There’s a story we tell about advancing in our jobs.

We start out inexperienced, kind of dumb or lucky or something. Then something happens to us and we learn from it, and then learn again, and then learn some more, and that all adds up to us being “senior.” It’s a ramp we climb over time and we only get better as we get more experienced. If we learn the right way and we’re naturally talented or whatever, the ramp is steep and goes up high. If we do the wrong stuff then we stay where we are or slide back down.

Of course that’s horseshit.

Yes, learning is awesome and there are things we learn that make us better and better. I experience advancement much more as a sawtooth progression, though. Unlearning what you used to know is as or more important than learning.