Three years in tech

I’m almost at three years in the tech industry!  I moved to St. Louis at the beginning of February in 2012.  I started my first programming job shortly thereafter in March.

There are a lot of things I love about my job.  I love it when people unexpectedly share food with me.  Similarly, I like sharing food with others.  It’s cool that I can find someone to go out to lunch with on any particular day.  I can’t imagine working remotely because I love interacting with people every day.

I love pairing with people on hard problems and coming up with solutions together.  I especially like that feeling that you get when you finally get all of your tests to pass. I thought that feeling would pass and I wouldn’t think it was that cool, but I still get that high every time.

I’ve been fortunate to work in a place where everyone really cares about what they do.  I can’t say that I know many people who can get away with phoning it in or not doing quality work.  Every team I’ve been on has code reviews, and most people care about how to make things better. I haven’t had to work on technologies that I didn’t like — the complete opposite actually.  I definitely learn something new every day.

I like hanging out with my team and having weird, inside jokes.  It’s nice to get to know people’s quirks and get used to their personalities.  I like working on a team in general because it feels like your family away from home.  My team members also teach me so much about work and life in general.

I don’t like a lot of things about the tech industry.  Three years ago, I believed that there was something beautiful about every person.  I thought that I could become friends in some fashion with almost everyone.  I believed that people meant well and were reasonable.  To be fair, I still think a lot of these things.  I can be hopelessly optimistic despite the world’s best efforts to crush that.  However, I find myself caring less and less about people and what they think.  Some people think that’s a good thing, but it makes me sad that I feel so jaded.  The other day, someone said some pretty shitty things to me and I remember thinking, “oh great, another shithead.”  I didn’t even try to engage them in conversation to try to change their way of thinking.  I just felt exhausted and resigned to the fact that it would be a constant in my life.

For years, people have been helping me get confident and tell people when they’re being offensive and that I want them to stop.  It’s hard to do with people that I know, but I’ve been pretty good about drawing that line with new people recently.  I was at a work party, and this coworker kept saying inappropriate things to me.  I kept showing him my disgust, telling him it was inappropriate, and walking away (funny thing, this statement applies to more than one coworker at more than one work party).  He kept saying the things.  Sure, there was alcohol involved on his end.  The thing that hurt me the most was that he called me a bitch later on (repeatedly!) because I didn’t want to interact with him unless I really needed to.  I like being liked, and I consciously know that everyone won’t like me, but it still sucks to have backlash when I stand up for myself.  The hardest thing for me is to walk that line between being liked and being assertive.

Overall, I still really like what I do.  Here’s to hoping year four will be even better than this year.

3 thoughts on “Three years in tech

  1. Remember what Neil deGrasse Tyson told us when he was in St. Louis – the earth is trying to kill us, and the universe is trying to kill us. I suppose we should be happy that most days, other people and animals are no longer trying to kill us, like they had been for most of human history. From that perspective, having everyone like us seems less important.

  2. I’m happy for all of the good things in your career and sad about the bad things. In fact, the bad things you mentioned make we want to punch someone. Then, of course, I realize that women in tech face a great deal of challenges, and very few of them can be solved by punching.
    Also, I am not actually that good at punching people.

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