As a young software developer, I am cursed with a constant sense of anxiety at work.
I have strong opinions which are weakly held. The latter point is extremely significant, and makes the difference between someone who is arrogant and someone who is open minded. If I don’t communicate that point clearly enough, I could be misunderstood.
I want to do high quality work because I care about the product I work on. When you care, you have to question things. If I communicate those questions badly, others may think I’m looking for an ego boost by being argumentative and trying to prove a point.
The stereotype of young people suggests they think they know it all. I feel like I constantly have to prove to others that I do not think like this.
Because I fear that I may be misunderstood, in meetings and team discussions I hesitate to say anything. The anxiety of being misunderstood makes me tense, and when I’m tense I can be blunt, so when I do pluck up the courage to say something, I’m at risk of sounding arrogant.
If I don’t feel relaxed amongst my team because I am anxious that they may misperceive my next spoken sentence as being egocentric or arrogant, then my anxiety means I can’t communicate properly. Bad communication will cause further misunderstanding, which makes me even more anxious, and so the cycle continues.
It’s incredibly important to feel like your team believes in you and trusts that you are working for the team, not for yourself. I don’t want to win arguments. I don’t want to prove that I am right. I much rather want to be associated with what is right, for the team and not myself.