3stressors: FOMO^PIP^ livelihood[def]

  • PIP
  • FOMO/FOLB including brank envy
  • burn rate stress esp. the dreaded job-loss

jolt: FSM dividend has never delivered the de-stressor as /envisioned/. In contrast, my GRR has produced /substantial/ nonwork income, but still insufficient to /disarm/ or blunt the threat of PIP ! In my experience, Job-loss stressor is indeed alleviated by this income or the promise thereof 🙂

Excluding the unlucky (broken, sick,,) families, I feel most “ordinary” people’s stress primarily come from burn rate i.e. making ends meet, including job-loss fear. I feel the middle class families around me could survive  at a much lower theoretical burn rate of SGD 3.5-4.5k (or USD 6k perhaps… no 1st-hand experience) but they choose the rat race of keeping up with the Jones’s (FOMO). Therefore, their burn rate becomes 10k. See also SG: bare-bones ffree=realistic #WBank^wife^Che^3k and covid19$$handout reflect`Realistic burn rate

For some, FOMO takes them to the next level — bench-marking against the high-flyers.

—– jolt: PIP^job-loss fear

For the middle class, any burn rate exceeding 3k is a real (albeit subconscious) stressor because the working adults now need to keep a job and build up a job-loss contingency reserve. Remember Davis Wei….3-month is tough for him? How about 30 years? In a well-publicized OCBC survey during covid19, most Singaporean workers can’t last 6M

With a full time job, salaried workers experience a full spectrum of stressors including PIP. PIP would be impotent/toothless if the job is like a hobby. I would say very few people have such a job.

Aha .. Contract career is free of PIP.

For me (only me), job loss is a lighter stressor than PIP fear. In fact, I don’t worry about end of contract [2] and bench time. I worry more about humiliating bonus. I’d rather lose a contract job than receiving a token bonus after PIP.

I think PIP is the least shared stressor of the three stressors[1]. Even though some percentage of my fellow IT professionals have experienced PIP, they seem to shrug it off. In contrast, I lick my wound for years, even after it turns into a permanent scar. Most people assume that my PIP fear was fundamentally related to cashflow worry, but I am confident about job hunting. So my PIP fear is all about self-esteem and unrelated to cashflow.

[1] In the covid19 aftermath (ongoing), SG government worry mostly about job loss i.e. livelihood. Next, they worry about career longevity, in-demand skills, long-term competitiveness, housing, healthcare and education… all part of the broader “livelihood” concept. As parents, we too worry about our kids’ livelihood.

[2] Because I have a well-tested, strong parachute, I’m not afraid of falling out (job loss)

Q: imagine that after Y2, this job pays me zero bonus, and boss gives some explicit but mild message of “partial meet”. Do I want to avoid further emotional suffering and forgo the excellent commute + flexible hours + comfortable workload + hassel-free medical benefit?
A: I think Khor Siang of Zed would stay on. I think ditto for Sanjay of OC/MLP. Looking at my OC experience, I think I would stay on.

Life-chances are more about livelihood and less about FOMO.

— Deepak’s experience

Deepak converted form contractor to perm in mid 2014, but on 30 Oct 2014, lost his job in UK. He sat on the bench for thirteen months and started working in Nov 2015, in the U.S. This loss of income was a real blow, but in terms of the psychological scars, I think the biggest were 1) visa 2) job interviews difficulties. He didn’t have a PIP scar.

 

[19] 4 Deeper mtv2work4more$ After basic ffree

Note sometimes I feel my current ffree is so basic it’s not real ffree at all. At other times I feel it is real, albeit basic, ffree. After achieving my basic ffree, here are 3 deeper motivations for working hard for even more money:

  • am still seeking a suitable job for Phase B. Something like a light-duty, semi-retirement job providing plenty of free time (mostly for self-learning, blogging, helping kids). This goal qualifies as a $-motivation because … with more financial resources, I can afford to take some desirable Phase-B jobs at lower pay. In fact, I did try this route in my 2019 SG job search.
  • I wish to spend more days with grandparents — need more unpaid leaves, or work in BJ home
  • more respect, from colleagues and from myself
  • stay relevant for 25 years. For next 10 years, I still want more upstream yet churn-resistant tech skills like c++.

