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Jonathan Silvestri
Jonathan Silvestri

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How does this make them feel?

I want you to remember the question "How does this make them feel?" . Ask it to yourself before and after any conversation, 1:1, touch base, sync, etc. It has been the single greatest benefit towards my engineering career. More than learning JavaScript and React. More than any lesson I've taken or talk I've listened to.

I ask myself this question throughout any interaction in my social circles. It is an illuminating and enlightening question that teaches yourself as much as it teaches those around you. It helps you to understand where your level of empathy is and how to make adjustments as needed.

Being able to ask yourself "How does this make them feel?" and answer it honestly is a great indicator of emotional growth and will make you a more valuable, central member of your team. You can set the example for others to follow, and end up laying the groundwork to create a team full of empathetic, collaborative, and compassionate individuals. I can think of no better type of team to land with than this.

One of the most troubling aspects of tech -- the way underrepresented groups are treated -- would be much less severe of a problem if bad faith actors stopped and asked themselves "How does this make them feel?". Call me an optimist, but when faced with the reality of a situation, which the answer to this question helps us to uncover, it's my belief that they would have much less hate and harassment, and much more love and camaraderie. Empathy is a great skill for all engineers to have.

Tech should be a welcoming community full of empathetic individuals. It should be a place where everyone feels safe and can post something on Twitter without someone making a rude/inappropriate/derogatory comment. Every single person who has ever said or did something that made someone else feel unsafe or unwanted has never stopped to ask themselves "How does this make them feel?".

Don't do that. Don't be that person. Be better.

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