Photo by Paweł Rękas

Who the f*ck has written this terrible code?

Haven't you thought this from time to time? I must admit that I have. But what does it mean when we react like that?

Being mindful we might notice that the code we are dealing with is a cause of stress for us. Maybe we have to fix things, refactor it, or figure out how it works in the first place. Maybe we feel fear, because we have to maintain something that is in bad shape and might cause unexpected issues.

It could also mean that we feel superior to the ‘ignorant’ developers that were responsible for it, and that we want to show how we would have done it way better.

Either reaction is not going to serve us, our colleagues or the developers that wrote the ‘terrible’ code. Our stress is not going away, our team mates will learn that they will be judged harshly when their code is not good enough, and the developers that wrote the code will feel shame, if they have witnessed our reaction.

Equally important is that we will feed our own fear of failing, because we know that we might face a situation where we will not be able to live up to our own high standards.

Of course these reactions are mostly automatic. But what if we could be aware of what is going on in our minds while we are dealing with this code we don’t like? If we would be aware that this code is causing us stress, frustration, or triggers our arrogance. And what if we would be aware of the consequences of our reactions? Would we choose a different response? A response that helps us relax, feel more confident and at peace? More compassionate?

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