–Below are some motivations not so “deep”

  • better home location (not size) — clean streets; shorter commute; reasonable school.. Eg Bayonne, JC
  • Still higher sense of security. Create more buffers in the form of more diversified passive incomes.

— Below are some secondary $-motivations

  • * more time with kids? Outside top 10 motivations.
  • * better (healthy) food? usually I can find cheaper alternatives
  • * workout classes? Usually not expensive

advantage@old_techie: less2lose]race !!江郎才尽

See also age40-50career peak..really@@stereotype,brainwash,,

At my age now than younger years, the long-term consequence/impact of a PIP-type event is less severe less destructive, including the blow to long-horizon self confidence. Reason? That long-horizon isn’t that long for me as for the younger competitors on the rise. Imagine on a new job you struggle to clear the bar

  • in figure-things-out speed,
  • in ramp-up speed,
  • in independent code-reading…
  • in delivery speed
  • in absorbency,
  • in level of focus
  • in memory capacity — asking the same questions over and over.
  • in dealing with ambiguity and lack of details
  • in dealing with frequent changes

As a 30-something, You would feel terrified, broken, downcast, desperate .., since you are supposed to be at your prime in terms of capacity growth. A research quoted by CNA[3] found that younger members of the workforce were significantly more stressed than older workers. You would worry about “passed my peak” way too early, and facing a prolonged decline … 江郎才尽.

In contrast, an older techie like me starts the same race in a new team, against a lower level of expectation [1] and have less to prove, so I can compete while carrying less baggage.

A related advantage — some (perhaps mediocre) older techies have gone through a lot of ups and sowns, so we have some wisdom. The other side of the coin — we could fall in the trap of 刻舟求剑.

Manager and cowokers naturally have a lower expectation of older techies. Grandma’s wisdom — she always remind me that I don’t have to always benchmark myself against younger team members. In some teams, I can follow her advice.

Any example? Bill Pinsky, Paul and CSY of RTS?

[1] WallSt contract market

[3] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/how-to-cope-burn-out-work-demands-stress-tired-office-11496502?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna

##deeply felt Priorities b4 U.S.→SG@45 #big-picture

  1. — priorities over the next 2-10Y horizon
  2. Career[a] longevity till 70, probably on wall st, not in Singapore or West Coast. A related keyword is “relevance” to the geek economy.
    1. On Wall St, I continue to keep a keen focus on robust technologies like core Java, cpp, SQL, sockets, core threading, common data structures. Outside Wall st, jxee (and possibly web stacks) offers the best market depth and demand.
    2. Compared to Wall St, West coast is possibly low priority for now as I don’t see long term visibility.
  3. my wellness — Need to guard against PIP-hell, trapped… A “stability factor” arguably more impactful than GC, housing, schooling… One of the key signs of wellness is weight and calorie count.
  4. boy’s education — I don’t know if U.S. system is better for him
  5. GC — a G5 priority in my current plan, primarily on the back of the longevity factor.
  6. preparing for war at new job — short-term, immediate but actionable.
  7. — 2nd tier
  8. increase precious time with grand parents in my 3rd U.S. era — fly business class to NY.
  9. more passive income to reduce the cash flow stress
  10. Saving up for U.S. housing — not much I can do now.
  11. I now have a deep desire but limited hope to keep up my 细水长流 motivation for coding drill and QQ learning. Burning pleasure; self-esteem; satisfaction; absorbency.
  12. wife’s and daughter’s life-chances in U.S. — important but not much I can do now
  13. leaving a good impression with MS manager

[a] I didn’t say “income”. I think more important to me is my marketability (+ relevance, in-demand ..). Career longevity is the basis of entire family’s well-being for 15Y until kids start working.

Salary — is kinda secondary because the room for improvement is negligible in my biased mental picture.

