Shortly before 9 AM on November 4th, 2019, I arrived for my first day at my new job. Based on the interview process and my research into the company, it definitely seemed like a good fit, but after a not-so-great experience at my last job, I was still a little nervous and unsure what to expect.
In the month (plus a few days) since that first day, most of the people I have spoken to about my job have noted the same thing - that I seem happy. In the early days of my last job I wasn't quite so sure that I was happy at the company, and I wasn't sure how long it would take me to adjust to this job. I'm very glad that not only am I feeling happy about my job, but that the job is having a positive enough effect on me that my friends and family have noticed.
Things started off well at this job from day one. This company was pretty organized in terms of being ready for new hires. I had my schedule before the day began, and when I got to the office, my computer and keycard were waiting for me. My swag was not there because they were out of some sizes, but I did eventually receive a t-shirt, a water bottle, and a super comfy sweatshirt. Once I was all settled in and had met my fellow new hires, it was time for the formal orientation to begin. Or, as I like to call it, information overload. In my first three days I learned and then forgot more about my company than I ever thought I would.
The opportunity to meet my new coworkers started early as well. At the end of our first day of orientation, we had an event called "Cookies with Rookies", where the entire office is invited to eat some cookies and meet the class of new hires. It was a great way for me to meet some new people, including some of my fellow engineers. I actually have not been to a Cookies with Rookies since my own orientation (just a combination of not feeling well and being busy), but I loved how welcoming the event was and I want to try to make an effort to go welcome rookies in the future. The new hires also introduced ourselves to the entire company on Thursday of our first week, at the company-wide Town Hall event.
During my second week at the company, we had our all-company onsite, where many of our remote employees came to the NYC office for various workshops, events, and team outings. I had an opportunity to meet some new people, and got to spend more time with some of the people I had met previously. We also had our company holiday party during that week, and while that wasn't the most comfortable event for me, it was great to see so many people celebrating together. Over the course of the next few weeks, I occasionally ate lunch with some of my teammates and coworkers, and one of of the themes of my first few weeks was learning that people do genuinely enjoy spending time together.
The positives of my time at the company have not been limited to the opportunities to spend time with great people. In between all of socializing, I've been doing some actual work, and so far it has been a very positive experience. During my first week, I worked with my engineering buddy and another teammate to learn about our main codebase and get myself properly set up. It felt good to be mostly set up right away and to know that as soon as I was ready to start contributing to the codebase, I was in a good position to be able to do that.
At the beginning of my second week, we had sprint planning, and I was assigned my first two tasks (aka tickets) - my first chance to contribute. I was able to complete both tickets (with some help from one of my teammates, which was much appreciated), and I really enjoyed working on both tasks (in fact, I wrote a blog post about the second ticket). At our next sprint planning, I was assigned another two tickets, and after I completed them a few days before the end of the two-week sprint, I was given the opportunity to work on a third ticket. The pace at which I've been assigned work is a drop slower than I was hoping, but so far I've enjoyed all of my work (and I even had the opportunity to learn a few new things). A large part of what I was looking for in this job was to be doing work I really enjoyed, and in the first month, this job has definitely met that criterion.
Not only have I enjoyed the work I've done in my first month, I've also enjoyed the people I've worked with. For most of the tickets I've completed, I've had the opportunity to work with a teammate, whether that meant just walking through the code I would be working on or pairing and writing code together. I really appreciated having the opportunity to work closely with and learn from my new teammates, and I particularly appreciated the guidance on parts of the code that involved libraries and patterns with which I'm not familiar (for example, one of my tickets involved working with state machines and the xstate library, a concept I've never worked with before). As great as it was to pair with my teammates, I also appreciated that we didn't do everything together from start to finish and that I had the opportunity to work on my own and remind myself what I am capable of and what I bring to the company.
Another thing that I'm very happy about is the support I'm receiving from my team. Not only have my teammates been more than happy to answer my questions, explain concepts, or pair program with me, but my manager and tech lead have both expressed a willingness to help me with whatever I need to feel comfortable. Asking for help is not easy for me, but I know that when I do ask for help, that support is available, and I'm very grateful for that.
I have to admit, most days I still don't feel 100% comfortable. Yes, I like the snacks and the coffee, but I still don't feel comfortable going down to lunch on the days the company provides lunch because I can't eat the food (I bring my own lunch, but it feels awkward to be eating the food I brought from home while everyone else is eating the company-provided lunch). I know my teammates are available to help me with my work, but sometimes it takes me a lot of self-encouragement to get the courage to ask for help. I still haven't figured out the best way to ask if anyone is interested in a coffee trip or a walk. As much as I know I am welcome, I still sometimes feel like an uncomfortable interloper.
I know I'm still in the early stages of this job, and things will continue to change and evolve during my time here. But for the most part, things have started off well and I'm very happy with my job and the company. After a not-so-great first development job and a long and difficult job search, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I'm excited to see what happens for me over the coming months.