Having blockers is an everyday part of us as humans, and if we're any honest with ourselves, we would truly admit they happen to the best of us. On some days, you don't understand the task at hand, while other times, your very problem might be not knowing how to break it down into smaller pieces you can flesh out one after the other.
I encounter blockers a whole lot, and last week, I not only had the challenge to cope with, but my issue also led to a few other discoveries. In this piece, I discuss the lessons I learned while battling my recent difficulty, hoping you pick a thing or two.
Although the week began late for me, I finally got up and running. My task was to build a UI(user interface - more like a webpage in layman terms) that would be used by another team member later. (call me a type of John the Baptist to Jesus in the team😂). I began based on how I understood the challenge before me, even though I didn't have total clarity on what it was.
Lesson 1: Get ready to get your hands busy as you're probably going to have more days with blockers than without them; hence, be prepared to deal with the situation.
Trust me, doing nothing is the easiest in the world, and although waiting to find someone who spoon-feeds with the final answer is very comfortable, we all need to realize that apart from it not projecting us well as individuals who can wiggle their way through the mud, doing something guarantees one's toils has fruits, no matter how little. Furthermore, one gets to learn(or just encounter in some cases) something new along the line.
Lesson 2: Ask questions and escalate issues to superiors(or people with better understanding).
I will say this now - it is human to ask questions. There is this saying in my mother tongue of Yoruba which goes "abere ona kii shina", translated in English as "whoever asks for direction to a place is never lost".
Oftentimes, we hold back on asking questions reasons which include:
- Not wanting to sound stupid,
- Not wanting to look incompetent,
- Rebuttal or insults,
- Pride and arrogance, etc.
Although some(or all) of these reasons are valid, they must never be big enough to stop us from asking questions.
Am I encouraging anyone to be lazy and not willing to think things through? Not at all. Even-though I encourage peers to be independent, asking questions and peering with experts always come handy if need be.
P.S: Dear Nigerians, although asking questions is not something you are used to, please realize it is very ideal, logical, and right to do so contrary to what you were made to believe while growing up.
Lesson 3: Be resourceful. Virgin lands only stay the way for as long as you desire.
I know you look at web developers as geeks and techies 👩💻, but permit me to burst your bubble: as much as the average 'dev' understands a few engineering concepts and principles, there are some friends we know that are always right beside us, which are "Google", "Stackoverflow" and "documentation". Successful programmers don't know all things right off their head, rather they know how to source for materials to get their work done.
Don't be lazy! Source for materials and keep moving.
In addition to my experience last week, I discovered some areas that needed modification in others' resources my task depended on.
Lesson 4: No period of difficulty is ever wasted; You not only know more, you might also be of help to others if(and when) they encounter similar challenges in the future.
Hey! the idea is to learn to embrace challenges whenever they come. "The first step in solving a problem is identifying the problem" is a common saying; everyone needs to know and realize blockers (difficulties, challenges, etc) are going to come sooner or later; hence, it is better to plan and prepare to face them, as there is no running away.
Care to share your experience(s) in this respect?
Please feel free to leave your comments.