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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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How do you manage FOMO?

There's always new things happening in software development. Fear of missing out can apply to feelings around interesting movements, possibly falling behind a mainstream curve, or perhaps financial opportunities in tech.

But you're always going to be missing something, and it's not good to have anxiety over the unknown — any tips for mitigating FOMO?

Discussion (25)

booboboston profile image
Bobo Brussels

What's the opposite of FOMO? Excitement to be missing out?

Nothing seems more painful than being early to movements in software — Occasionally a small number of adopters come out "on top", but early adoption is rarely a game worth playing.

That's not absolutely true, but having that mindset is how I avoid caring too much about Web3, for example. I don't need to have my head in the sand either — I see it, I understand it (as much as anyone can), I just don't really want to be a part of it.

That doesn't mean you can't be an early adopter, just find opportunities where you are truly inspired and it clicks— and if it doesn't happen for you, don't fear that you're not a part.

link2twenty profile image
Andrew Bone

Dominos UK ran a JOMO campaign a little while ago (Joy Of Missing Out).

booboboston profile image
Bobo Brussels

I like that

justchapman profile image

Your response reminds me of something I once heard:
"It's exciting to be a pioneer but be cautious, pioneers often got their wagons burned."

That's pretty solid advice.

buphmin profile image

Joking Sarcasm Portion:

Scramble to learn anything/everything, work basically two jobs one being your actual the other the learning everything outside work, burnout, drink too much coffee, and finally grow into a senior developer where you realize it's not that important to know everything.

Real Talk Portion:

This is not an easy thing to handle, especially with the culture that has permeated through the industry. I struggled for years where I scrambled to learn new things, work on side projects and tried to find ways to advance. Ultimately I realized I was growing tired and needed to take a step back.

What really got things to click for me was an excellent talk "How I Managed to Cut my Hours in Half and Somehow Managed to Get More Done" by @jlengstorf about time management and work life balance. Each person needs to manage their time and focus on the important parts. Set aside and limit time for learning and make sure that the time you are spending focused on work is a good balance for YOU.

Another tip is understanding that really the two biggest skills you need as a developer is insight and the ability to learn. Technology comes and goes; frameworks today may not be useful tomorrow. Focus on developing your learning skills and learn to take in the big picture. Those will last your whole career.

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy

Never had it. Best way is just follow your own path, learn whatever interests you - don't just follow the herd

zakwillis profile image

Get into trading cryptocurrency (but not to risk more than you can afford to lose). It may sound strange but by doing this over time, you become indifferent to what is unlikely to be a one-off event.

Another observation from my experience of the contracting and job markets. Often - the more industrial significant technology is not going to go away quickly. So if a new version of SQL Server gets released it is going to take a good while to get adopted, and is unlikely to need you to know the latest version like yesterday.

Unfortunately, I do have conversations with agents who have zero understanding of the tech industry. One such discussion went like this.

From recruiter

One of our client is looking for a Senior Product Developer for a contract role in London
Experience in ASP>NETMVC/SQL/AWS is mandatory
Kindly let me know if you are interested in the role

ME Honest reply, indicating I have played around with Cloud tech and researched it but don't see it as an issue that I haven't formally used it. As a Solution Architect I have to research different technologies but wouldn't claim to be an expert in AWS.

Thank you for replying
AWS is very much required for the role

Me thinking
Hmmm, do they really need this? After all, it is just a server/deployment target.

So this is kind of how FOMO can bite you. Because you haven't run around hysterically salivating over the latest release, we may miss out on some opportunities.

ziker22 profile image

Forget about FOMO is not real.
You would spend whole life learning new hyped stuff.

Like take for example Remix.

You see tons of articles, everyone is excited about it like its greatest thing since the slice bread. In reality

  • its just another framework
  • not production ready
  • does not land you a job coz yeah no reasonable person would use it now

Points above might or might not change. If Remix ends up being next the revolution (highly doubt it) how long would it take for average dev to pick it up ? Few days ? 2 weeks ? Why do it prematurely.
Now substitute remix for any new tech

You just saved yourself 2 weeks of life no need to thank me.

davispeixoto profile image
Davis Peixoto

Stay in the industry for 10 to 15 years, then you'll realize that most innovations aren't innovations at all. They are old ideas/concepts with a few extra steps and basically no news or improvements. You will also realize that most real innovations take a lot of time to get their place and maturity, so you won't need to hurry at all. There is no real need to FOMO.

lukeshiru profile image
Luke Shiru

I have different lists of folks I follow. Some lists are made of like-minded people, others of people that have a completely different mindset. The former is kinda useful for me to avoid some trends like "micro-frontends", "web3", "no-code" and stuff like that, and focus in the new stuff that actually matters. The latter is just to keep tabs on stuff like that and know if it's worth to jump boat yet, or not (generally not, but it happened to me in the past with React, which I didn't liked initially).
My recommendation would be to save yourself the trouble and unless you see that everyone is talking about something, you aren't actually missing out (and I say this suffering greatly from FomO).

nyambol profile image
Michael Powe

Any anti-ADHD drug. Head down over the keyboard will relieve you of any time for worrying.

