When I worked for the Company where we developed software for the Prosecutor General's Office, I remember how proud I was that they hired me. I was still a student. We had a mandatory uniform – a blue scratchy jacket, a shirt and a skirt. My way to work after classes took me 1.5 hours, but how happy I was. I thought I had the most important job in the world. However, once, when I came to the office, I met an accountant on the street, she was holding about 50 labor books. She handed them out to their holders and said: “The IT department is completely closed down. You will be paid your salary within 3 months, thank you and look for a new job.”
By the way, the salary was not paid out at all.
However, when one door closes, another instantly opens. Now I know it for sure.
I found a new job almost immediately – in 2 weeks.
I really liked the Company that hired me.
I tested large online stores and was proud of it.
Auto-tests and trust
A few years later, I completely switched to test automation. I was craving at doing it. Well, I loved it.
The Company I worked for was very well-known. We set the Guinness World Record in 2013.
I really enjoyed writing auto-tests. I tried to do my best. However, it so happened that there was no trust in auto-tests. All automation lived a separate life and I could not “prove” that my auto-tests could be trusted in.
We arranged sessions when we knowingly broke the product, ran tests on a broken build, and the tests had to not only “fall”, but also show the correct errors.
In order to somehow bring automation closer to the life of the Company, I bought a real traffic light and hung it on the wall right in the office. The traffic light was red when our build was broken and green when everything was correct.
However, that didn't help either. Automation did not take root. Neither a letter in the morning with the status of the tests, nor rallies – nothing really helped. Nobody wanted to look at the tests. Everyone told that it was too much to test and that they were too tired, but still performed testing as before despite the fact that the tests were really stable.
Only now, after so many years, I understand that I was the reason for all this.
After all, the Company made a product that I personally didn’t use at all, and of course, I didn’t have a chance to “come on board”. Only now I have learned to listen to myself and never betray either myself or the Company. I never agree to a job even for very good money, even in “paradise” conditions if it’s not my subject area, if what is going within the Company is not close to me. This will probably forever remain my very first and most important question in all interviews: “What exactly do you do, what product?”
To bounce when you hit bottom
I remember when many years ago I came to the office and my coworker was sitting and watching porn sites. He replied to my comment: “None of your business.”
Once I came to work, took off my jacket and saw that I was in a nightgown. I just forgot to get dressed at home. So I realized that working without rest for more than 8 hours a day is the bottom (at that time I worked long hours to the max – that were 12, sometimes 13-14 hours).
A little later, I went to India to get myself out of my bottom. It was there that I realized to what great extent my stress-resistance came in my 30s. We went in a group and spent the night in a new place every day. We studied Ayurveda. There was no clean water, monkeys stole our fruits, a rat jumped on one guy's face at night, peppered rice and flat cakes were our only food, but not a single muscle moved on my face – I was like a soldier.
I always knew that things would come right and I did not make panic at all.
I reloaded and got the idea to do something on my own.
Later, there was a great deal of different projects. I sought a balance.
Distance work, office work, freelance.
There was a period when I wanted to accumulate a “cushion” so that I could take a sabbatical for a while. But I was robbed. They stole money, all documents, all keys, all notebooks and notes, everything. After that, I realized that I had to “stop” – I was moving in the wrong direction. And I began to rebuild my life again.
There was a period when one of my very good friends fell ill with oncology and I was very worried about her. She kept a blog where she shared her feelings. At times, I opened and read it. We sat very close to each other with the team.
I remember how my coworker looked at my monitor and said: “Are you watching that bald head again?”. And something snapped inside me.
Now I don't hold a grudge against him. But still, it became the starting point of my journey called “personal boundaries”. Later, I thought hard whether it was right for me to spill some “private moments” during working hours.
First order and 50$
In 2019, I was involved with the creation of an IT company in Switzerland. I assisted in organizational issues, was a tester, a developer, and helped to look for clients.
The first client with whom we began to cooperate was not able to allocate a full-fledged budget. However, he had an interesting project, and for us it was important to create a portfolio of works. Therefore, we “agreed to everything.”
That was how I wrote a code that collected data from many sites and aggregated them.
The result was a system that worked 24/7, recognized captchas and used a complex proxy system. The amount of work turned out to be great. I got up at 4 and 5 AM to check that “nothing had fallen off”, I almost did not get off the computer for three weeks.
We were so mad keen on the idea itself that we did not really think about financing.
We ended up paying about $50 for everything. Of course, it was a failure. Of course, we knew that we would be paid a little, but we did not think that it would be so little.
It became for me a clear example of how to plan your time incorrectly and enter into contract in a wrong way.
I guess it is important to tell that we bought all the proxies ourselves, we bought hosts on Amazon. Now it is hard to say for sure, but we spent about $300-400 monthly just to maintain our infrastructure. That is, earning less, we just went negative.
However, money is a relative concept. More important is the experience gained and our time.
That may sound harsh, but I have learned to treat myself as a resource.
We just need to invest in ourselves knowledge and experience as much as possible, and later it will all “shoot” even when we may not expect it at all.
So, almost immediately after that first $50 project, similar projects and tasks poured in. We earned much more within a few months, and it took much less time and effort.
System of values
Now, looking back into the past, I understand that not place we work at is important, but people we work with and those around us. Who are those people we see every day? Do we have a desire to communicate with them? Do we want to wake up in the morning? Do the things we did today have value?
99.9% of all problems that we face with at job do not come from “someone is bad and someone is good”, they come from the incorrectly built process on the whole.
We all have one life and want to make something cool – a product that we can be proud of. And everyone can find the place where he or she will feel at ease.
Seek and you will find.
What issues can I help you with:
- You feel that you are in a wrong place
- Career guidance in IT
- Corporate ethics
- You are faced with the problems of implementing automation on your project
- Lack of work-life balance
- Bad testing on your project
- Crack in communication and processes
- Automation of business processes and creation of IT infrastructure
- Stages of creating teams and points of crisis
I will be glad If I can share my experience and help.