Sh*t happens or how I survived the negative feedback

Personal experience

After almost 5 months since I started the Team Lead position, I made a mistake. But as it usually happens, the significant error resulted from complex things that weren't good.

I have an impostor syndrome almost all my life, which causes a lot of pain. Most of the time, I feel that I'm not good enough. But it has an opposite influence, too - if you are a fighter, you will constantly grow to soothe that feeling. Of course, if someone I respect and believe would give me positive feedback (or I would have another kind of confirmation), I could feel that I'm OK. Impostor syndrome retreats for a while.

When I was doing my job for 5 months, I had all the positive feedback. I even received my first bonus and believed that I was finally good. I'm the PRO. I'm amazing!
Do you feel it coming?
I was not.

We had a bunch of legacy scripts that were running on a server. It was developed in 2013, and there wasn't anyone who knew the service well. And we didn't have any monitoring to alert us if something went wrong on that virtual machine. But the value of the scripts for business was pretty high.

So we had to add a feature to the script, and I decided that I could do it easily. I prepared the fix and decided that I could quickly deploy it between meetings. I did it, and this is how the sh*t happened.


Just before 10 minutes into the meeting with our CEO, my colleague wrote that's something not OK with the scripts. There was an error, and we lost critical business data. I was shaking. I tried to find the cause of the mistake, but there wasn't enough time. I had to go to the CEO, and my colleague had to leave all of his tasks and go to fix my mistake. It was clear that I broke something during that quick fix.

The next day when the problem was solved, I received the following feedback from my colleague:

I don't like what's been happening the last two days. You change the old collector in the mechanism responsible for saving data to the database. You do not monitor the cron logs, which resulted in our not collecting statistics on the hyper. Cause you have meetings, I abandoned my tasks and spent about 3 hours searching for the causes and monitoring the consequences.

It was like a punch to the gut. Not only the feedback, all the situation. I was my colleague's lead, but he had to fix My mistake. It had to be the opposite!


Good for me, I've already heard of John Fisher's Personal Character Curve. It seemed that I was at my Stupidity peak. At this stage, a person watches their own success and usually expects the best and foresees a bright future. After that stage, there will be a Perception cliff, and it always hurts. But it's also good because it will bring knowledge and professionalism.

I've studied my lesson. After that situation I don't do things in a hurry and if I'm in such situation I take time to prioritise.
In our team we have deploy's and rollback plans, monitoring, tests and other good staff.

And if I feel that I'm the best (this is rare for me 🙃), I remember I have to be highly attentive, or I would sh*t everything once again.

P.S. The data which we lost by my mistake I recovered manually 🤣