Junior's mindset

The good, the bad and the scary

Ups and downs of your next technical role can be stressful. They are to me. You are uncertain pretty much all the time and your experience from a different field doesn't really match the environment you look at.

The good

Let's start with the good ones! It certainly feels great when you solve an issue that was lying around for a few years. The timeline of accomplishment can be:

 Bug created      /me: print("Hello, world")        /me: Solves the bug
 2015                    2017                              2021

Or: you dig into some problem and understand what causes the error. You bring the issue to the developer's attention, possibly already with a fix, and wait thinking: have I done legit job? The next day you see all the happy emojis on your Pull Request and people are telling you "good job" and merge the changes and the rainbow appears above your desk.

The scary

The uncertainty. You think you did a good job or a good-enough job, and it could be - but there is always something to improve. Every task is a new task, every way is a new way, you look around for gotchas and still not get all of them. Now, this isn't anything particularly bad. It's understandable you're new, don't know the conventions, need to learn the stuff. No one makes you feel like you're a con. You're probably the only one thinking that. And you need to prove to the whole world you're worthy.

The bad

It's not a role that's stressful, it's you bringing the pressure upon yourself. In home office regime you can't go to the office and share team's vibe. You don't have the usual means of disassembling the bomb by getting along with people, small talking, venting the frustrations and sharing the joys. You don't get as much of the external validation, such needed at the start. It's you and your desk and your computer, your mailbox and all the thoughts running through your head.

What helps?

Vent with someone you trust: be it your peer, manager, partner, friend.

Write a blog post which you hide in drafts for a few weeks.

Find some other juniors or career switchers in similar mode, talking to them can be beneficial, you will no longer feel like an isolated island.

Go to the gym. Why beat the whole world when you can beat yourself?

Write a brag document - record every success you've made so far. Read it often.

And just keep hanging in there. The mood will change in time as you get more experienced and independent.

And... at some point you may even reconsider publishing that buried post. There are others on the same path out there. Help them feel less lonely.