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The Human Factor

Your manager has probably expressed a desire for you to have fun and to work on cool projects. That's not quite the whole story. The hidden truth is what's known as the fun employment clause: You are hired to have fun if, and only if, you're making sure the user has an enjoyable experience with the product. This is because end users pay your salarythey pay all of our salaries. It means that everything you do should ultimately benefit the user and, therefore, your company. You want to focus on growing the intersection between your company's goals and your users' goals.

Each line of code you write, every bug you find, and any market research you do should help the user in some way. No matter how obscure or indirect your work is, you're still bound by the fun employment clause. For example, fixing a device driver, improving reliability, or optimizing server performance makes the product better in measurable ways for any user. Doing market research helps focus the product on the right set of people so you can satisfy their needs. If you can't connect the dots between the work you do and how it helps the customer, consider investing your time somewhere else. The more frequently you think of your work, and your team's work, in end-user terms, the more likely you are to help create a great product.


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