For those of you who have followed my website for sometime you may have noticed I have removed something from my website.
Can you guess what it is? Yes it is the word “high quality”.
My websites description use to read …
“Freelance Web Software Developer from Derbyshire, UK. I write high quality code to create and deliver web based software projects.”
And it now reads this …
“Freelance Web Software Developer from Derbyshire, UK. I write code to create and deliver web based software projects.”
I do not know why I said I produce “high quality” code in the first place, what did I hope to gain from this?
James Barnsley A produces code to power websites.
James Barnsley B produces high quality code to power websites.
Is a potential customer going to read my website and think …
Oh well, I had better go with James Barnsley B then instead of James Barnsley A. It is highly unlikely is it not?
I wrote about this in a previous article which has now been deleted but I will describe what happend again for the benefit of the people who never read the article.
A while ago I rang up a company who I was looking to work with and I explained to one of the people at the company about myself, the customers I have worked with and that I do programming.
I also mentioned that I do programming as a hobby and immediately in a raised voice the person blurted out …
“We do programming as a profession here, we do not do it as some hobby, we are doing this for a living!”
Yes I get that, hence the reason I talked about myself and the customers I had already worked with, some of which are multi-million pound organizations.
Anyways for some reason the person ignored all that and obviously just thought I was a “hobby” programmer.
I actually did programming as a “profession” and then in my spare time did it as a “hobby” also by working on my own personal projects.
There are a lot of these turning a hobby into a job articles online that all follow a similar theme, here is one of those …
The theme generally takes the story of a person who is doing something for a hobby like programming and then after a number of years of doing it as a hobby the person had a moment of “enlightenment” and all of sudden he is no longer doing it as a hobby anymore but as a job.
The person makes all the analogies about he “tightened up his processes”, “defined what he really wanted to do” and how his “programming improved to such an extent that he is no longer doing it as a hobby but as a job”.
The person has left all his / her “hobby” programmers behind because their just not there yet and have not reached the level of “enlightenment” that he / she has. Yes, a person should always wear his “hobby” programmer badge with pride until he has reached the “next level”.
Let me turn my hobby into a job …
“I am James Barnsley and I do web programming as a
After thinking about this I can see how that related to myself.
I started out as James Barnsley who writes code to power web software systems. Now James Barnsley has had a number of years experience at doing this James Barnsley is no longer just James Barnsley but is James Barnsley who writes “high quality” code to power web software systems because James Barnsley says so.
Jon Smith starts out as a “hobby” programmer who writes code to power web software systems. After a number of years Jon Smith is no longer Jon Smith the “hobby” programmer who writes code to power web software systems but is Jon Smith the “professional” who writes code to power web software systems because Jon Smith says so.
In reality neither the word “hobby” or “professional” was needed.
So basically once I got “self confident” enough I decided to stick the word “high quality” in the paragraph. I felt I had reached a “new level” and I needed to inform potential customers of this by sticking the “high quality” label on my website.
Why was James Barnsley not “high quality” at the beginning of his programming practice?
Why is James Barnsley “high quality” now?
Why is James Barnsley “high quality” in the future?
Yes “high quality” is a subjective term anyway, but I do not want get into that. The simple point is that “high quality” is just a label. I could have stuck “high quality” on my website at any time I choose to, it means nothing. Even if I was “high quality” it still means nothing.
These labels can become something that haunt you, they can become something that control you, they can become something that irritate you as shown in the reaction of the person at the company I rang.
The person was probably only defending himself and his company but the word “hobby” or “professional” should not matter, should it? What if my code as a “hobby” programmer was greater than his code as a “professional” programmer.
If I take the humble approach it does not matter whether I got a “very bad” or a “very good” label applied to me because I am none of these labels.
These labels are trying to get me to form a conclusion about myself.
An example would be let us say someone said “I look very beautiful” and I accept that label about myself.
What happens if that same person or another person now comes along and says “I look ugly”. I would be devastated right? This is because my value is now being derived from these labels.
Now what happens if I consider myself none of these labels and I truly believe this to be the case.
A person comes up to me and says “I look very beautiful”, well instantly I know this does not apply to me.
Now someone comes along and says “I look ugly”, well instantly I know this does not apply to me.
So you can get what I am getting at. If I accept either label “beautiful” or “ugly” I have really done myself a dis-service have I not?
You could say I only accept positive labels about myself but this is unlikely as someone who accepts positive labels about themselves is bound in way to accept negative labels about themselves.
Accepting the labels means it has opened you up to attack i.e. now that you have accepted you are “beautiful” we can get you to accept that you are “ugly” right?
This is what I mean even if I am “beautiful” and it is true that I am “beautiful” the word “beautiful” has no part of me. It can be true that I am “beautiful” or “ugly” without those labels belonging to me.
There is a difference between these labels and me even if some of these are labels are true.
When someone says you are “beautiful”, “great”, “fantastic”, “ugly”, “a prat”, “worthless”, “substandard” or whatever, do not be so quick to accept the label, even if it is true. The “truth” can belong to another person without having to belong to you in the same way a “lie” can belong to another person without having to belong to you.
I heard somebody suggest once …
“If someone is making comments on you “good” or “bad” then you mean more to them than they mean to you”.
I do not believe this to be the case. You may not mean anything to the people who are applying these labels to you and as stated earlier if you accept these labels then you may be doing yourself a dis-service.
So anyways going by this more humble interpretation and because putting “high quality” on my website is not going to make a difference in the clients that I get I have decided to remove “high quality” from my website for these reasons.