Michael Weiner

March 10, 2021

Back your work with your name

I have exceptionally high standards for the work that I do. My entire life I have had a single principle to guide the quality of my work: do work that I was proud to stamp my name behind. Does this mean I take credit for any and everything I do? No. Not even close.
It means that I stand behind the work I do when it gets checked off of my to-do list and is sent onward to those that need it. I stand behind everything that is great about it, everything wrong about it, all of its imperfections and compromises, and all of the feelings somewhere in-between.
What does "work" include? Anything you want it to. Sending emails. Creating reports for your boss. Running your daily stand-up meeting. Testing new code. Completing a homework assignment for that class that seems to never end. Working out at the end of the day. Starting a new goal to journal every day. There is no limit or restriction to wanting to do work that you are proud to stamp your name behind.
As a student I have been told by my teachers to "not try so hard" on my assignments. No, no I am not exaggerating or kidding.
As a college student I have been stopped by a teaching assistant while I was taking an exam to tell me to not continue what I was doing as it was beyond the scope of what I needed to do.
As an employee I have been told that things do not always need to be perfect. Well, I was not aiming for perfection.
All of those situations have been incredibly frustrating. Why should I have to accept mediocrity for my own work when I want to create and finish something that I am proud to stand behind? When did mediocrity become so widely accepted? At what point did it become normalized for people to tell other people what quality of work they should be producing when it has no bearing on their own workload?

Aren't teachers meant to encourage hard work and a drive to explore and learn? During an exam does it matter if I answer more than what a question is asking? Does it matter if I add a few additional sentences or arrows that I feel would make my answer to the question clearer to the grader? If I have the time or drive as an employee to clarify my work and make it as accurate as possible on my own time a bad thing?

Now, by no means am I saying that my work is perfect. Hah. Far from it. I run into deadlines just like everyone else and have to submit or send work on with it being "good enough." That is normal. I am human just like you. Perfection is not what I aim for. I aim to produce work that represents me and my name.
If you can relate to any of the experiences or if you have your own stories to share - be damn proud. Don't accept mediocrity in anything you do. Ultimately, you can only control yourself. You never know who might be looking at your work and you never have the ability to change a person's first impression of you, or your work.

About Michael Weiner

Hey, visitor! I'm Michael, a software engineer based in Minnesota, USA. I am an IBMer working on IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service. Feel free to poke around some of my work at michaelweiner.org. Below are some of my personal thoughts on business and my experiences in the computer science industry. Thanks for reading!