3 Ways Ego Prevents You from Succeeding at Work

I’ve started to come into my own as a developer over the last few months. I can complete story work faster, I am better with my tools, and I am more useful to my team and client. These are all good things, but with my rising skill set came another problem: a rising ego. I would get frustrated about not immediately knowing the answer to problems. This would send me on some pretty large mood swings from feeling on top of the world to being returned to my junior developer reality.

It never caused any real professional problems for me, but it certainly was inhibiting my growth as a developer and an Atom. Here is where I saw improvement from getting my ego under control.

Drop your ego and increase your capacity for learning.

I was much worse at learning new information when I had an inflated ego. I always expected I’d know the answer every question, every problem, and every bug. When I would inevitably need help, I found myself getting frustrated at not knowing the answer that was being presented to me rather than using that moment to learn more about the system, the language, and the software development practice.

I recognized two things when reflecting on my emotions. One, it is an absurd idea to expect myself (especially as a junior developer) to know the answer to every question. Two, it’s one of Atomic’s core values to be able to teach and learn. I was not exhibiting that value when I was allowing my ego to control my emotions. Dropping my ego allowed me to exhibit the teach and learn value much better, and I have become a better developer because of it.


Drop your ego and build better relationships with your coworkers.

No one likes hanging out with the person thats always angry or the one that always has a chip on their shoulder. No one likes working with the person that gets frustrated with feedback and can’t listen to direction while driving. I caught myself starting to exhibit a lot of these problematic behaviors which hurt my relationships with my coworkers and hurt my own vision of myself. Dropping my ego helped to bring joy to my work and allowed me to connect to my coworkers better. Now we can laugh, joke, and have fun while still delivering lots of value.

Drop your ego for better mental health.

The combination of struggling to learn and reacting to imagined sleights wore very heavily in my head. It was a constant battle of getting over my frustration and flaring imposter syndrome. This took a large emotional toll on my mental health. Dropping my ego helped to quell these problems. I came home from work happier, had more energy for my partner and cats, picked up new hobbies, and saw improvements at work. I spent less time fluctuating between extremes and more time existing in the moment. Dropping my ego and being kind to myself improved my mental health leaps and bounds (I know, crazy).

Dropping my inflated ego has allowed me to return to work as a happier and more productive developer. I can learn more while having lots of fun with my colleagues and I have a healthier mental state.


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