Ask for help

Here's how I can tell I need help:

  • I'm working at 1:00 AM and it's not because it's required (like some performance testing) or because I really like doing it (too much cool software and not enough daylight time).

  • People are talking about something that needs to be tested and I can't follow the conversation (due to a lack of domain knowledge or technical knowledge).

  • I'm missing deadlines (for the project I'm struggling with or for other projects because I can't get away from the project I'm struggling with).

  • I'm not happy with the quality of my work.

If one or two of those happen for a short period of time, I probably need help. If all of them are happening (like they are right now), I know I need help.

When you need help, ask for it. That's easy to say, but hard for a lot of people to do. I know it's hard for me. I also know it's hard for many people who've worked for me. For me, it's an ego thing. But sometimes I need to recognize that I'm not helping anyone (most of all myself) by trying to hide the fact that I need help. Often, help is there - ready and waiting to be had.

If you're overwhelmed, ask for help. You might be surprised where it comes from.