When you are most helpless, you are most empowered

When you are most helpless, you are most empowered

This post is part of the Two Years at Gusto: Everything But Code series. The remaining parts are:

There are times when we need help from others. There are also times when help become crutches. Asking for help and consulting more experienced colleagues is an excellent way to grow quickly as an engineer. But if we get used to relying on senior colleagues, their help can become crutches and get into our way of growth. When this happens, we miss out opportunities to think and act independently. And most unfortunately, we might also forget we are more capable than we think.

This realization was sparked off during a casual conversation in a happy hour. My coworker Kirill described the moment someone starts to become a senior engineer: The day will come when the people you always lean onto are no longer available, either because they are not on the project anymore or you might have acquired more domain knowledge than them. Your first reaction might be: "crap, who do I ask now? who's gonna tell me what to do?" Then you might realize: "oh wait a second. I have all the resources they have, I can actually just do this myself!"

It turns out when you have no one to count on, you are forced to count on yourself. That's the moment you realize you are as capable as everyone else. The moment you start becoming a senior engineer is the moment you start counting on yourself. It's the moment you start thinking what needs be done, instead of simply doing what is told. When you are most helpless, you are most empowered. That power comes within yourself. And that's the most liberating feeling you might ever feel.

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