February 18th, 2014


giving feedback: preschool teachers vs. senior engineering leads

Yesterday after my toddler's parent-teacher conference at preschool I went back to my office and jumped back into closing out our 2013 year end reviews and you know what?

the overlap is a little scary.

Here are the basic things three-year-olds get evaluated on:

1) Communication skills. Are they using their words to ask grown-ups for help when they're stuck on a problem? Making friends with people playing in different areas? Do they tell the truth when something goes wrong?

2) Technical skills. Can they recognize patterns? Build on experience? Jump in and try new things on their own? Can they look at a picture and tell what's going on in it, and predict what might happen next?

3) Protocol. Can they sit and listen quietly when someone else is talking? Do they understand that you can't play with toys during circle time? Are they clued in to the way things are done here?

Both in my own and other peoples' annual reviews, the similarities are striking.

Look, I'm not saying new engineers are like three-year-olds. They're more likely to be able to button up their own coats... although these are engineers, so sometimes getting the buttons lined up right isn't priority. but I like to think they could do it if they tried.

Maybe humans just all have the same challenges no matter where we are. We think we grow so much and are concerned with much more important things than we were as kids... but we've got a pretty narrow set of skills to work on, when you think about it. There are only a few skills you need to get along in this world, and from age 1 or so we just start fucking them all up, and the struggle never ends.