This weeks first apprenticeship pattern is The Deep End. The main issue this one is trying to solve is essentially getting into a rut. When one is just competently doing their job for a while, they are not preparing themselves for the next step or improving themselves. They are not advancing themselves as a craftsman, but simply doing a competent job and nothing else. As it states pretty succinctly, bland competence eventually decays into mediocrity .
A software craftsman has to improve their skills and their confidence, they need challenges. By not taking challenges, advancing in ones career becomes difficult. This is something I myself have experienced, especially during my college career. This is mostly due to the varied classes taking up both my focus and time, making it difficult to fully devote myself to advancing my software skills. This fed into a bit of a negative feedback loop where I would get down on myself for not working hard enough on challenging myself or being productive enough, which would definitely not encourage me to do more.
As the pattern states, a solution to this is to simply force oneself into a challenge, that requires ones full attention and learning new skills. By forcing an ultimatum, essentially, where one either grows and succeeds or fails, growing becomes much easier. Also, in my opinion, having a new project in and of itself is a very motivating thing. Something new that you might not even know how to begin solving is very exciting. It is akin to a new toy, playing with it can be much more appealing. It is a bit shallow, but it is true. Also, by being challenged, it can rouse the pride of a software craftsman inside that might have slowly faded in the rut.
I agree with the text, it can be dangerous to go head first into a challenge or big change without any help or guidance. While a big, new project can be a change of pace that allows one to break out of a rut, it can also cause them to fail and further entrench them or worse. It is important to throw oneself into the deep end, but make sure there is a lifeguard present.