My Career-Changing Resolution

I'm not big on resolutions, but every now and then I realize that something has to change.

In December of 2006 I started having the "something has to change" feeling.  My career was going pretty well, but I always felt bogged down.  I started thinking about what was in my way and I came to the conclusion that I was wasting time fighting with co-workers.  It wasn't always head-on "2 developers enter, 1 developer leaves" Thunderdome style fighting, but it was fighting nonetheless. 

I made a resolution to be more positive.

After telling one of my close colleagues about my resolution he replied, "Dude, you can be as optimistic as you want, this place isn't going to change."

I explained to him that I wasn't going to be more optimistic, that optimism is something you feel and it's VERY difficult to change how you feel.  Instead, I was going to be more positive.  Regardless of how I felt, I was going to look for the most positive action I could take and pursue it even if it went against my emotions at the time.

It was hard.

It was worth it.

The first month or two were difficult.  The most positive action I could think of most of the time was to be quiet.  To simply not say any of the cynical, cutting, or downright mean things I was thinking (regardless of how funny they were).  A wonderful thing happened: Things stopped getting worse.  When an argument or flame war broke out, I no longer made it worse.  Things not getting worse is a huge step to them getting better.

My colleague was right: that place didn't change, but I did.  In my next gig (where I am now), I practiced staying calm and taking positive action.  I can assure you that after 2 years it is not only easier, but it is worth it.  I would never have been able to advance to where I am now without my resolution in late 2006.

Being a Big Swinging Developer is about how you act regardless of how you feel.  You are paid for your results and I can promise that you will get further faster if you start by being more positive.  Give it a try and your workdays will be happier and more productive.


  1. Robin Grieves (DO'D) says:

    I have heard or read the following quote by Benjamin Disraeli ascribed to his successful relationship with Queen Victoria and, alternatively, to his successful relationship with his wife of many years,

    "I never deny. I never contradict. I sometimes forget."

    As to motivation for changing one's behavior through resolutions or any other means, remember, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting."

    Finally, the resolution put into action:

    "Illegitimi non carborundum."