It's a year and a half since I started working for FreeAgent. It's honestly flown by, and I can't believe it's already been this long. I've learned a lot about our internal systems and processes, but most of all, I think I've learned a lot about myself and how to be better as part of a team. My life has changed outside work a lot too - I've grown a lot personally and professionally.
In my previous role, for a good chunk of time, I was the only regular contributor to the codebase. When we eventually hired a designer and another developer, I was the most senior out of the three of us. As part of Core Services, I have now been part a team where I was the most junior. The first commit to the codebase long precedes my decision to become a software developer. The dynamic has changed in a way that sits well with this stage in my career development - both in my day-to-day role and more generally at my level of experience, I'm learning less about how to code, and more about how to interface with others and perform well as part of a team.
One of the biggest lessons that I've learned is how to be clearer about what I'm saying. I've had to sacrifice some of the speed that I have a reputation for, and talk and act more decisively. In situations where I've written everything from UI copy to documents for discussion, it has taken a lot of refinement to put those things in a language that captures what I mean to say. I feel like "naming things is hard" rings true now more than ever before.
As I'm writing a longer document, I will try and keep it concise and not have it overstay its welcome. Brevity doesn't have to conflict with clarity, but there is a fine balance - I have by no means mastered hitting that balance yet, but I've had plenty of opportunities to get closer to nailing it.
I put a lot of pressure on myself from the start to really throw myself out there and take some risks. The entire time, I was anxious about what everyone thought of me. I had quite quickly put myself in the spotlight by leading on some big things and pushing myself to give talks as I went. But that doubt was only really something that I manifested within myself.
I've had lots of supportive comments from folks I'd never expect to have heard them from. I feel like others want me to succeed, and that's the kind of validation I've sought for a long, long time. Thanks to the kindness of the folks around me, I'm finding comfort in the discomfort that comes with throwing myself out there. I've tried to bring my full, authentic self to the table at all times, and I think it might be that that has sold it. If I'm giving a talk, it's almost always coming from a place of passion.
My world is changing in ways that I might once have found uncomfortable, but each challenge is teaching me something and extending that comfort zone. Onwards and upwards!