Hi there,
After the huge dip in my conference attendance in recent years, I'm excited to have a bunch of open source conferences lined up this spring. This week, I'll be at DevOpsDays Berlin. So if you're there as well, please say Hi! You'll recognize me for sure (see below).

Mentor Monologue

Losing motivation is very common in our industry, as the frequency of questions about this topic in the Monospace Mentor community indicates. I'm no exception; I have experienced a lack of drive and dips in work ethic a lot myself, and I still do.

I've read a lot about motivation ever since I got my first IT management job back in 2004. One of the most popular non-academic books on this issue is "Drive" by Daniel Pink. In it, Pink differentiates between different levels of motivation. "Motivation 1.0" describes the desire to satisfy our basic needs such as food or procreation. Motivation 2.0 can be summed up as "Seek pleasure and avoid pain". Unfortunately, all too often, this is all we get in terms of motivation in our jobs.

The most obvious way this "carrot and stick" principle manifests in our work is in salary increases and bonuses. They're a very common carrot that gets dangled in front of us as a motivator to achieve specific targets. Promotions have a similar effect because not only do they come with a pay raise, they also provide prestige in form of a shiny new job title. Sticks often come in the form of deadlines; the threat of project delays and their possible career consequences create pressure on us to perform.

Pink collected ample scientific evidence that this kind of motivation isn't very effective or sustainable. The reason is that it relies on external rewards and punishments to encourage certain behaviours. Extrinsic motivation loses its effect quickly and needs to be constantly renewed or even intensified. In "Drive", Pink states that intrinsic motivation (which he calls "motivation 3.0") is far superior. This motivation comes from our own desire to learn, to create, and to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. To foster these internal drives, we need autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Which brings us to my advice on what to do when we feel that we've lost our zeal.

Losing steam isn't necessarily caused by an existential crisis. Sometimes, the solution is as easy as just shaking things up a bit by switching to a different task or working from a coffee shop. If you notice the dip reoccurring in short intervals or lasting for a longer duration, I recommend you take a timeout to look at the three ingredients that nourish your intrinsic motivation. Because often, a slight change of "diet" is all it takes to reignite that spark. Here's a bunch of questions that can help you get back on track:
  • Autonomy: Are you currently driven mostly by external factors such as objectives and deadlines? How do they align with your own goals? Is there room to pursue those as well?
  • Mastery: Do you experience personal growth? Sometimes, we just don't see it even though it's there. It's also possible that your job has become kind of dull. What ways can you think of that introduce learning and improving your skills back into your work days?
  • Purpose: Have you lost sight of why you've started doing this in the first place? Is that purpose still there, or has it changed? Can you identify something other than your pay check that gives meaning to your work?
Spending a bit of thought on these questions is often enough to get your motor running again. If not, it's possible that your current job is missing one or more of those three drivers. In that case, it's time for a course correction.

Changelog

Have you ever watched my live stream and thought to yourself: "Wow, that's a great hoodie! I'm sad that I don't own one of these myself." I know you have. That's why I launched a merch shop where you can get MM-branded clothes, mugs, stickers, and even your very own Bash Bear with an embroidered terminal prompt! (Tip: A piece of MM gear makes you easy to recognize at conferences!)

In The Server Room

With The Server Room, I've also launched my mentorship program. It's a special membership tier that not only includes all the benefits of the BRONZE, SILVER and GOLD levels, but also direct collaboration with me and monthly 1:1 coaching calls. For the first 20 people who sign up for a yearly membership, I'm offering a founder discount of 50%. It applies for the whole duration of your subscription, which means that you can save €450 every year by signing up now with the discount code "FOUNDER0622".
Our community is growing steadily, and I'd like to welcome all our new members, for example Yohan who already volunteered for a Hot Seat session!

Yes, we're going to have our first Hot Seat this month where we go on a video call to discuss an issue presented by one of our community members. I'm so excited to be leading this roundtable!

Recommended reading

As an online teacher, I always recommend additional material to my students with which they can expand their horizon. Here's a list of reading tips I've curated for you.

Heat Death of the Internet

A short column on the many ways the internet is getting worse. And a hint how we as a community can get the useful internet back. Fuel on the fire that drives me to enable people to take part in the indie web.

A simple manifesto for making good things

"There’s a problem out there that you can solve. I don’t know what it is, but with your skills and status and assets, you’ll be able to change the course of at least one person’s life. So do it."

Architecture Style : Modulith (vs Microservices)

An interesting approach of structuring an application as a collection of loosely coupled modules, each encapsulating a specific business capability or domain.

sudon't

The `sudo` command has come under heavy criticism. Alternatives like `sudo-rs` and `run0` have entered the scene. In this article, Tony Finch argues that many of the commonly stated reasons for using `sudo` don't really hold water.

The Ruby on Rail Podcast, episode 510: Burnout

Okay, it's not reading, but listen to this podcast. Dr. Katy Cook‘s advice will either help you deal with burnout or, if it’s not an issue for you yet, help prevent it.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you found my News from The Server Room enjoyable and helpful. If you have any feedback or questions, simply reply to this email!
Take care!
Jochen, the Monospace Mentor