We all have this tendency of looking back on our accomplishments at the end of the year to reflect on our professional and personal development. As there is an already existing retrospective about the technical details of the SAP Commerce training in our Insights section, I would like to emphasize mainly the personal aspects of my development. This was my first year in a real work environment, so I have a lot to say. But in case you are a senior, this article might make you feel nostalgic about the start of your journey, or at least makes you think “Oh, I can relate to this, I’ve been there before”.
Professionalism vs. routine
When I was a teenager and I first started to look around and analyze jobs, my favorite type was the one in which in max. 5-10 years you become a professional by gaining experience and after you reach that point, your work becomes a routine for you: you can do it while listening to music, or while talking with people or along practicing 1-2 hobbies without any difficulties. In other words: your work seems so easy to do because of the routine, that it “sparks joy” even for others to watch it. And at the same time, you can declare that you are also professional because of it.
A big lesson that I’ve learned while working in this field is that routine is not equivalent to professionalism, or at least not in IT. Yes, you can acquire a routine. It must be very pleasant if you solve a ticket and in the end, you don’t have to rebuild the system multiple times and debug your code. But professionalism is the way you handle new situations or the way you start planning the solution for a new task and co-operate with your team. If you are a young developer, most of the time you will find yourself facing unknown issues. And here comes the second pair of personal values that I could add to my development vessel.
Adaptability and humbleness
It’s known that species that can’t adapt, become extinct. We are here, so we must do it well… Yes, it’s easy to adapt to your own needs, to your own choices, for the sake of your good. But there’s another level of adaptability which goes hand in hand with humbleness: let’s suppose you implemented a working solution, but you have this strange feeling that it’s not complete, or maybe it would be hard for the posterity to understand it. Or maybe it’s only your conscience telling you that you should also try another solution that could be more elegant. So, you end up digging deeper into the topic, but as a reward, at the end of the process, you can say that you tried your best.
There’s one more area where humbleness can be useful: when writing documentation. Most of us don’t like to do it, because it feels repetitive and if you want to do it well, you must place yourself entirely in the perspective of the future reader. But the fun fact is that the more humble you are while documenting some setup or configuration steps, the more confident the reader is when he uses your documentation. With a shorter wording: if you give a little humbleness today, someone will get more confidence tomorrow. And as we aren’t lone wolves, isn’t this fulfilling?
Communication and synthesis
Although I still have to do self-improvement regarding communication, this is my favorite part. Communication is used almost everywhere. So, even if you make a small step in changing your attitude towards communication, it will have a major impact on your life. I must admit that in the first weeks of work it seemed weird to me that we had a meeting regarding almost every topic that came to our site. Sometimes it felt overwhelming or exaggerated. As time passed, I got more used to it. But the meaningful thing happened in the background, subtilely: without noticing it, I started using this concept also at home, with family and friends, in situations that needed some organizing process. And I noticed that it was effective: things went more smoothly and there were fewer conflicts caused by misunderstanding. Also, everybody went into a more initiative manner.
That sounds good, but communication and planning are only the first part of the whole process. As the task doesn’t get resolved by itself, at some point, we must synchronize the collected ideas and afterward put things in action, whether it’s a business task or a to-do list in the family. Otherwise, the process loses its dynamic vibe and the involved team becomes demotivated.
I’m still the same newbie and other surprises
Some tasks make you feel like you’re on your first day of employment, but I’m not referring to this by saying I’m still the same newbie. I don’t know the exact reason, I simply have this tendency to feel like I’m a complete newbie, because I’m aware that there are still so many things to learn. The only time when I don’t have this feeling is when I can help someone who is more inexperienced in a topic than me. Experiencing this contradictory feeling was surprising. But if we think about this topic more generically, when you’re constantly improving yourself and you are part of a permanent development process, it makes sense if I say that in the morning you are the newbie version of your evening self: because you become more day by day. So, feeling occasionally like a newbie is legitimate, showing that you are in a healthy, balanced environment.
The other part of the subtitle represents a series of tangible surprises that morally had a positive impact and they were truly unexpected (maybe because they were first-timers for me): the goodies received on the first day of employment, the fancy cake delivered for us at the first anniversary of the company, the Christmas gifts delivered by Santa and his elves, the photo shooting session to get more professional CV pictures, the company T-shirt and the first team-building event, and last but not least the presents received because of my first anniversary in the company.