At work, I have been tasked with modernizing the skill set and creating a culture of learning within a team of long-time programmers. Some team members were mentored into their roles from non-technical positions years ago and have been with the same code base ever since--in some cases, even decades, on the mainframe. So, many have not been exposed to cloud concepts, SOA, distributed systems, or even the foundations covered in the first few semesters of undergrad computer science. So, I've set up a wide-ranging curriculum for them that each person can tailor to where they are starting from. But they each have to walk the learning path under their own steam.
Some only needed the carrot dangled but others need quite a bit of structure and reminding. Yesterday, one of my staff chatted me and asked for an impromptu one-on-one chat. I figured it was for a personal issue. So, I was delighted to find that she was just so darn excited about having learned Big O notation that she wanted to show me on the white board what she learned. I was also touched that she cared enough about my support that she wanted me to share in her excitement. It's moments like those that make me want to wake up every morning and give this team everything I've got.
And then, today, a couple of team members got shut down by our Product Owner's negative reaction to putting stories in the "blocked" state. I intervened, and reminded everyone that a culture of continuous improvement is only possible if the participants don't fear repercussions of raising issues and that we all have a part in keeping open dialog possible. We're going to talk it through more on Friday. Another of my team members told me how much my leadership meant to her.
I can't do much about civilization burning down. So, I gotta say ... All I've ever really wanted from work is to use my aptitudes to be useful, and it feels really, really rewarding to make a (perhaps temporary) small difference in one corner of the world.