I'm not good about reading documentation

I'm not good about reading documentation. This is a weakness that I know I have, and it recently cropped up again at work. I was trying to solve a gnarly problem having to do some caching in our CI pipeline, and I was talking it out with our Director of Engineering.

"Is there anything you can do to bust the cache?", he asked me.

"No, it's kind of a hand-wavey black box", I replied.

I was 100% wrong. A Google search for "NX cache busting" right after our meeting got me several options which ultimately led me to a solution. All of the options were right there in the docs.

Other than RTFM, are two things to take away from this. The first is that it's always good to talk it out when you're stuck on a problem. Friends and colleagues with a little distance can often see things that you're blind to in the moment.

But here's the bigger thing: This is not the first time that I've been bitten by my tendency to jump into code and skip early research. I know this about myself, and I periodically get rude reminders like this one. With a little bit of conscious effort I can improve on this.

And that's the big lesson to take away from this. The way to improve at anything is not just to put your nose to the grindstone and work work work. Hard work will only get you so far. Learn to see where you can apply a little conscious effort to get the most results.

What's something you can work on that will have an outsized payoff for the effort involved?


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