[19] zbs cf to QQ+GTD #compiler+syntax expertise

Why bother — I spend a lot of time accumulating zbs, in addition to QQ halos and localSys GTD

I have t_zbs99 and other categories/tags on my blogposts showcasing zbs (真本事/real expertise) across languages. Important to recognize the relative insignificance of zbs

  • #1 QQ — goal is mobility. See the halo* tags. However, I often feel fake about these QQ halos.
  • #2 GTD — localSys or external tools … goal is PIP, stigma, helping colleagues. Basic skill to Make the damn thing work. LG2 : quality, code smell, maintainability etc
  • #3 zbs — goal is self-esteem, respect and “expert” status. By definition, zbs knowledge pearls are often not needed for GTD. In other words zbs is “Deeper expertise than basic GTD”. Scope is inherently vague but..
    • Sometimes I can convert zbs knowledge pearls to QQ halos, but the chance is lower than I wished, so I often find myself overspending on zbs. Therefore I consider the zbs topics a distant Number 3.
    • Zbs (beyond GTD) is required as architect, lead developer, decision makers.

I also have blog categories on (mostly c++) bulderQuirks + syntax tricks. These knowledge pearls fall under GTD or zbs.

##[19]Y WallStContract=%%best Arena #Grandpa

Competition arenas … we all CHOOSE the arena to compete in. It’s a choice, either implicit choice or explicit choice. I would say better to be conscious about this choice.

Not much new content in this blogpost. I feel very convinced to stick with WallSt contract market. Here is a ranking of the reasons why I consider it a rational decision, though our decisions are shaped by our deeply personal experiences and inherently irrational.

Beware of attachment !

  1. low stress, low expectation — my #1 reason as of 2019
  2. low-caliber competitors, mostly due to the “offputting” below
  3. age friendly
  4. I get to practice interviews and keep a precious burning-pleasure for a month each year on average.
    1. In contrast, If I were an ibank VP I would have multiple obstacles on that front.
  5. — other reasons to prefer Wall St contract
  6. higher probability of greenfield projects
  7. leverage on domain knowledge
  8. I can easily explain my job hopping profile
  9. ?? a number of firms to hop around

Now the downside, off-putting factors. ## Y most young dev shun contracts — Many bright or young competitors are put off by these factors, reducing the competition.

personal choices]team contexts #LS

Hope your family is coping well with covid19. The hand-washing habit reminds me of a past conversation, i.e. our last meal together, in a restaurant near your beautiful North Carolina home. Nice meal, not Chinese but some special cuisine (Greek?). A few months later, over a phone call you revealed several observations of my “unusual habits”. One was my habit of leaving my seat and washing my hands before the meal. You instructed me to imagine a team lunch where everyone including the boss has sat down. I said I would still follow my habit. In recent years, I have followed this same habit in many team lunches at many companies.

I remember asking you what to do given that I have a history of food poisoning due to missed hand-wash. I think you described it as a personal choice — choosing to prioritize hand hygiene, I may inadvertently create negative impressions among coworkers, opinions that might affect my future in the company. I once said I didn’t care much about such an impression or opinion. Even if I stop my personal habit, over several months of interaction, such opinions would emerge.

We all form opinions about coworkers. Some opinions are more directly related to work — quality, efficiency, integrity, dedication…. Other opinions are so subtle that sometimes I am ignorant or unconcerned about them.

By choice or by chance, I have not moved up in any team, but am satisfied with my situation and job prospect (contractor?). Therefore, even though I’m ignorant or unconcerned about many people’s opinions of me, I don’t feel I’m paying a price. (In contrast, I have paid big prices for some real mistakes in my career.)

Some habits create long-term or deeper damage, but this kind of hand-washing habit is not that damaging. In saying this, I try to avoid downplaying the reputation damage. I try to put things into perspective. Here I’m mostly talking about personal habits with relatively low impact on other people. I now feel your style of reasoning is very focused on other people’s impression. I feel it’s too unnatural, too hard for me, so I don’t want to live a life under this type of “suffering”.

Let me know your thoughts. I think you have come across people like me, possibly younger ones or older ones.

if not4$$, y I sacrifice so much2reenter U.S.#again

Q: As of 2016 to 2019, I didn’t need high salary so badly, so what’s the real reasons why I sacrifice so much to re-enter U.S.?

