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More Things I Learned as a Mid Level Software Engineer Working at the Startup Formerly Known as KFG

Every other day i am filled with the fear that I will go back into poverty. Is that rational, no, but some interesting thoughts have come to me as i consider the psychology of work. For one, work is overrated. Seriously
Published onDec 17, 2023
More Things I Learned as a Mid Level Software Engineer Working at the Startup Formerly Known as KFG
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Get outside, We outside

Its been interesting watching my co workers as time has went on. Many had children, one is finishing law school, another made a short film, and some are transitioning their lives to new locations. I suppose I have no models to use envisioning a future for myself other than a nebulous awareness of being “successful”. Before a “career” in tech seemed reasonable I was just going with things trying to pay rent. I did not do much strategic thinking. I do not know how life with the privilege of being solidly middle class should go and what short freedoms therein lay.

But what I have taken from all of the KF babies born this year and moves people make is that my job can compliment life events outside of work. What am I to do now?

Change happens

The company went from doing one thing to doing another. Between then, one thing, and now, the other, many mistakes were probably made. Why are we doing a major lift with two leaders on leave? Why are we changing management when the demand to produce code will increase? Why does it take Lockheed a shorter amount of time to produce a Jet than us MVP? Speaking for myself, I found myself often anxious because my new responsibilities weren’t well defined. I did not feel comfortable throughout the earliest stages of the whole thing, I mean, the period started with two firings then ended with another. Being at bottom of the ladder at a tech company that lacks material resources to both manage and transition doesn’t fill one with confidence. But I guess this how change goes??? Change is chaotic. Many weaknesses of mine were exposed when caught off guard(experience, solutioning, architecting). What got me through is learning what I could and expressing how I felt as openly as possible.

Management - get that shit

Getting management theoretically helps with the issues mentioned above. I don’t think I would have understood the importance of management had not the most senior engineer become manager. Before, I generally took from wherever I could and worked it into my own thing. Reading something here and another there. I also ask team members how they got to the position they did. They say its mostly bullshit until someone believes them and a lot of time but I think not. I find what they do to have enough consistency to be less bullshit and more finding problems and offering solutions. I say this to say other people can help you along the way. My second blind spot is probably this. You should expect that even in a professional context.

Ask yourself what you want to do and focus on that. 

There is some flexibility determining what you focus on at a startup. I lack the experience to really do my own thing. How would I even know what to do lol, hence the anxiety mentioned above. More so I lack the ability to care less about my ignorance than what I’m doing. But advocating for yourself is important. I have the unique privileged of wanting to use the things I work on. Therefore delivering contributions using these insights feels a rewarding path forward. They can even fuel your growth.

Getting good

Getting good at the craft is tough. I have a do it yourself mindset so I will make toy projects, a note app, or take a udemy course, JS, TS and supplement with reading(ask me about my web technology tags in reader). A team member shared this zine that leads me to believe practice and deep dives are more important than i stress here. Inclusive of deep knowledge is having a structure that allows you to manage time your way.

Summary

We speak life into our actions. Our actions in part define our life. When change occurs we can build on what balances us both personally, photography for me, and professionally, growth and collaboration, and in that moment reach out to your manager or collaborators. Having clear goals or focus and working to achieve them are meaningful coping strategies to progress and crush shit. These actions can grant a sense of peace and motivation.

Connections
A Supplement to this Pub
What I've Learned at KFG so Far
Description

I have grown, and with this new knowledge comes the dawn of ignorance, until I feel ignorant and unsure about something else. Wait it's happening. I have regressed, and with this regression comes the dusk of enlightenment

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