YESSSS. I was just thinking about this the other day. Someone was asking about what career advice I would give to a mid level person.
I told them to take control of their calendar, and don't let yourself be busy'd out of advancement and growth.
Being busy feels good. There are many voices clamoring for your time and attention, and it feels nice to help them.
But learning and growth and development -- these take focus, and quiet, and large blocks of unbroken solo time. And for that you have a constituency of one: you.
Nobody but you will lobby you to block out whole afternoons, to learn a new skill or write a new chapter.
Nobody but you is looking out for badass future you. Nobody knows all that you juggle when they make a request. It isn't their job. Their job is them; ✨your job is you✨
I see women especially falling into the trap of early management, early diversion into project or program mgmt. They get hooked on the high of being busy, being useful.
Be more selfish. Let the world serve *you* sometimes. Tend to your own upper bounds and expand your limits.
No one becomes an amazing principal engineer, eng manager, or any other kind of lead contributor without continually investing in themselves.
You cannot expand and grow while stuck in reactive mode. You must put on your oxygen mask before assisting others (as the saying goes).
It's easy to protest that we can't make time for reason after reason (and honey, I am lecturing myself here too).
In any given case that may be true. In aggregate, though, you can make time or make excuses. And when you make excuses, you are topping out. Right where you are.
(It helps to think of my future self as an actual person, who I am short changing and hurting by not investing in their skills in the present. YMMV. 🌈💕
Also, I absolutely do go for years without much heads down time, eg as a new manager. To everything there is a season.)
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