Ed keeps running into challenges at his new job (as one does) - things like needing to spend hours figuring out how to configure things to make them run properly. Such are the joys of a large software project, I suppose. And a question that comes up is, when do you ask for help?
Ed almost never asks for help. In fact, I've noticed that even in general life situations where contacting someone is obviously called for, he tends not to. (For instance, a while back, during his thesis work, he couldn't access the school server for a few days. "Have you asked anyone about this?" I asked. He had not.)
At my own job, I rarely ask other people for help with software. I did more often in the beginning, because it was the best way for me to learn about the programs I'd never used before. But these days, I know just about as much as the people around me, and I'd rather solve problems myself. (I guess in general, if I think someone else will just immediately know the answer, I'll ask, but if it's a matter of needing to sit down and figure it out, I'd rather do that myself than have help with it, for the most part.)
I have coworkers who ask me for help somewhat often. Over time I've become curious which way the arrow of causality points - do they ask for help often because it's hard for them to figure things out on their own, or is it hard for them to figure things out on their own because they're so willing to just ask for help rather than struggle? I've learned a lot over the years by struggling through things, and I've gotten better and better over time at the sort of debugging type of progress you go through to figure out why software isn't doing what you want. (I don't mean debugging code, but rather like figuring out why Excel isn't doing your chart right, etc. It is similar to debugging in terms of the general cognitive methods that you apply.)
The fact that struggling leads to learning and growth makes it extra-tricky to figure out when you should ask for help. It might save you time now, but make you less effective later. But on the other hand, you might learn something amazing now that you wouldn't figure out on your own, and thus avoid doing something in your own long and laborious way for years. And it depends on the people around you, too. If they know a ton of stuff you don't, or are smarter than you (in the relevant domain), then asking might make more sense.
How willing or reluctant are you to ask colleagues for help?