Hidden skills

3 minutes read

I’m reading Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson. As the title implies, it’s a book about negotiation tactics.

I’m surprised of how much useful advice the book gives to the reader. While I am reading, I remember past situations where I could have used those techniques.

I can’t avoid picturing myself negotiating my salary (a raise or the initial contract negotiation) every time I read a new tip. To be honest, I was aware that I sucked at negotiating, but this book made me realize how bad I am.

I’m not complaining about my past contracts. I’m grateful for them, in fact, I’m grateful for the possibility of working as a software engineer. But I know that most of the times I deserved more. I now recognize when the other part tricked me. I realize that sometimes I should have waited, or not taken the first proposal.

Note: if you are interested; Roger Dawson has an entire book dedicated to salary negotiations: Secrets of Power Salary Negotiating

Yes, I’m sure that I lost money and career opportunities because of my poor negotiation skills, but I’m happy that I found one of my weakest points. Now it’s time to improve.

You may be doing more than you think

This made me acknowledge that most of my work as a programmer is not only programming, I have to: Be an effective communicator: emails, meetings, chats, documents, etc.

And there are probably a few more things that I’m not aware right now…

The thing is, until today my belief was that to be an expert I needed to know engineering in depth. While this is true, I can’t pretend that the rest of the skills are not necessary. They are and I need to focus a bit on them.

Looking for the extras

From now on I’ll try to apply this concept to everything I do.

If I’m playing the djembe, I’ll try to be alert of the extra skills that I need to improve to be a better player. Do I need to improve my communication skills to share rhythms with other players? Do I need to learn how to read tablatures?

If I’m planning a trip. Do I need to improve my cartography skills? Do I need to improve my social skills to enjoy the trip with other people?

Closing thoughts

Roberto Dip