Seven weeks and two business travel trips later, and I feel like I finally got a handle on this new job. This job is so different from what I usually do that the uncertainty of it all was giving me anxiety. It took me really analyzing the differences to realize different wasn’t bad, it is actually better.
Choose Your Own Training
This was a weird concept for me at first. I’m used to being shown an online library or training suite and told that’s that. Even then, it’s only for when I’m between projects. Where I am now has learning not just as a corporate value on a slide, but written into their contracts and procedures. You can even choose a technology and how you want to learn it. Granted, they’re all cloud based, but if you learn through videos or projects or blog posts, then you’re allowed and encouraged to do that. It’s codified. That took getting used to.
For the first few days of being left to my own curiosities, I fully expected to be told by someone to focus elsewhere, or that I was learning the wrong thing the wrong way.
That never happened. I even talked to other new hires and more seasoned engineers. That was simply the culture. You learned what you wanted to and people who have been through it were there to help. And that’s it. If you knew something that projects requested, you could volunteer, if not, you didn’t.
What it led to was engineers excited to know more and work on their passions. That excitement showed in their work and their ability to communicate with the customer and their team.
Next Level Collaboration
They love Slack here. Back at NASA I had a dozen e-mails before I even showed up. I barely have a dozen e-mails now. It’s the first time I’ve seen a collaboration tool that threatens to ‘completely do away with e-mail’ actually manage to do it. Because they’re so heavily entrenched in it, I didn’t feel as isolated as I expected to be as a Remote employee. Everyone’s chatty at the level I feel I process information easily at: text.
This required the least amount of integration. I always liked Slack, and I’m glad to finally be where text communication is the norm. I don’t worry about back-channeling anymore and everyone has been very welcoming.
Travel for Fun and Profit
I thought I would be better at this, but honestly I’m not. The last time I traveled for a job, I was working at Yahoo! and that was really only two or three trips a year. In the past seven weeks, I’ve done two cross-country stints already. I was also younger then. Much younger. I could still sleep on a plane, and outside of my husband, I wasn’t really beholden to anyone. I unashamedly ugly cry when I’m video chatting with my kids at night and take several days to recover just from the flights.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it. It’s been fun and engaging in ways I didn’t really expect. Different offices have different vibes, but every time everyone’s been friendly and willing to hang out. I won’t go overseas alone, that’s for sure. But hopping around North America once a month? I can dig it. And I had better, since I already volunteered for projects.
So far, it’s been an adjustment, but I feel like I’m really getting used to the pace of it. Wish me luck, guys, I’m halfway through Probation!