Video sponsor: United States Digital Service (https://usds.gov)
Your job title says "software engineer", but you seem to spend most of your time in meetings. You'd like to have time to code, but nobody else is onboarding the junior engineers, updating the roadmap, talking to the users, noticing the things that got dropped, asking questions on design documents, and making sure that everyone's going roughly in the same direction. If you stop doing those things, the team won't be as successful. But now someone's suggesting that you might be happier in a less technical role. If this describes you, congratulations: you're the glue. If it's not, have you thought about who is filling this role on your team?
Every senior person in an organisation should be aware of the less glamorous - and often less-promotable - work that needs to happen to make a team successful. Managed deliberately, glue work demonstrates and builds strong technical leadership skills. Left unconscious, it can be extremely career limiting. It pushes people into less technical roles and even out of the industry.
Let's talk about how to allocate glue work deliberately, frame it usefully and make sure that everyone is choosing a career path they actually want to be on.
About Tanya Reilly
Tanya Reilly is a Principal Software Engineer at Squarespace working on infrastructure and site reliability. Before Squarespace she spent 12 years in Site Reliability Engineering at Google. She is originally from Ireland, but is now an enthusiastic New Yorker. Tanya likes raspberry pi, coding on trains and figuring out how systems will break. She blogs at noidea.dog.
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