How a Trained Doctor Diagnoses Healthy Devs

Kelly Vaughn is not only one of the pioneers in creating thought-led content for the developer community, she is also one of those rare programmers with a trained practitioner background in the craft.

From knowing what content devs need to develop to being able to recognize the cognitive-behavioral implications of the developer experience, Kelly Vaughn is truly one of our most unique guests ever.

In our conversation, Kelly leveraged her background as a therapist to explore what dev organizations should do to identify developers as unique human beings with their own feelings, motivations, and biases.

A discipline-crossing discussion, this pod is invaluable if you’re thinking about what a healthy dev team should look like as well as how to build it.

Episode highlights include:

  • (1:09) Ladybug Podcast
  • (4:44) Kelly’s degree in clinical social work
  • (12:37) Do not share on social media
  • (19:01) Why burnout isn’t “the 24-hour flu”
  • (22:23) 1:1 s. bring more sympathy to
  • (23:50-31:27) Dealing with imposter syndrome, negative self-talk, and toxic positivity
  • (41:41) The dangers of comparing yourself to others
  • (44:51) The Importance of Building Your Network as an Entrepreneur

Episode excerpts:

Want to become an entrepreneur? Build your network:

Connor: Let’s say we want a takeaway for someone who is a budding entrepreneur or a budding engineering leader. What would that advice be?

Kelly: Build your network. Honestly, build a community around you. Entrepreneurship is very lonely when you are on top of yourself. Engineering leadership, the higher you go, the more lonely it becomes because the fewer people you can talk to, the more responsibilities you have and the more people you depend on. So build a network of other engineering leaders or other entrepreneurs who you know are on the same journey you know, whether they are moving forward or just starting out. It doesn’t matter because you can share so much from a “this is what’s happening in my days” point of view that you can’t share with your direct report, for example. I think the more you spend nurturing that network and building those strong relationships with others, the easier the tough times will be, because the hard times will come.

Managing Burnout:

Kelly: As an engineering leader, there are many things you can do to help your team with burnout. But I think the most important thing is empathy, you know? It’s a very… The last two years, you know, have been chaotic for everyone. And we’re all trying to figure out how to best approach, you know, this next step, this next chapter of our lives, this next chapter, you know, what the world looks like at the moment. And you really need to check-in with your teams, for example, we’re not talking about projects unless it comes up organically. We’re talking, how are you? Know, let’s talk about you. What’s up, you know, what’s going on? And I think it also helps that I can get therapy training so that we can turn it into a mini therapy session. But if you’re not comfortable with that, I also understand that you don’t want to talk about it. You want to talk about projects. Let’s talk about projects. It’s simply about catering to what that person needs in the present moment to help them through their burnout and recognizing that it’s not going to happen overnight.

Leave a Comment