A#1: foundation — rebuild confidence about career/financial foundation for next 20->25-30Y, since my passive-income/asset/burn-rate profile was (still is) far from comfortable
* age discrimination
* green card
* lower calibre requirement on a typical job .. “semi-retirement job”

A#2: self-esteem rebuild — after multiple blows (三人成虎 , three-strikes)   .. stigma
A#3: far bigger job market, providing much better sense of career safety

cod`drill:YOUR satisfactions@@ wipe_out [def2] #Rahul

Rahul used the word “satisfaction”. (Sometimes I call it “intrinsic motivation” or “joy”.) The satisfaction factor is crucial to absorbency. It enables Rahul to put in so many hours.

Q: What are my satisfactions i.e. intrinsic motivation?
A: discover my own solutions that are reasonably efficient even if not optimal. Almost never elegant and simple.

I don’t mind reading a classic solution in a Real (possibly online) publication but I hate to read solutions in forums as XR does. Those forum posts leads to wipe-out

  • completely wipe out that precious satisfaction.
  • positive feedback loop broken
  • self-esteem destroyed
  • self-mastery destroyed
  • sense of progress wiped out
  • sense of self-improvement wiped out
  • absorbency wiped out
  • I feel /diminished/ and worth-less.
  • i feel hopeless giving up

It’s possible that the forum posters also learned the solutions from publications. But I basically assume they are just so brainy.

G5 unexpected big wins]%%life #absorbency

should create pointer blogposts in ‘ffree’ and ‘diet’ blogs

20 uphill breakthroughs #wellness/xx is a similar list.

My unexpected success at weight improvement and diet is rather rare … the latest of top 5 achievements of my entire life. Other significant (often unexpected) successes:

  • outstanding project performance in 95G, Barcap and RTS. In other teams, I was able to do a reasonable job among bright young professionals.
  • QQ technical wins on high-end c++ positions (10+ times each), a golden ticket to high salaries on Wall St and then SG
  • [r] high absorbency for self-learning till this age.
    • MSFM
    • 😦 otherwise, the 4.5 years in SG was low.
  • [r] ffree first as bachelor and again in 2018.
  • [r=really rare]

How about my Cambodia investments? No really a personal effort per se.

%% absorbency: experiment/SDI imt speed-coding

When you find yourself in high-absorbency mood, favor (#1 most draining) speed-coding. See list of less-draining drills at the bottom.

I can read dry QQ topics for hours each day for many days, but tend to lose steam after coding for a few hours. Speed coding drill drains my “laser” energy faster than QQ reading/blogging/experiment. When my laser is weakened (by boredom), I must drill harder to go through the “brick walls”.

I guess many fellow programmers enjoy coding more than reading. I feel lucky that in my interviews, knowledge tests still outweigh coding test.

Q: What part of coding drill is worst on my absorbency?

A: speed coding implementation is worst. It drains my laser energy fastest. After coding for a few hours I always feel like a deflated balloon and discharged battery and and need a full day to recharge.

I think frustration is the key. Self-expectation (about progress and traction) and self-image create the frustration and the drain.

Instead of traction, I often feel stuck and overspent.

I feel disappointed with myself (Deepak self-identify as “annoyed”. )

Q: Can we stop comparing with others and just compare with our past? Doable sometimes. Consider Leetcode speed-coding contest #Rahul

— Just like yoga

  • if I work on easy problems I feel wasting my time
  • if I work on tough problems I feel painful, draining and want to give up. After the practice i need hours to recover.

Q: … So can we find easier coding drills that I could enjoy (as Rahul suggested)? Definitely not easy. I think the first difficult step is self-acceptance that I can’t improve much at this age.

Q (excellent question): What type of “coding” drill can I do for hours like reading/blogging?

