Collaboration

Yesterday was a dizzying day in the office. But this story starts a few days before that. The gist is that we’re building a new way our interface handles content and the core of our CSS code had to be rewritten. The server-side code was checked-in so it was up to me to get the CSS right.

On Wednesday, we went back and forth as we rebuilt the logic. Some CSS changes would reveal more changes in the JavaScript. Changes in JavaScript would reveal more changes to the CSS. It was like a ping pong match. The day ended and I thought the CSS was good. Thursday, working from home, I found myself fixing more bugs. I stayed up until 1am until my eyes were too heavy and my brain could no longer follow the logic. I went to the office early on Friday with hopes that after sleeping, the answer would come to me. My partner was kind enough to give me space to figure it out but after lunch, he politely leaned over to see problems and offered some suggestions. They didn’t work but a few minutes later he offered up some other suggestions which inched our progress forward a bit. By 5pm, we managed to solve it, which of course revealed more bugs. But by then we were on a roll and spent another hour and half fixing those. It was 6:30pm by the time we finally left the office.

He was energized and proud of what we were able to accomplish.

I felt like a complete failure for not figuring it out in a timely manner.

In retrospect, yesterday was a marvelous day. The only thing I wish I’d done differently was set my pride aside earlier and ask for help in the morning so that we could have accomplished more.

In the years prior acting as “the expert” contractor/freelancer, clients hired me to have all the answers and figure out the magic that went into the result. I often worked isolated from others so when problems came up, if I couldn’t figure it out, the client would not want to spent the money to solve the problem and they’d implement a different solution.

I wasn’t learning in that environment.

Collaborating to solve problems is incredibly helpful and one of the best learning experiences. Talk out your thought process. Communicate your thinking. Listen to how others see the problem. Explore ideas even in doubt. Learn together.

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