Atelier Clockwork

On Labels

One of the interesting things about being the only iOS developer in an otherwise Windows focused shop means that you end up being labeled as a “Mac Person” by default.

From the outside looking in, it isn’t an unfair assessment as I’m invested in the Apple ecosystem, both in terms of my career and the technology that I choose to use on a daily basis.

I’m largely not bothered by other people thinking of me that way. The only time I’ve had a problem with it is when a sysadmin from another section of the company felt obligated to try to get a rise out of me. And even with that, other people thinking of me that way doesn’t do any damage.

The thing I’ve learned over the years is: me thinking of myself that way does have the potential to cause problems.

This doesn’t just apply to “Mac Person”, it also applies to “Gamer” (Video or Board), “Anime Fan”, “Reader”, “Computer Geek”, and pretty much any label that conflates things that you own or do with things that you are.

Forcing Yourself to Think Inside the Box

One danger that I ran into was that if I thought of myself as conforming to a particular label then sometimes the lines would blur between things that I did because I wanted to do them and things that I did because they matched the mental model of myself that I’d built.

Going back to the “Mac Person” label: while I’m currently very involved in the Apple ecosystem, I’m constantly evaluating how much I think I should diversify my skills and whether or not I’m using the best tools for my requirements.

Most of the time, my answer is to keep working on sharpening my iOS development skills rather than branching out, and I usually feel that if there’s an Apple solution to my problem that’s the one that I want to use, but I have just enough exceptions that I feel like I’m making these choices because they’re what I feel are the best options for me, not because of inertia.