdeluvio
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According to Internet Live Stats (Internet Live Stats, n.d.), roughly 7.5 billion blog posts are written per day. In four months that amounts to a trillion blog posts.

Those numbers discouraged me.

I thought that more qualified people had already written everything I’m writing now. I doubted I could bring anything novel or meaningful to the table. I feared only adding to the noise.

I still have those fears. But here I am writing anyway. Not waiting for better-prepared people to do what I want to do. Sometimes it’s best to ship it, ready or not.

Imperfectionism

I spend a lot of time on my posts. I aim to earn the three minutes you take to read them. But I don’t strive for perfection. It feels weird to write that, as if I’m admitting some dirty secret.

That’s not to say I don’t take it seriously. I do. My goal is to offer a tip, an insight, or a small win for your time. That’s it.

How I got started in everything I’ve ever done – my sobriety, my career, and my relationships – is by owning my imperfection as I go.

Just Ship It

This applies to code too.

It makes me nervous to write this but sometimes it’s a necessary truth: Write suboptimal code. Write duplicated code. Hard code strings in template files. Forget about edge cases for the time being. Iterate on as many ideas as possible.

Half-rear-ended work is better than no-rear-ended work. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Or good enough. There, I said it: perfectionism be damned.

You can brute-force the pants off of a project to create some momentum. Later on, come back and iterate on it. Clean it up. Test it. For new devs, just build stuff anyway you know how to. You will learn. You will get better.

Start Before You’re Ready

Summer 2021 was job interviews and conversations with recruiters. I worked full time, attempted to have a personal life, and completed my undergrad. I didn’t feel ready to job hunt.

Most job descriptions felt out of reach. And that’s even with years of experience already under my belt. I compared myself to imaginary devs who write optimized code right out of the box. I interviewed anyway. Some went nowhere. I bombed some take-home projects. I choked while whiteboard interviewing with Amazon. But I learned and got better each time.

In August, I landed the job that is the fulfillment of a dream that began seven years ago. Doing work I enjoy. From anywhere.

The Takeaway

Let me be very clear, I’m not advocating against planning and preparation. It’s great to have a plan. But it’s okay to still move forward without one. Or without feeling ready.

Getting a project off the ground and taking a step back to see what you’ve done is a fantastic step one. Step two can be to learn from the successes and failures of step one.

There are times I didn’t know what I was doing until I got knee-deep into something. Only then, I discovered things I hadn’t known to consider before. It was messy. And it was inefficient. But I learned in practice is more valuable than in theory. I didn’t wait for the perfect plan.

How do you view perfectionism?

References

Internet Live Stats (n.d.) Blog posts published today. Internet Live Stats. https://www.internetlivestats.com/

Jef DeWitt
Written by Jef DeWitt