Charles Barkley syndrome
I've worked on a project where I've been the goto character that I'm sure many people are familiar with:
- The guy who knows how every bit of the system works, and how each part has evolved.
- The guy who knows where the buggy bits are.
- The guy who knows how to diagnose every stack trace his colleagues can throw his way.
I've also assumed the role on other projects of a solid developer who can be counted on to churn out good quality code, but is someone who stays in the background and doesn't influence the project in the same way as the main guy.
If I were to join a new project team tomorrow, I'm not sure which role I would try to assume. I've found being the top dog to be a source of personal satisfaction, but also quite exhausting and disruptive (it's not so easy to plan your day at the office when anything can be thrown your way). On the other hand, I've found that keeping a sense of detachment between myself and my project can cause work to become, well, a little dull. I am young and ambitious, but at the same time I don't want work to sap me of my energy! Does anyone else wrestle with this dilemma, and if so how do you find a rewarding middle path?