  • pseudo-code algo on paper/whiteboard is lighter. No ECT so I am swift and efficient. Less draining/frustrating.
  • SDI is most fun, least boring, not draining/frustrating. I can spend hours on a SDI. I feel a bit of accu. More like QQ less like coding drill.
  • concurrency coding questions are less draining as other guys are not faster
  • c++/java language feature QQ experiments are more like QQ. I can spend hours on a QQ experiment. More interesting as there’s no time-line no benchmark no frustration. Also other guys are not stronger. I feel some accu exactly like reading on these me features
  • review of my previous code is much less draining (than writing new solutions) as there’s no time-line and code is already working
  • analyzing patterns and reusable techniques (very few) in past problems. Thick->thin is the holy grail. I work hard towards it.
  • reading syntax and ECT tips in books and my blog

 

c++QQ critical-mass[def2] has started growing!

If I compare myself with young c++ developers or older guys (like CSY, Paul..) I can see clear patterns in QQ and GTD.

  1. QQ and (to a lesser extent) zbs — I’m clearly pulling ahead, sometimes heads and shoulders above them. Some of these guys have wider QQ knowledge but lacks depth. I wrote about “experts” sizing up each other..
  2. zbs: instrumentation — one of the key areas of improvement for me! However, I can see many of the older guys at RTS aren’t more knowledgeable.
  3. GTD: paradoxically, the younger guys are more productive than me or older guys.

— Now let’s retrace the gradual breakthrough

In May 2019, I felt I have achieved enough critical-mass on c++ QQ topics. Critical mass is defined by The two acid test questions.

Q1: without a full-time c++ job, but with enough interviews, will my c++ QQ insight/understanding show resilience against churn and memory fading, as in coreJava?
Q2: thick->thin achieved? Not yet, but cross-reference graph is now built up as a defense against fading memory

This java career review provides a valuable context.

What visible progress gave me this level confidence? Recent technical wins show my improved ranking among c++candidates.

  1. SCB-FM
  2. CVA
  3. SIG
  4. TradeWeb core team

Note I have invested more effort on c++ QQ than java… [18]t-investment: c++now surpassing java

  • — now a sample of critical-mass topics, roughly ranked by importance on high-end interviews, mostly at HFT and ibanks
  • coding tests
  • mv-semantics
  • containers
  • smart ptr
  • heap memory mgmt including new..
  • polymorphism including MI #44 posts in the category
  • TMP — important at high-end but not HFT
  • [e] pthreads + c++11 threads
  • [e] sockets
  • runtime costs of virtual and heap, as Stroustrup explained
  • [e] cache efficiency, compiler optimizations,
  • [e] linux
  • [e] new innovation directions
  • [e] benchmarks involving c++ as Stroustrup explained
  • build tools
  • [e=ecosystem topics]

enough bandwidth2help kids study@@ : 3 past jobs

Which past jobs would allow me to spend more time helping kids with studies?

  1. #1 Citi — i can finish off personal work in office
  2. OC
  3. RTS? yes during the quiet weeks. More importantly, I was familiar with the system, possibly more so than my coworkers, so with 70% of effort I could meet the requirements, so I can spend more time helping kids

How about Macq? Hours are short but I often decide to work on weekends. I dare not leave earlier because I feel guilty that I haven’t made enough progress on my projects.

I feel the stress of helping kids with studies would /resonate/ (“conflict” is the wrong word) with the stress of stigma/PIP, and  create a highly amplified response, bigger than each stressor alone could produce. I would feel like a candle burning from both ends .. insufficient energy and would be forced to consider tough sacrifices.

I think Mvea team would be much better as Josh is very tolerant and forgiving.

Commute — how important is it? I now feel commute is insignificant compared to coworker benchmarking or PIP

## identify your superior-absorbency[def#3]domains #QQ,fasting

  1. When in sky-high absorbency, you should try and take on the _really_tough_.
  2. When in “good” absorbency, you should take on the medium tough jobs.

Before goggles, swimmers compete by increasing the amount of practice, which was limited by the capacity of their eyes to endure the “abuse” — I call it “capacity”, and sometimes “absorbency”, as defined in two blogposts ##absorbency[def#2]worn_out by endeavors #coding and My absorbency[def#1]

abstinence^hard-driving is another blogpost.

