Often, you tangle yourself in the things from the past, making it hard to focus on being forward-looking. Whether it is your investment into college education that isn’t flowing into work, or a previous job experience that is irrelevant in a new role — hanging on to something unimportant going into the future is an utter waste of energy and time.
But it happens all the time because we rely on previous academic or work experiences to help us build our careers.
As a developer who has no option but to be a lifelong learner, always focus your energies on things with a utility now or in the future. Be ready to discard skills when they are no longer relevant, even if you have used them for a long time and are familiar with them. Stop deploying half-baked code, even if it means abandoning a ton of work, and stop doing things that make little sense even when you already put in tons of effort.
Of course, usually, when you have already spent time, effort, or money, you often feel attached, and it’s no longer easy just to discard things and move on.
The sunk-cost fallacy describes it best. People are reluctant to leave a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when abandonment would be more beneficial. An aversion to loss, combined with a hope of turning what you already know into future wins, even when it is unlikely to be the case, will lead you into making more losses. Being aware of the sunk-cost fallacy every time you must decide on something will help you evaluate many choices with ease.
Be vigilant of the commitment bias — a tendency to remain committed to a path you already choose despite knowing that it no longer makes sense under changed circumstances.
Be on the watch for loss-aversion bias — when you are trying to avoid a minor pain even after knowing that the upside is relatively much higher. Happens because you don’t want to experience pain, however small the risk / pain is.
Conquer your biases and learn how various factors lead you to make irrational decisions that can affect your career.
Learn to say bye-bye to things you don’t need anymore and move on. Technology keeps changing. You should too.