Penguin mentality employee


There is one problem with unicorns developers - unicorns are not real. This article introduces principles of a new penguin mentality employee.


You heard about unicorn developers, right? If no, unicorn developer is a super experienced specialist with a rare or broad skill set. Sounds good, but of course there are pros and cons of being a unicorn developer. You can check this article to learn more about unicorns.

But I already used the word unicorn too many times in one paragraph. Have you ever seen a unicorn? Not a 20-years of experience Senior Fullstack Web3 Engineering Manager looking for a relocation to Jupiter, but the real beast with a horn. I’ve never seen, and this is the biggest problem of unicorn developer - creature is not real. You want to become a myth? I don’t. I want to be real and I am already real - I’m a penguin. And you can also be.

This article introduces most important rules and principles penguin mentality employee should follow. I’m not saying you should follow them. I’m not saying all of them always work great. I’m not saying this is the only right mentality of employee. There is no need to be a unicorn developer to be a great employee. And there is no need to be a penguin employee to work great. These are my rules and they are important to me. But maybe you will apply some of my principles or even decide to become a penguin mentality employee. You’re welcome.

Own the product

Designs are bad, but I’m not a designer. Our processes are not that efficient, but we have a manager for it. I’m a developer, I just want to work on APIs and make some money. Kill all these thoughts. They are bad for the product, so they are bad for you. If the product is not growing, you're also not going to grow. And then you will think about leaving it and looking for something better. Again and again. Till infinity. You’re already joined product for some reason, you found something that you like. So why not to make product better instead of just doing day-to-day responsibilities from your contract.

Be consistent

Consistency gives you freedom for bigger and more ambitions goals. With consistency, you need less energy to perform actions, so you have more energy for new things. And consistency gives you an ability to detect problems based on behavior changes. 20 days of commits in a row, but today you wasn’t able to write a line of code? Then probably something went wrong and should think about it. 20 commits three days ago, two days with no commits, 5 commits today - no way to spot a problem.

Stay transparent

You feel you’re going to miss a deadline, faced some weird issue and need some help, or you need to walk the dog right now - say it. No one is perfect, that’s okay, we have personal issues and that’s also okay, but usually transparency helps to resolve all coming bigger issues. Also, people will be transparent with you when you’re transparent with them. But do not follow the dark side - if you feel that someone is not completely clear with you, this is not the reason to close from him. In this case, you are loosing chances to have a better connect in the future.

1% improvement

You cannot start using a new service because you don’t have money. You cannot rewrite the whole app because you don’t have time. You cannot start a new project because you don’t have enough capacity. Well, look around. There are so many things you can improve without much effort, time and money. And what’s great about such small improvements - they move you closer to things you wasn’t able to implement because of some limitations. Start from yourself.

Act not plan

For sure all these plans, researches and organizational moments are great. But I'd better try it out to understand if it's worth it or not. You cannot plan five next years of your product life. Well, you can, but you will never end up with what you planned. Well, you can X2, but then you can lose a lot of opportunities you wasn’t able to find initially. Keep your plans short and adjust as you go. Implementation will say much more.

Engage and be engaged

I did my job, if I am no longer needed and I can leave. Jump to the journey with fire, turn others on fire, and leave a fire behind (but make sure it doesn't go out without you). It’s great when you’re a super active employee, but it’s even better when you can activate others. You’re a simple 1, and you always will be a simple 1, but you can break the math, so one plus one will be equal to 3. It’s not that easy, so be patient and careful - fire can melt your igloo.

Forget about position

Junior Developer. Project Manager. Middle Developer. Product Manager. Backend Developer. Frontend Developer. Team Lead. Tech Lead. CTO. UX/UI Designer. UX Engineer. Engineering Manager. React Developer. Developer Advocate. React Native Developer. Android Developer. Technical Writer. DevRel Engineer… I don’t care what’s written in my contract and how people call me. You can call me whatever you want while I like what I’m doing, project is moving, salary is okay and coworkers are great. Forget about position and you’ll become a king or even an emperor.