More seriously, people who create something lasting are notoriously ignorant of everything else.

"That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth traveled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. "You appear to be astonished," he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. "Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it." "To forget it!" "You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it....Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones." -- A. C. Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

avelino profile image
Thiago Avelino

plan for the future (where you want to be) and live in the present moment

I usually remove as many applications as possible from my phone that make me anxious, that make me get in the loop of opening and closing any application without doing anything, e.g:
Sunday afternoon I have nothing to do (in reality I don't want to do anything), I would open instagram and scroll the feed, after a few minutes I would close it, I would open twitter and scroll the feed, after a few minutes I would close it and open the email client and I had nothing, I would go back in an infinite loop until I realized I was anxious.

Today I have no email, twitter, linkedin and other apps on my cell phone, "never" used to do something really useful that brought me expressive results. I can't remember the last time I answered a serious email on my cell phone, most of the time the cell phone email client was a trigger to go to the laptop to answer - again making me anxious.

feketegy profile image

You don't.

I wrote about this in a blog post here:

You simply resist the urge of FOMO, but still keep up-to-date with software development.

Perfect example: I don't jump on web3, NFT development, etc. just yet (for various unpopular resons 😁) I'm only aware of what's been developed in that space.

kwstannard profile image
Kelly Stannard

Get into automated testing process improvements. It is applicable everywhere, very few people give a hoot about testing so you always feel like the vanguard, and there is no such thing as perfect so you can keep at improvements forever.

renestalder profile image
René Stalder • Edited on

Mitigation for me happens by knowing what works best for me to create the best possible outputs. If something new comes, I have to ask myself whether this solves something I can't do currently but seems important for what I do.

I feel at a certain point in your coding career you change in this new mode. Before that, you want to try everything out, everything looks fun, new and shiny. And after that point, you feel like you know which solutions solve the problems you solve day to day best.

As an example, I found Webpack always cumbersome to use, just for the reason of how much more complexity it adds to your application if you want to get the bundling right. Then Parcel came, gave it a try, but it added another form of complexity. And at some esbuild came, so I used that, but was very raw to work with, and then Vite came, and it was clear to me, this finally solves my bundling problems the way I need it to do.

As another example, when Astro was released, I went through the whole documentation to see if this solves anything that bothers me, but then eventually came to the conclusion, that I simply don't do static-sites with JavaScript frameworks and therefore, the value proposition doesn't apply for me.

And: For the fact that the entire web talks about React since years, I never used it and can still buy food.

oguimbal profile image
Olivier Guimbal

By realizing that even if there might sometime be an incentive to be the first, the bests are often not the firsts: Let those early adopters make the early mistakes, learn from them, and build with a better knownledge while they will be busy fixing their mistakes.

The example is a bit cheesy, but I believe every GAFAM has a begining that looked like this, somehow: They built on the knowledge earlier adopters mistakes.

lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

By realizing that hypes rarely survive – but if they do, you can still catch up with the development now that it's matured, a few months later.

On the other hand, allow yourself to be swept up into interesting developments. It may not be as useful, but it's usually a lot of fun.

liviufromendtest profile image
Liviu Lupei

There are always multiple Hype Trains leaving the station.
I never know which to jump on, so I just end up waiting.

kayart profile image
Artemy Kaydash

IMO, Stoicism is one of the best ways to handle FOMO. I highly recommend you to read the Discourses of Epictetus and Seneca's Moral Epistles.

leob profile image

left that behind me years ago lol ... decided to specialize, focus, focus, focus.

noahflk profile image

By budgeting some time to look at cool new stuff. I try to spend 95% of my time on actual work and maybe 5% on exploring interesting new things.

vindecodex profile image
Vincent Villaluna

You won't get FOMO if you only do what you love.

alaindet profile image
Alain D'Ettorre

The best FOMO killers are these three questions

  • Will it have a positive impact on what I already do?
  • Will it negatively affect me if I don't learn it?
  • Do I understand the basics?
alanmbarr profile image
Alan Barr

Mastering the fundamentals will usually lead to sustained performance over time. If it is truly important I'll be forced to learn it.

drsensor profile image
Fahmi Akbar Wildana

I treat FOMO as a hobby rather than fear. So following trend, speculating, and thinking about the trade-off is just like following soccer matches & transfer-news.