You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Tags: Technical   Team   Training  
6/03/2013 10:20 AM

By Wayne Pentecost

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but my time here at Happen has proven that it really depends on the tricks, and the old dog.

I've spent the vast majority of my time in IT working close to the operating system, both writing code and providing technical support in the mainframe arena, affectionately known as the 'Big Irons'. So that effectively makes me an ‘Old Dog’.

An interesting observation I have found with writing and supporting software is that the more things change the more they stay the same. Coming up to speed with Jim2 has been a very steep learning curve, but that’s actually a good thing as long you have the right people to learn from. No problem with that here at Happen.

Drawing on experience to learn new skills is the leverage for 'the same old' to exploit 'the new games'. I think I will have the new tricks under control, given a bit of time of course.

But what of the Old Dog part of the equation? Well it's not quite the 'grumpy old man' syndrome, but not being able to do things as quickly and efficiently as I'm used to is rather frustrating for me. OK, I admit it, I'm a bit impatient… my wife actually has other words for it, but I don't think I could put them in print here.

In some ways it's a bit like doing a large jigsaw puzzle – the more pieces that you've put together the faster you can add new pieces. So I try to focus on the positives of the pieces coming together, and try to keep my impatience on a tight leash. Easier said than done of course.

I've never tired of writing code, and doing so using a new language on an unfamiliar platform is, to quote another programmers' adage, ‘not a problem but a feature’. I've also had the privilege of always working with very clever people over the years, and here at Happen I can tick that box. In fact that was a prerequisite for accepting the job here, but then I did have inside information on that point.

So, for now the goal is to learn as much as I can to become proficient with the new tricks while keeping this Old Dog happy. To quote one of my axioms, ‘if you enjoy your work you'll never work a day in your life’.

About Wayne

Wayne likes enjoying good food and good wine with good friends.

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