Myself as an illustration — Compared to my peers, I have superior Long-term absorbency/capacity for these *specific* challenges:

  • best eg: jogging, but not stretching. I have much higher capacity to cope with jogging then stretching. I don’t really need to capture the motivation for jogging.
  • I have higher capacity for push-up practice compared to chin-up practice.
  • eating raw veg (and fruits) but not celery or raw carrot
  • delaying meals but not reducing dinner

These long-term absorbency advantages are truly life-enhancing, to put it mildly…

At times, in these same domains I find my absorbency capacities falling very low. Completely normal. It’s a human condition.

— eg: xx theoretical QQ study : I have an absorbency advantage, more than in coding drill.

These are big, real competitions.

For many peers, when they find the fleeting motivation to study QQ, they should capture it. I don’t have to.

Ken Li said something like … If you enjoy tech and esp. dev work, then you have job security in tech sector till old age — I would say well into 60’s. I think he said that because there are so many tech jobs in U.S. not so demanding, where my absorbency advantage alone is more than sufficient to sustain a long career.

However, if the learning is unrelated to IV then my absorbency falls towards to absolute zero.

— eg: xx java QQ more than c++ QQ

I have much easier learning journey on java. More satisfying, more Aha. I feel more in control, and less “lost”. I see more logical connections. The fundamental designs make more sense to me.

trauma creates knee-jerk reactions to PIP/bonus #DeepakCM

Hi Deepak,

Your endured a traumatic episode without a job for months. I had, on a smaller scale, traumatic experiences under managers who don’t appreciate my effort and demanded improvement in performance. I felt like damaged goods.

I now believe these traumatic experiences shape an individual’s outlook, to put it mildly. In each individual’s career, there’s only one (or two) defining experience. These singular experiences tend to leave a long and deep scar in our psyche.

In my career, the biggest pain is not job loss. In fact, as I said last time, in hind sight my job loss was a positive turning point. My biggest pains were always negative performance reviews. I’m so scared and scarred that I now assign a disproportionate value to manager’s assessment, and basically ignore other people’s assessment, and ignore the level of difficulty of my role. What I ignore are crucial factors. Ignoring them is an irrational decision and leads to distorted perception of myself relative to coworkers.

I developed naive, knee-jerk reactions that as soon as I get a negative assessment from manager, I immediately see myself as damaged goods, of inferior quality and incompetent, when in reality the role expectation could be wholly unsuitable for me. Imagine you are expected to give salesy presentations to upper management and you are seen as not persuasive not technical enough.

[19] 2 reasons Y I held on to c++ NOT c#

In both cases, I faced steep /uphill/ in terms of GTD-traction, engagement, sustained focus, smaller-than-expected job market [1] .. but why I held on to c++ but abandoned c#?

[1] actually c# was easier than c++ in GTD-traction, entry barrier, opacity

Reason: GUI — 95% of the c# jobs I saw were GUI but GUI is not something I decided to take on. The server-side c# job market has remained extremely small.

Reason: in 2015 after Qz, I made the conscious decision to refocus on c++. I then gained some traction in GTD and IV, enough to get into RTS. By then, it was very natural for me to hold on to c++.

— minor reasons

Reason: west coast coding tests — python and c/c++ are popular

##taking on c# ] 2012 #j4..

