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stick with it


Early in your career, it's an easy trap to fall into thinking that your career progression will be a linear progression. You'll start as a junior engineer, then become a mid-level engineer, then a senior engineer, then a lead engineer, then maybe a manager, and so on.

Even more specifically, you think you'll be involved with several successful projects, and with each successful project you'll get a raise, a promotion, recognition, etc.

This is a trap, but it's hard to convince anyone of this until they've been in the industry for a while.

One of the best ways to grow as an engineer (or really in any capacity) is to fail.

To be a successful senior/staff/principal/whatever engineer, you'll need to have been on many failed projects and many disfunctional teams. If you've only ever been on successful projects with highly-effective teams, you'll have a very distorted view of how to operate in the real world when things get tough. You'll never have acquired tools in your belt for dealing with failure, or warning signs of failure.

So when you find yourself on a team that's dysfunctional or a project that's failing, stick with it. Observe what works and what doesn't work. Someday you'll be in a position to lead a team or a project, and you'll be able to draw on those experiences to make better decisions.