A few months ago I went to talk to a company I’ve worked with previously, they had been asking for my time. I’d been busy but finally I’d got some free time to go in and chat. They’d hired someone new running development who was now responsible for all the hiring & firing. At the time I didn’t think it applied to me. I was an Independent Tester that had worked with them only a few months earlier, and would’ve been carrying on the work I had been doing.
I was told I would need to meet the new person and that they would need to interview me. It felt like a bit of a time waste, but hey I go along with it. So I start talking to this person and I quickly get the impression they didn’t understand (good) Software Testing. In amongst the various questions (many terribly vague) I was asked at what point in the lifecycle should a Tester be involved…Of course I answered from the start!
This person told me that they thought that approach was inefficient. At this point I was mentally done. The conversation ended not long after that and I left.
Now we Testers like to
argue fiercely debate everything, and I maintain that is healthy. I know some of those interactions can go awry, but I still think it’s a good thing. We can just do better at making sure interactions don’t have to go that way.
There aren’t many things that we all seem to agree on. But to this day (and I’m sure someone will pop up as an exception after publishing this) I have not met a Software Tester that hasn’t agreed that the earlier we are on a project, the better it is. We understand that by facing issues earlier, and being there to talk things through will lead to poentential harm being reduced.
We all understand the above to be true when it comes to work. So why are there so few of us that approach our mental health in the same way?
During the talk, Gitte talks about feeling like she would die but still carried on without getting the help needed. There was a part that was painful to hear but pertinent to this post.
“I make things happen, it works but it’s horrible inside…Inside I’m dark.”
It’s hard for me to think of anyone feeling that pain, but obviously worse if that person is a friend. So please, if you’re in this place or anywhere near it then please talk to someone, if there isn’t someone then you are always welcome to message me.
We say to ourselves that we’ll get over it, even if we know we’re on a downward spiral we can tell ourselves it will pass. We encounter problems that are a direct knock-on effect of our state, and we still put off getting help. Yet, we’re in work recommending the exact opposite for our projects.
It seems we don’t think our brains deserve the same care. Let’s change that dynamic, let’s take at least as much care about ourselves as we do our work. I mean, I’d say let’s take more care of ourselves than work, but I know that might be a little hard for you some of you 😉
So let’s go with the baby steps. Think of your health in the same ways as you think of work. Do the things that will avoid problems down the road, when you encounter problems talk to someone who has skills with solving those problems. Don’t be afraid of specialist help, they are specialists for a reason. And if someone you know is struggling, or you feel they might be, then please take the time to listen to them with care and love.
I wish you all the best health for 2018.