Joining a new company can be scary
At the beginning of October 2019, I joined the CodeFund team as a full stack Ruby on Rails Engineer. It has turned out to be one of the greatest decisions I have ever made but at the moment, it was one of the hardest and most important decisions I have ever made.
I started coding in high school but I didn’t always think I would be a programmer. Up until my senior year of college, I thought I was going to work with virtual reality or user experience design. In my pursuit of being a UX designer, I took a graphic design internship at the beginning of my senior year of college. Due to a crazy turn of events, I ended up graduating college and joining the same company I interned at, but as a Ruby on Rails developer. For the next 8 months, I spent most of my free time learning as much about ruby & Rails that I could. I went to conferences, read books, did tutorials, went on podcasts, and eventually found myself in the world of open source.
Meeting Nate & Eric
I met Nate and Eric through a mutual friend at the end of 2018. In my eyes, Eric was the enthusiastic startup founder, with a drive I truly admired. Nate was the wise old programmer I envisioned levitating on top of a mountain. At the time, Nate was working on a cool library called StimulusReflex. On a sheer whim, I reached out to him one evening and let him know I was interested in the project and wanted some advice on using the library. At the time, I was getting really big into open source, and had fallen in love with the ecosystem. I desperately wanted to give back to the community that had already given me so much and I thought StimulusReflex might be my chance. To my surprise, Nate asked if I wanted to pair program that weekend on creating a demo application with the library. That weekend, and several weekends afterward, Nate let me tag along as we built some cool things with StimulusReflex.
At the same time, I was establishing myself at my current company as a capable programmer who was always ready to learn. My company had begun to go through some turnover and several of the developers I looked up to had moved on to new things. I had always been obsessed with growing my skills and solving new problems and for the first time, and I didn’t feel challenged anymore. However, my weekend pairing sessions with Nate were filling the void and I was excited to soak up all of the knowledge that Nate was willing to share with me. After a few weeks, Nate shared that CodeFund was looking to hire a developer and he wanted me to apply.
Queue the imposter syndrome.
Fear of failure and crippling perfectionism had plagued me my entire career, which is what has motivated me to work hard and be persistent in learning during my off-hours. At first, I dismissed Nate’s attempts to get me to apply. I thought he considered me to be much better at programming than I actually was. CodeFund is also a fully remote company, and I was scared of taking that leap after barely being out of college for more than a year. I told him I wasn’t interested, but I inwardly was.
CodeFund was the company I had always dreamed of joining. A small team, with an open source application, and amazing goal of funding open source developers that I considered myself one of. Working remote, no office drama or politics, and amazing mentors that would help me continue to grow at a time where I felt like I was plateauing.
A long-time mentor told me, when I brought up Nates recruitment attempts, that he uses a rule of three when considering changing jobs:
- Will it help me grow?
- Will I like the culture more?
- Do I believe in the cause?
Number one was an easy check, as I couldn’t stop gushing to my friends about how smart Nate was and how much I was learning from him.
Number two is hard to judge without actually being exposed to the culture of the company on a daily basis. I was having trouble at my current company because I had begun to feel like I didn’t really fit in and office politics were beginning to rear its ugly head. I did know that Eric and Nate were passionate, empathetic people and we all got along great.
Number three is what ended up being the deciding factor for me. CodeFund was helping to solve a real problem in the open source community and it was a problem I felt very passionate about. By this point, I had started trying to create open source libraries, and contribute to libraries in any way I could. Being able to help with funding maintainers and benefiting the community at large made me very excited, whereas my societal benefit potential at my current position was little to none.
Fast forward a month and I couldn’t be happier that I made the leap and joined CodeFund. Looking back on all of the sleepless nights I spent trying to decide to accept the chance that Eric and Nate were offering me, it’s become apparent that I was very, very afraid. I was afraid that I wasn’t as smart as they thought I was. I was afraid of disappointing my managers at the company I was at. And I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough of a programmer to help make an impact in the open source community.
Take a chance
If anyone out there is also scared of taking a chance, and proving that the negative thoughts in your head are wrong, I would offer you a simple piece of advice:
Look past all the fears you have of what could go wrong, and instead, imagine where you could be if everything went right.
Every day, I am grateful that I took the leap and joined CodeFund, and I can’t wait to continue helping the community that I care so much about.