See post on j4 stick2c++: Score big{losing@quant/c#

This review is mostly for future planning, not nostalgia

  • — Q: what were the motivation/j4 in 2012?
  • c# was #1 on front end in banks + some buy-side… Now it is losing mind share to web GUI. Very little heard on WPF.
    • lousy technology bet
  • c# was challenging java in a small number of banks … Now it has taken too long to mount that challenge
  • After the “conquest” of java (QQ and GTD), I felt c# was fairly close to Java and a “low-hanging big fruit” compared to c++ and python
  • I witnessed a few systems with java back-end and c# front-end and a demand for versatile developers….Now there are very few.
  • On Wall St I saw more c# than c++ jobs … now unsure. Python and java have since gained market share from c# and c++
  • — Q: why I stopped pushing on the c# front? See 2 reasons y I stayed with c++NOT c#
  • I don’t like the Windows platform. My focus has shifted away. No single big reason.
  • The absolute amount of energy (and time) I had to spend on both GTD and QQ were precious. The “focus shift” means a huge write-off, and disappointing ROTI, comparable to the MSFM write-off.
  • — Q: how was my …. –>  planning and execution?
  • I feel 80% successful. I feel in my c# first 12M I gained more confidence (5/10) than my java first 12M
  • experience (in GTD and … also IV) grew from 0 to 5/10 in windows __serverside__ dev and scripting, c# language
  • attending interviews remotely… Worked to some extent
  • taking on a wide range of c# GTD tasks … worked, including WCF, Excel, WindowsService, vbscript integration, …
  • chipping away at the biggest GTD rock namely MSVS .. worked. Now more confidence
  • — intangible gains { c# endeavor , a fresh look as of 2019. NO…. No need to consolidate with the above
  • self-image boost in absorbency, sustained focus and deep-dive.
  • Precious engagement for 12M. Over the last 20Y, some of the best months were in those 12M.
  • i’m no long afraid of a decline of java in the face of a Microsoft challenge. Right now, java is challenged mostly by python and javascript
  • removed most of my fear of joining a windows dev team like Ashish’s
  • insight into the evolution and cross pollination among the big3 languages
  • leverage? not bad
  • market depth? good except the high-end usually requires WPF
  • MSVS was a scary monster. After my c# experience I became familiar with this monster.

wipe_out[def1] @ leetcode+similar sites #XR

wipe-out — I would say this letter described something like a wipe-out experience…

Hi XR,

I may need your advice here. On 23 June I tried one medium level question on LeetCode. (Before Bloomberg interviews, I tried Bloomerg CodeCon website for a few days, with similar experience, but luckily there’s no posted solution 🙂

To my dismay, it took me 4+ hours because I hit lots of “devils in the implementation details”.

  • I dare not submit my code and run LeetCode test cases because I am scared to see tons of failures, a huge discouragement.
  • I am tempted to look at the top solutions, but they are likely much cleaner and better than mine, a huge discouragement.
  • Until I pass all test cases, this question is not done and I would feel guilty to give up. In contrast, my own coding projects can be 50% done and I can leave it as is. I would not feel like a quitter. My own projects have no standard test cases to show I’m 50% done or 90% done. You could say LeetCode acceptance criteria is uncompromising and uncomfortable.

Since I don’t want to see myself as a quitter, I must keep spending hours and hours on this one question. The longer I go, the more tired and I just feel increasingly frustrated that I can’t complete even one question. In my own projects, I could give up without shame or guilt.

  • Even if I were to complete a few questions 100%, I would NOT feel proud because other coders have completed a hundred questions, a huge discouragement.

These discouragements would presumably destroy the precious “burning[1] joy” of coding. This “burning joy” is precious because it’s so hard to get — I need plenty of energy, plenty of quiet time with background music + positive mood to take on tough challenges …. Each hour of coding practice easily consume twice the energy of other type of learning.

[1] burn-or-rot

Here are other drawbacks to LeetCode:

On the Leetcode code editor, I’m unable to run my own small tests until I have a complete solution. In contrast, in my own coding projects, after I have a small module written I can test it and get some immediate satisfaction and make progress on that module. On LeetCode site, I feel like digging and digging in darkness, until I see some light at end of the tunnel.

In conclusion

  1. my skill improvement is not higher than in my own coding practice
  2. satisfaction, positive feedback , self-confidence boost.. is much lower
  3. stress is higher
  4. frustration is higher

Then something hit me — I now realize my son is not as lazy as I thought. As a Chinese father I automatically feel he is not putting the same amount of effort as other kids in his school. But looking at myself .. Am I putting in the same amount of effort as LeetCoders? If we compare to the wrong peer group, we inevitably feel lazy, inferior, inadequate, sub-standard. Such a comparison is not the best way to motivate our kids. It is erosive, hurtful, counter-productive.

