Divide by Zero

Fear driven development

This isn’t about yet another development cycle technique, it’s about motivation and specifically what motivates me. There are two main factors that decide how productive I am: availability of coffee, and fear.

The former is obvious: coffee makes me more alert and improves my concentration. Whilst it creates these newfound superpowers for me, it doesn’t help me decide what to use them for. The latter motivating factor—fear—does.

When I’m at home, I have no fear, so when I drink my coffee I there’s a good chance I’m going to have an awesome reddit session.

When I’m at the office, I’m fucking terrified that any second now someone will catch on that I have no idea what I’m doing and they’ll fire me, so my paranoia drives me to stay focused. I take (extremely) regular bathroom breaks thanks to my coffee addiction, but other than that, I’m focused on my task list about 95% of the time. This fear is extremely unpleasant of course, and I’ve lost countless hours of sleep thinking about how I’m going to get fired the next day. The very reason I’m writing this right now is because I have my first review tomorrow, and I’m not sure how it’s going to go.

I don’t really deserve to be where I am in life, it’s all been one fluke after another and some day someone will catch on and put me back where I belong. Until that time I’ll live in fear that one day someone will actually spend some time looking at what I’ve really done (hint: not much) then call me out on it. Until then though, let’s pretend nothing’s wrong; I’d rather live in fear and be in over my head than back where I was before I got in to development work.

Written by Matthew Hotchen on