As Your Manager I'm Going To Need You To Care Less
I really appreciate that you do care, and I don’t want you to stop. We are here doing this thing because we think that we can do it and because it is worthwhile. I want us to believe in and strive for success. It’s good to feel disappointment when we don’t make milestones or hit goals. It’s fine if you want to think about some of these problems while you are walking the dog or doing the dishes. And I’m all for you researching potential solutions on your commute home or hacking up a useful tool on a lazy evening. But I have a list of things I need you to care more about than this project:
- Your mental health.
- Your physical health.
- Your emotional health.
- Points 1 - 3 above of the people in your life.
- Your primary relationships, be they family, friends and/or pets.
- Your hobbies - the activities in your life that bring your joy, or respite, depending on your natural resting state.
- The things that are important to you, whatever they are, that aren’t work.
- Getting enough sleep.
If you find yourself caring more about work than about the items on this list then maybe there is an unhealthy situation developing in the project. Please tell me about it! Don’t assume I know the problem is there, remember I hired you because you are smarter than me. I’m a manager and my unit of production is a productive employee. If you burnout and leave that’s a massive drop in my KPIs. Not to mention, we’ve worked together for a while now and I’ve grown rather fond of you and would prefer not to see you stressed if it can at all be avoided.
Let’s face it, since the majority of software development projects fail we need to get good at working for the journey and not the destination. There are a million reasons this thing might not work out and we only control a tiny handful of them. So let’s do the best job we can and still be here tomorrow to start all over again, a little wiser and with no less energy and enthusiasm.