Folks working in the tech industry, in particular, are being persistently bombarded with the word “empathy”. It comes up in all kinds of walks of life, but my lens is the tech industry. And it’s being brought up so often to tip the scales in favour of humanity in an industry that’s designed to work with robots, machines & code — the opposite of humans.
It’s also there to redress the balance of an industry that has been domineered by a generation or two of “old white guys” with a bee in their bonnet. The industry is trying to shift away from that, and empathetic to cohorts that have traditionally suffered. Most notably, women.
n Empathy: Identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motive.
Bring empathetic has huge benefits in the tech industry. Designers should be empathetic to their eventual target users. Developers should be empathetic to other developers who they’ll collaborate with. Sales & marketing need to be empathetic to their target persona customers/users. And the industry should be empathetic to everyone within it, and those who’d like to join the tech party.
But empathy describes a feeling of connection.
n Altruism: Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.
We need empathy. It’s important, especially in tech. But those of us within the industry need to be more altruistic towards people need who need our help. To be less extreme, we need compassion coupled with action. Simply feeling bad for someone’s situation can often be useful. But an altruistic act to rectify the situation is n-times more powerful.
By no means am I saying that I’m a wonderfully altruistic person. But it’s certainly something I want to try to become as I see situations that require it in my career. I do it enough in my personal life (with my wife & puppy, anyway) but I reckon I could do more in work.