Self deprecation as a bad habit

The outline of a person blurred by red lights.

Photo by Guillaume Bourdages on Unsplash

I have always been prone to making self-deprecating jokes and comments. In the last couple of years, however, I’ve been working to wean myself off of this bad habit. It’s hard and slow-going, but I feel like I am making some progress.

Continue reading

Try not to overthink it

I don’t believe in talent. But maybe that’s because I am mildly talented in a couple of ways, so it’s easy for me to say. School came easily to me, I didn’t have to bother with homework and could pull off solving things on the blackboard if I got called on. At least until high school — then I got a rude awakening in the form of my first failed test. Turns out high school math wasn’t nearly as easy anymore.

Continue reading

Stop bothering the noise

I forget which teacher I heard this from — could have been one of Pema Chodron’s talks, or perhaps Shaila Catherine. It’s a comment about how sometimes, when we’re meditating, we get easily distracted by anything that is going on around us.

Continue reading

Tiny sprout growing in fine yellow sand

Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

Your first one-on-one (aka 1:1) with a new report is a great time to set the stage for your relationship. It is the perfect time to start building mutual understanding and, eventually, trust.

Continue reading

In praise of constraints

A mountain road winding between snowed-over trees.

Photo by Kimon Maritz on Unsplash

It is so much easier to work within a constraint. It doesn’t matter if it is a pattern for a scarf you’re knitting, a product spec for the software you’re building, or a prompt for the piece you’re writing.

I’ve heard the confused argument that, since autonomy is one of the core components of motivation, the fewer constraints you give your team or your employees, the better. That is, of course, bullshit.

Continue reading

Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash During the first couple of years of my career, I was preoccupied with “doing enough work”. I was afraid that if I didn’t produce working code fast enough, I would be found to be insufficient, lacking “what it takes” or, worse, lazy. I would come to the office on Saturdays and Sundays to put in some extra hours. It felt good.

Continue reading

Author's picture

Ana Ulin

Working to be a better human every day. Steward of engineering teams. I see you.