Fighting Apathy : Finding Empathy
Project Phase: Where you work with others.
This is the 10th week of our 13 week bootcamp. My peers and I have transitioned from Juniors to Seniors and a new group of women have started their journey to be developers. It's a very exciting time.
As seniors, we have tested our knowledge in assessments and now we are onto projects.
There are 3 projects that make up senior phase:
- Personal Project
Each project has a role. The first to simulate working as a team and using git. The second to stretch the imagination to try new things. And the third to create a portfolio level product to present to potential employers.
It's all a journey and part of a journey. I have a particular goal in mind. I'm aiming to be hired within a month of leaving.
I'm soaking up all the information like it's life and I'm putting it into practice like it's medicine. That translates to a hyper activation of my competitive gene.
I desire to meet people at their level, but I can also get frustrated when I feel they're not trying. In this artificial abridged version of the coding process where stress is a higher factor, I have snipped and snapped, cringed and cracked and it can be hard to find compassion and patience at times.
Last week, I worked with a teammate and made demands of her, that this week I found myself not heeding. The frustration I felt with her and her progress and work on our Stackstore project got mirrored to me cruel karma style for my Stackathon. I found compassion, humility and abasement where I once had scorn and indifference.
Everyone has a level and it is not linear. We are all working to improve and excel in our own ways at our own pace and it is important to learn how to catch another's perspective.
I remember several moments in our Stackstore project being frustrated with a teammate who needed more technical and emotional support than I could give. In the moment, I wanted to help but felt ill-equipped to handle her issues as well as complete my given tasks. It was a struggle monitoring emotions and managing expectations and at times, everyone got a little shorter. It is easy to get self-righteous and think "why don't you ask for help before things implode?" "Why do you spend so much time debugging that one issue?" "Why can't you just do this thing just so?"
Dispassionate. Straightforward. Brush your shoulders, you sure handled that! But then...
I aimed high. I decided to write a desktop app using/learning upwards of 4 technologies I'd never worked on before:
Hyper ambition like a boss!
Then I did all the things I requested my teammate not do. Like her, I buckled when I should have bucked up. I couldn't concentrate in the noisy environment, so I thought shutting people out and "trying harder" would help, but it didn't. Isolation made it harder to reach out and for others to reach in. And in that weekend, I could feel on the deepest level, how needing/wanting/desiring/craving help could feel like drowning in a crowded pool next to a floating device. I didn't know how to ask for assistance. And my nonverbal communication made it difficult for others to offer support.
When I started writing this piece, I was in a space of "I want to find a way to bridge the gap in my empathy". Today, I feel like I got what I'd wished, for monkey paw style — with unintended consequences.
I wanted to properly understand how my teammate felt so I could know how to better support her and the versions of her in my future. After this week, I feel closer to that goal. I have a lot of humility to practice. It's hard remembering no one is perfect.