Transitions in life are interesting. They can be fun, exciting, terrible, easy, hard, painful, accomplished as a team or battled out solo. They can make us eat or starve, drink or abstain, laugh or cry, want to press on or to give up. To me, the ability to often times choose when we make transitions and how to strategize for them is one of the best perks of being human. Yes, there are times that we don't have control and transitions hit us from out of nowhere, but there is great power and opportunity in all of the other times that we do have control - and that, as far as I know, is unique to us :)
Going from great to... even better
In December of 2014, I had started a new position with a software consulting firm. It was my first role as a consultant and I was pretty scared at first. However, as that year started going by I began to cultivate strong relationships with peers and customers, and found out that with a
little lot of hard work and some much attention to detail, I was OK at this. My confidence grew and I found that your confidence is almost as important as your ability. If you have all the ability in the world, but come across to a client as anything less than confident in yourself, then it's extremely hard to change their perception of you later. This is also true of your peers, but it's a bit easier to adjust a peer's perception as they likely work more closely with you than a client.
The company I was working for is great. They highly value the input from the consultants, encourage cross-team collaboration, and gave me my first opportunities at mentoring other developers. The atmosphere and character of the people are excellent. The projects were also interesting and forced me to stretch my abilities and creativity to new levels.
The one that got through
Then, one opportunity in particular came to me and I was going to delete it like all the others, but it had 2 items that I found interesting - 1) UX Developer was the role, 2) working remotely was an option. The second item is what really caught my eye; I'm extremely self-motivated, communicate well, and have always thought I'd excel at working remotely. The first item initially made me think this was more of a design-oriented position, so I passed it along to a friend that is a much better designer than myself.
Ever have a gut-feeling that you need to give something more thought, pay attention to some detail, etc...? I get this sometimes, like most folks, and I try to listen to my instincts. This isn't because I'm some wise sage that has learned over many years to go with my gut. It's simply that my gut is stubborn, loud, and won't leave me alone... So, in order to appease it, I inquired about the nature of this position - stating that if it's a design-heavy position I'd not be a good candidate and they can remove me from their mailing list. I was a bit surprised when I found out that they were totally open to someone that isn't so much a designer.
One thing led to another, and I applied for this position. I then went through all the interviews and wound up getting an offer that was incredible. I now had to make a decision. I was stuck between two desirable situations and could only choose one. This was
one of the most difficult decision s in my career thus far.
So, why leave?
If you're a tiger and the environment you're in has water, food, some safety and family or a potential for family, then the odds are good that you wouldn't change your habitat. Let something change like water drying up, food runing out, etc... and then you're going to change to a place that better meets your needs. A human, on the other hand, will often change from an already good situation to either something perceived as better or as having the potential to be better.
The reasons I chose to transition to this new opportunity are not all tangible. Sure, there's the typical stuff like compensation, benefits, etc... but there are also some things that really made me feel that I needed to pursue this or I'd look back and regret that I didn't... Here are a few:
- Work from home - It's so nice to take a quick break to get out of the chair and stretch your legs and see your 16 month old's eyes light up because you walk out of the office and into the room where he's playing. It's a constant reminder that I need to work hard but still be as much a part of his growing up as I can possibly be.
- Professional Development - There is a yearly budget that each person gets to spend on professional development. It's not rolled into your salary, it's in addition to it. Not only that, but there's a coach that is designated to helping you make a growth plan and find appropriate items to spend that budget on. And you are strongly encouraged to be actively doing something with this budget. I hadn't seen a company take that level of interest in individual employee's growth before.
- Peer Quality - It seems like everyone I work with is an over-achiever. I have been in situations before where this isn't the norm. I try to be an over-achiever also. So, I'm finding that there's this unique blend of skills and personalities that there are plenty of resources I can grow from, but I still feel like I have a solid amount to offer back. The feeling is great - my ambition in life is not just to move ahead, but to bring folks with me as I progress. I also feel like that is the attitude of those that are my mentors. If we all do this, then we can all succeed together :)
I've been working with the new company for nearly 2 months now, and have no regrets about my decision to make this transition. As I get further settled I intend to pick back up on the more technical blogging and tutorials, but I thought that it would be nice to share some personal thoughts for a change :)