Being popular is nice

A few times ago, I was asked what advice I would give to my cousin who’s starting her first job. I had lots of them, as I love giving advices, but there’s one lesson I wish I had learnt from the beginning: it’s OK not to please everyone.

When you start a new job, get married or join a club, trying to please everyone is a natural reflex. You don’t know anyone, and creating social links is critical if you want to belong to the group. And that’s OK too.

But trying to please everyone ends being counter productive and leads to schizophrenia.

Managing a platform is a key role at a SAAS player. If the platform gets slow or unavailable, your entire company is screwed. Clients leave, new clients don’t come and your entire reputation is ruined.

It means you have to take lots of unpopular and frustrating decisions. You’ll have to refuse to deploy the latest hype because it’s not production ready, refuse to give people accesses they want – but don’t really need – or push new code on Friday, because that new feature can wait for Monday. You may even have to give your keyboard to your boss and tell him « if you really want to get it done, do it yourself ».

And that’s OK too.

The higher you get, the more responsibilities you have, and the more you have to make unpopular choices. That’s part of the job.

You can still try to please everyone, but then you’ll end taking poor decisions. Poor decisions always backfire, and it takes lots of work and energy to fix them.

Saying no is not a crime. And it doesn’t mean you need to behave like ajerk and be hated by every people around you.

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