Dan DiGangi - Software Engineering Manager, Tech Instructor/Mentor
Published on

Being the Kid Who Raised His Hand


Remember that one kid in class who always raised his hand with something to say? That was me.

At a younger age, this is common with most children. We raise our hand in excitement to ask a question or give an answer. Is that how it was as you got older? More than likely, no. Getting older meant we grew to understand the ridicule for being that person. We became insecure. We wonder what others might think of us and hope to god we don't embarrass ourselves.

To this day, I don't regret being that kid. I always asked questions in the pursuit of knowledge. I raised concerns when things didn't make sense. This didn't always bode well with others but I know now how glad I am I acted that way.

The greater quest to gain insight around what I had to say or ask was far more valuable. This hasn't changed much since school either. Moving into my career, I believe it is my duty to take similar actions. I ask questions to learn and raise concerns to alleviate issues down the road. I can't tell you how many times this has caused strife with employees or managers though.

I see in other people a concrete fear to act this way. They fear being fired or negatively impacting their work environment. The truth is that they're right. It is scary but it is not a reason to stop. That confidence to step up and ask those questions or raise concerns is a highly coveted skill.

I like to think that my confidence in this area comes from a few things..

  • It's not a legitimate reason to get fired
  • I've never had an issue finding a job thanks to my skill set
  • Is not questions one of the best ways to learn?
  • Why wouldn't you raise concern around issues that could arise longer term?

Knowing these things, I continue to be that same kid who raises his hand. Maybe even sometimes too much but getting those notions out into the open has rarely hurt me along my journey. I'm not sure my reasoning above of is exactly the same for you but it is something worth thinking about.

In the end, these actions should be dictated by your ability to know when questions or concerns need to be stated, not the fear of what might happen by having the confidence to open your mouth.

- DD