Get comfortable with being uncomfortable is a saying that I hear a lot when I’m around tech people, and particularly non-technical people working in tech. I get the feeling when hearing this saying repeated aloud, that my understanding of this it is quite different to the understanding of the people I hear repeating it.

In a team-based environment, it is important to voice discomfort at the earliest available opportunity. Whether that discomfort is a result of dynamics in the team, gaps in knowledge and understanding, unrealistic expectations, or any number of other things.

Whenever I hear the saying get comfortable with being uncomfortable or some variation of it repeated, the purpose of its repetition is more often than not to discourage and silence instances of people voicing their individual discomfort.

It is hard to address and work on issues that aren’t made explicit. The practical use of this saying in tech today largely serves to reinforce the idea that addressing individual discomfort is a primarily individual responsibility. Not only do I think that this is not true, I think it actively promotes poor mental hygiene.

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is not a uniquely individual responsibility, it is also a collective responsibility. Part of that collective responsibility entails allowing both yourself and others the space to voice discomforts, and ultimately, ensuring an environment where to be uncomfortable is not considered an inherently shameful state.