7 Lessons of 2017

Two blue boxes, one purple, one orange, one red, one green, one yellow

This year which is ending taught me a couple of life lessons.

1. Don’t trust people you barely know

In January I trusted a person who was assigned as a person who looks after my career development. I was told that there aren’t any projects suitable for my skillset available at his current division and he assigned me to work with enterprise Flash application.

I burned out on that project because there was no end to it. People around me were assigned to different projects because it was the last release for that project and no one spoke to me about different position before my deadline when said I would quit.

2. Stand your ground

When you give someone a deadline and tell them what happens when the deadline is missed, do what you promised. I didn’t do what I promised and the situation changed a month later, to worse.

Five months later I gave notice at my day job.

3. There is always something to learn – WRITE DOCS!

In the days when some parts of the tech move at the speed of light it was interesting to observe seven years old app and its development. This project also taught me to write documentation because you don’t want to make the life harder for a person who comes after you.

4. Learn what you are worth

This lesson is relevant to my job hunting at the moment and I am realizing that I can ask for more just because I know how to learn and what I’ve been through.

Also asking for what you are worth is the most socialist thing to do.

5. Ask questions

This is a lesson from Jen Simmons which I heard on CodeNewbie podcast. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before accepting a job because you’ll spend with those people eight hours a day, five days a week. Ask to talk to your potential coworkers, ask about promotions criteria, ask about everything that’s important to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions because the worst thing that can happen is joining a team which will hinder your career and no one wants that.

6. You have time for that side project

Before September if you told me that I can find 3 hours every single day for laying down, I’d call you crazy. In September I had a surgery and for the first three months I’d spend 3 hours every day laying on my bed doing after care. In December I have dialed down to approximately one hour but one thing remained, hour and a half in the morning.

During that time I am either going early to work because I don’t want to use handful of vacation days for interviews at other companies1 or I am working on a side projects.

It’s ok not to work on that side project because your priorities are elsewhere.

7. Take care of your body

As software engineers we tend to overlook our bodies because we don’t work with corporeal things. Software is creating something out of nothing, you need plans and electricity, that’s all. Thanks to a surgery and talking to my co-workers I realized that I need to take care of my body more.

It’ll be a long road because I’ll need to build daily exercise habits and adjust spoon management because eating healthy requires more spoons than not caring what I eat.

  1. In Czech republic there’s two months long notice period
If you want to talk with me about this post, please, contact me on twitter, @xgebi, or send me an e-mail, sarah@sarahgebauer.com.