Original post

With the pairing, I keep thinking that even with things that I’ve taught, or talked about, or explained a dozen times wherever, the moment I get on a pairing session it’s almost like I’m seized by this sort of – I think Jaana might have hit the nail on the head… Basically, this intimidation that I feel. I feel like there’s a pressure to be right. Like you’re saying, Mat, you’ve established a rapport, and that comes if you’ve been working with somebody for a while… You’ve established a rapport where you can be wrong.

Right now at work I get to pair with folks from other teams, and sometimes we’re pairing for the first time, and they’re basically saying “Hey, I’m trying to do this thing… They say you’re the person to help”, and all of a sudden I feel that pressure, and it’s like “Oh, crap.” “I don’t know who told you what…”

[00:40:01.12] Now there’s this expectation that I’m gonna solve all problems related to Go. Then we’re talking and we’re explaining something, and I’m like “Okay, normally it would be me sitting and looking at the problem and thinking of the best way to deal with it, and now you’re asking me to do this in real time.” I have to basically say “How would I do this? How would I do this?” And they’re sitting there, waiting for me to provide some guidance and insight, and I’m sitting there thinking like “Crap!” Normally, I’d be sitting down and thinking through this thing. It takes hours for me to come up with something good, and now I have to do it in real time, and come up with the right design pattern, come up with the right abstraction, and come up with the right way to have these goroutines communicate with each other, or whatever it is.

There’s this pressure in the moment that just feels insurmountable. I think I’ve been getting better at it, but for that reason alone I don’t enjoy pairing as much, if I’m not the one driving… But I realize that if I’m going to help somebody else, they need to be the one doing the driving, because they’re the ones that are gonna learn from that experience, and they can’t do that if they’re just watching you do the work. They have to do the work, so it’s like a personal problem that I have to kind of get over… But yeah, pairing is just one of my least favorite things to do, but I realize I have to lean into it, kind of thing.