A week has passed since my very first day as somebody who doesn’t pick “student” in forms. Yes, it was with apprehension as well as positive anticipation that I joined the workforce. Apprehension because I have always heard about people losing their ideals to the “easy life”, which applies to software engineering as well as to broader aspects of life. Anticipation because I was excited to finally fly by my own wings. This is by and large an exciting new beginning akin to a caterpillar molting to the next step in its evolution, and for me, its like morphing into a black ninja butterfly of death (just because it sounds cooler that way).
I feel that it is now that my life is starting; the gloves are off, we jump from the ring to go to the street. “Training mode” is over kids, this is it, the real thing and precisely the reason for my metrosexual-wannabe-like neo-indie band album title (by the way, Keane sucks). I hope this might be helpful to you or may inspire you in any kind of way (and i mean ANY), so let my rambling begin!
I’m a very positive thinking person so I didn’t apprehend as much as gleefully anticipating this event. But I did ponder on the “what ifs” and so on, so they deserve at least a mention. My first apprehension was that work would make me forget my goals. I thought it is so easy to get into the comfort of working… then would come the house, then the dog and kids and boom, you’re in midlife in no time. Suburbia… no, I’d rather kill myself. Software engineering… oh that’s something else too… I had the fear of “the industry” turning my code-fu into a pile of goo… I heard so many stories and seen so many examples of enterprise applications gone wrong with thousands people putting hands into an app, increasing the entropy exponentially with each release (case in point: Windows Vista not shipping anytime soon). Gimme a break, I’m a fresh grad and still have ideals! Let me dream.
Speaking about dreams: I have the dream of becoming an entrepreneur (successful or not) in about 10 years. By entrepreneur I don’t mean self-employment or doing it “to make dough”, but rather to fufill my self-actualization goals, which are to build something that will impact people in a positive way somehow (and be mutually beneficial to my company and myself). Its more of a feeling of accomplishment, kind of like beating Ikaruga on hard mode with no cheats, but better , way better. Many people had the same dream too… until they started working that is.
Ahh, the anticipation. I couldn’t wait till I started to work, because I’d finally get to know what the air smells like outside of the ivory tower. I’d finally be able to realize what I wanted to do, free to jump around and kick people in the face if I so pleased. After 18 years of schooling not counting kindergarten… its kinda liberating. No, the real excitement is about being equipped mentally, emotionally and in character to achieve my potential. Its exciting because THIS is IT… I become what I make my life to be. It’s the feeling that it is now the time to work hard to reach my life mission-statements, to find a calling, to BECOME.
Why the tucows logo on top?
Heh, I got rather lost in my rambling. So here’s the section where Tucows fits in all that and which will hopefully reveal what I learnt so far about the questions I was asking myself. The first day was pretty uneventful… I was sitting at my desk, setting up, meeting people, getting passwords/logins and all that stuff and more of doing nothing. I couldn’t stand not getting my grubby paws on something, so the next day I bugged my teammates Ahsan and Richard for work, and I was served! Fast forward a week, I’m already involved in multiple product evolution branches, knee-deep in the parallel development of different versions of the same application and I’m loving it.
The environment, oh man the environment is amazing. It is very laid back and you don’t get the feeling big brother’s peeping over your shoulders. At least as far as I’m concerned, my tight team has got pretty good autonomy and we have good ownership of our projects (i.e. we get to choose how we want to get things done, of course with feedback from a more senior person). A geek’s heaven. And you really feel you count at Tucows. I am now certain I made a good choice choosing Tucows over Nurun in June, fitting more into what I want to do, where I want to grow, and to be with people I want to be with.
As a response to the question of losing the good software engineering practices, to echo what my illustrious Prof. Greg mentioned, in the University we learn how to do things “the correct way”, and in the industry we do “what just works”… to a certain extent. What I get the feeling after a week is that we are to are to do “what just works” as correctly as possible, i.e. under budget constraints, customer requirements and change thereof and timing. A different approach on things, but interesting nonetheless and not to mention CHALLENGING! Tucows is a company full of amazing and interesting people and I am confident I WILL grow there. I am proud to be part of Tucows. (seriously, Tucows is not paying me to write this mind you)
As for the rest of my concerns… well I don’t really think that I will get sucked into suburbia… at least not if I purposefully do so. Life is like clay in my hands, I can choose to make a David or to make a giant pe*ahem*nis. The clay might be too runny or too hard sometimes, but that’s the things of life and its besides the point. Heard of locus of control? The point is… life is what we make it out to be folks. This is the time, this is it, act NOW. Life is not a dress rehearsal.
I’ll close by maintaining that Keane sucks.