I am very lucky to work with a man who cares more about others than himself. Being a social worker sitting with 4 developers on a daily basis presents is challenges. We think and act differently. We approach problems differently and use different forms of communication. But a guy I work with can be deep into his own problems or tasks and see what others need.
To be honest, he is one of the smartest guys I have ever been around. For the past 5 years I come into work, we say a few words to each other and we both put our heads down and work on tasks. There have been days where we say “Good morning” and the next words are “Good Evening” and we sit 5 feet apart for 8 hours. The other week, I was having a hard time solving a problem. I was tossing the mouse on my desk, getting up and walking around, saying a few words that I shouldn’t have and then walking out of the room in frustration of not being able to solve a problem that he showed me how to solve before.
Here are what I think the issues were:
- What takes me an hour takes him 5 minutes.
- It is a waste of time for him to help me solve the same problem twice.
- I should know better.
- I should learn and take notes.
- It cost our company money.
Here is what I think he sees:
- He would rather me ask 5 minutes into the task then me waste an hour of my time. But he also knows that I want to solve it on my own, so he picks the right time to respond.
- He would rather teach me again and solve the problem.
- He knows and understands I am not a software engineer and does not expect me to understand everything.
- He understands that I have a lot of tasks and knows I cannot remember everything he teaches me.
- He would rather solve the problem than worry about the cost of the task. If we solve the problem, there is a worker somewhere working with a family or child who is going to benefit.
He does all of these things without saying or asking anything. I am sure in the back of his mind he is saying, “I have showed him this several times, why does he not gets it. I do not have time for this again!!!” Most developers are men/women of few words. He reads my body language and responds. He sends me an email or IM to solve the problem. This is something that you cannot train someone to do, they just do it. He has taught me a lot over the years and I have learned more about software and coding then I ever thought I could learn. It does not matter if it is 10:00 am or 10:00 pm, he can see when I need help if he is across the desk or if we are both working from our own home.
He may be a software engineer, and I may be a social worker, but in cases like this the roles are reversed. He is the social worker and I am the just the guy trying to be like the software engineer.
When comparing the two professions, you could not find two that are any more different. Somehow he does both without realizing it. He is really a social worker, but I am not sure if he realizes it.