In the long run, his classmates who put in more effort doing math problems now may not do better than him. They might do better in standardized exams, but what about university level (no more standardized tests) ?

[19] perceived productivity: 5factors #Kyle

As I discussed with Kyle, a worker’s sense of productivity is complex and subtle, far from objective. It’s influenced by many factors.

The sense of productivity is an important part of job satisfaction, sense of inadequacy + inferiority, duty ^ guilt, self-hate ^ compassion.

I tend to use this incredibly vague concept as a whip to beat myself up. I guess some managers (Mark, Venkat, Stirt) also use it on me…. harsh.

  • It depends on the visible progress on project assignments. Projects are stuck frequently– like wheel-spinning. eg: StirtRisk projects were often stuck and I felt less productive. I had a short-n-sharp discussion with Rahul, who identified context-switching as the productivity killer
  • It depends on visible impact on users — the #1 most visible sign of value of my output.
    • Eg: RTS, 95G, mortgage commissions, Quest,
    • proficiency in prod support has big impact. It is seen as low value, associated with ops team in Barc, 95G, Citi, but perceived as high value in GS
  • It depends on localSys + understanding of user’s logical bubble. Those developer in close contact with users would have better gauge of which to-do (and which solution) scratches a big itch. 四两拨千金, 事半功倍.
  • It depends on Perceived impact of my output relative to coworkers
    • eg: outstanding in Barclays
  • It depends on our personal (highly inaccurate) estimate of how many focused hours/day. If “visible” items unavailable, then this is my default basis.
  • It depends on My vague perception of coworker productivity. Kyle felt the perception is not that vague.
  • It depends on How early coworkers come and leave; Coworkers working-from-home. Note Many hiring managers say (honestly) that if an efficient worker can get things done in time, then boss doesn’t mind shorter hours or WFH.
  • It depends on How much leisure time I see in coworkers’ day, including chitchats
  • It depends on Role model set by manager. Eg: Saurabh often took Friday as a lite day.
  • It depends on User’s feedback on my output, often in brief emails — RTS
  • It depends on Coworker feedback on me – OC, Macq
  • figure-out-by-self — is a controversial yardstick. In most places (Ashish) it is a top 5 sign of productivity, but in GS I was told to not waste time researching. My GS colleagues always ask each other and I had to.

##[19]a few games I Aced visibly #MSFM,belly

Title is lousy. No point improving it.

I /aced / killed / thrived at/ many games. Most visible and most profitable game in this list is tech IV, including

  • 1a) branching out to c# and c++
  • 1b) quant self-study to impress many technology interviewers

The above topic already has many many posts in this blog. Below are other games I excelled in:

  1. excellent grades up to college Year 1
  2. paid off multiple rental properties + my own home, by age 43. All in good locations with reliable rental demand.
  3. Earned MSFM with flying colors at age 42 — sustained focus, self mastery

Some domains are not really competitive “games” but still I excelled visibly:

  1. no belly (as Nick pointed out); weight loss in late 2018, along with pull-up. Jogging habit.
  2. keeping burn rate very low, and achieving some form of ffree around age 30 and again at 43

It’s instructive to recognize the pattern.

  • I think in each game, I had some talent, and a long-term consistent effort.
  • External positive feedback is far from powerful , immediate or frequent, so internal motivation is crucial.
  • All are individual games, not team games. Note promotion is not my game and I don’t need to kill this game to be comfortable and satisfied.

#1@what I enjoy: body-build`

(Avichal asked me …)

#1 of what I enjoy most – body-building. There are various elements that make it challenging, engaging, sustainable

* some value-add for the tech community

* relevant to immediate IV -and- value-add-for-employer, which translates to stable and hopefully rising income…
Example – high performance c++ on linux

* unlocking additional job markets
Example – c++, c#, swing, socket
Example – FX domain knowledge
Example – quant stuff

* Real insight gained only by in-depth study, overcoming a non-trivial entry barrier, and building a lead over competitors
Example – quant trading strategy
Example – threading, STL,
Example – insights into c#
Example – stat risk content, even though not really relevant to my interviews.

* strategic value to my competitive position
counter-example: secDB