#10: Good enough is good enough

Look ma, I don't care about making it

Hey folks,

I used to wonder if I could get into Google as a software engineer, and now I don’t think about it at all.

Image: DALL·E 3

The thing is, ever since my daughter turned 6 months or so — when she became more animated, interactive, and person-like — I no longer care if I'm fantastic at what I do. (“What I do” here refers to my work work, not other aspects of my life.)

Now, I care only about being good enough at what I do.

For software engineers, getting into Google is the look ma, I made it moment. It’s the ultimate bragging right. If you get in, you’re deemed by the gods of tech that you are fantastic at what you do.

Hearing my inner voice say Good enough is good enough usually means I've found equilibrium on a topic. So it seems to me that my career-chasing pendulum has settled in a resting position.

I'm happy about this change for two reasons.

First, I no longer couple my self-worth with my job. Not bad progress for someone from the hyper-competitive environment of Singapore! On LinkedIn, Instagram, and WhatsApp, I see many Singaporeans still entangled in this coupling. While they see an inevitability, I see a lifetime of voluntary hamster wheeling.

Second, it shows I’ve found meaning beyond career and “impact” in my job. That something, as far as I can tell, is parenting Charlotte and helping her thrive.

Maybe I’m being too honest here, especially since my colleagues read this newsletter. But it’s better to be honest than to pretend, even at the risk of awkward conversations.

Maybe my time at Shopify contributed to my retirement from the hamster wheel. It felt like I-Made-It Lite, like the difference between sipping a $300 bottle of champagne and a $1000 one.

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