I have found more cynics and pessimists in Software, than in the other industries I have worked in. Maybe its the constant stream of bugs, maybe its the customers who are never happy, or perhaps this is the typical engineers’ personality, or a product which is always “almost there, but not quite”….
I work as a product manager, and I find myself in the middle of all these things everyday. I try to stay positive…I guess that’s just me. It normally does not affect me and I have been able to swim by in a sea of pessimism. But recently, I find that the constant cynicism has started affecting me. I don’t feel like convincing anyone that things are not so bad. Dealing with them is sapping my energy. If someone starts on a rant about the brokenness of everything….I ignore him. I also want to make that perfect software, where everything works just as designed, but surprisingly the suggestions are never pitched this way.
But what amazes me is that….software is a relatively laid back scenario when it comes to deadlines or “what’s the worst that can happen”. In oilfield services, the cost of delaying the operation by a day or screwing it up could easily go north of a hundreds of thousands of dollar everytime. In retail financial services, I found people either optimistic or care_a_damn. In medical, seen indirectly through my dad/sis’ eyes, any mistake could be life-threatening but I never found them to be so pessimistic. I wonder why there is so much negativity in software?
This is probably some personal growth phase, and hopefully I will figure out, soon, how to deal with such situations….but for now its a pain in the a** and I am probably getting a few grey hair every week because of this…