Wide vs Deep

There is an interesting post from Entirely Another Day blog that characterizes the work of a manager vs programmer with the above two words. The author says:

Managers must work shallow and wide, while programmers must work narrow and deep. People who are naturally tuned to one particular method of work will not only enjoy their jobs a lot more, but be better at them. I’m a deep guy, I should be doing deep work.

He says about managers,

Digging in isn’t what managers do. If they do, they’re micro managers, or “assholes.”

Thankfully, my manager(s) don’t do micro management. And I am better off that way. 🙂

and then talks about programmers:

The programmer, though, wants to be involved deeply and profoundly in just a few projects — he wants to own them, top to bottom. Maybe it’s a whole program, or a single feature, or some underlying library. Whatever. He wants to live in it, neck-deep. He has to worry about all — literally all — of the obscure technical details that make computers go. Jumping between projects — context switching — is a great way to burn a programmer out, because the cost of unloading one project from his head only to load up another one is enormously high. The idea of switching between two projects in a day, much less ten, is not only exhausting, but depressing.

You surely ring a bell in me, author. 🙂 I am currently going through this transition and I can sense the depression, rejection and, not sure why, some amount of obliviousness in me.

And then he talks about the culture:

Some people are naturally wide, some people are naturally deep. But the assumption is, in most business contexts, that you can — and should want to — jump between the two as the need or situation dictates. But this is a load of crap.

One thing that we should realize is, he says:

The point of all this is that the intersection of someone’s predisposition and personality and the duties of their job is vastly important, and far too often ignored.

As the blog title says, I [am a] geek. And I will be.


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