My Humble Beginnings

When I first started using Git, I was really paranoid about losing code. The only VCS I'd used before that was Subversion, where branching is this arcane thing that causes all kinds of trouble. So I didn't have a lot of practice with merging -- let alone rebasing, which everyone said was really dangerous. (Remember LSD and chainsaws?)

So, before I tried something I was a little uncertain about, I would back up the entire directory.

$ cd ..
$ cp -r work backup_work
$ cd work

Then I'd do the merge, or rebase, or whatever it was that I thought was tricky. If it looked like it worked, I'd continue on; if not, I'd delete the working directory, rename the old one, and try something else.

I don't have records, but I'm pretty sure I did this for at least my first year of working with Git.

When I finally realized that references make commits reachable, I (a) felt very dumb for all those times I backed up the repository, and (b) developed a much faster strategy for getting my repository back to a known state.