The 3 Sailors

Someone once told me a lie: Engineering Leadership, Engineering Managers, UI Developers, Product Managers are "failed coders."

I've also heard Managers say of Senior Coders that they couldn't "make it" as managers and should just stay engineers.

These are the statements that build egos. There is no value in this hostility.

Of course, I understand where it comes from: feeling like your skills to execute your role are underappreciated and undervalued. It's a defensive response that, in turn, devalues other's skills & talents.

When people start underappreciating each other in this way, something is broken. It forms a toxicity that festers and permeates the team.

It reminds me of a joke:

3 sailors are in a lifeboat that's sprung a leak. One sailor is rowing. After a while he says: "You guys have it easy. I'm rowing so much, my arms are burning - but if I stop, we'll never make it to shore." Another sailor is constantly scooping out the water that's coming in through the leak. He replies: "You guys have it easy. If I stop scooping out the water, our boat will sink." The third sailor is just sitting there. He isn't doing anything, but after a while he panics. Finally, he says: "You guys have it easy. If I can't help you both get along, we're doomed."


Note: I can't say for certain if this is an old proverb, new proverb, or something I created as a false memory adapted from a similar story. Because I can't verify the source, it may be or may not be something I invented. If that's the case, great! If I didn't create it and anyone knows the original source please share with me so I can give credit where it's due.


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