Th.Oughts : The Last day at my first job

They say : You get paid by the `company`_. But you actually work for your team.

Do they really say that ? Well no, I guess I am just making it up.

My last day at work and I thought I will try to be the ideal employee in all respects.

Back in 2008, fresh out of school, I was ready to believe anyone who potrayed a grim picture of the typical workplace, the details of which I will not get into here. Everyone knows them and a few unfortunate have been there.

And I was ready to change myself, no, really! I was ready to change my school habits. Back then, I saw myself in the future getting up at 8 am, be at work right at 9 am, and then work, work and work till 5 pm and voila! time to go home.

Not that I thought this is bad in any way, but in some corner of my mind, I thought I will take care of every minute detail if I want to succeed at work : change myself for good. After more than 3 years, I look at myself and I realize : I haven't changed at all, rather, my team has changed for me. I still wake up at 9, and I am at work around 11, and then back at 5, but strangely, this has never been a matter of concern either for my team or for my manager.

A smart team lets you work in your own convenience and yet gets the best out of you. Sometimes, I wonder, what if, I was actually made to change my habits at work or more importantly change my timings that have stuck to me (forever). It doesn't take me long to realize that I would have resisted it with full force. Not physically, ofcourse, but through other means as in not giving due importance to my work, and losing interest in the company's goals and the team's priorities. It really amazes me that such a trivial matter is so important to me and yet, I am sure there are many out there, who feel the same way.

A smart manager trusts you with your work and responsibilities. This was just plain ... strange! When I first started, I was given the task of working on storage protocols. And not like some side project to get me upto speed but a really real SAS driver that would be running at the customer site. I said "wha.. ? I have no experience, can't you like give something simpler and less challenging ?" My manager simply responded "You are smart. You can do this" Yes, that's all I had with me to complete my first assignment. No SAS/SCSI technical knowledge, no understanding of the inner working of a typical Linux storage driver.

Today, I know device driver hardening like the back of my hand, something that's very critical in the environment that Stratus' servers typically run on. I am not sure if I could have said this with confidence if I hadn't heard those words from my manager on my first assignment.

If you are being micro-managed, get the hell out of that workplace. I REALLY MEAN THIS. I don't give a shit where you work, how much you earn and what perks you get. You are not enjoying your work if you are being micro-managed. And you are not giving it your full potential.

(People who think they need to be micro-managed to be able to do their work, you are not meant to work in the first place) The more my manager didn't stop by my office door to ask me about my work status and how long it will take, the more pressure I felt to get my work done. This doesn't mean I have never fallen behind. I have. But the pressure to finish up the work is tremendous. It's tremendous because it comes from inside you. It's weird but it IS this way!

Agree with my opinions above and you will miss your workplace when you quit It was actually funny, I was on IM with a friend and I mentioned how I am in a really bad mood because it's my last day at work. And the reply I get was You really would miss your workplace that much ?

That got me thinking, how many of us are doing stuff they really like to do and how many of us are doing the stuff they like the way they want it to do. It's the second category of people, I fortunately fall into. Please don't misinterpret my opinion, the company's goals are still important. It's the freedom to get to the goals that I am talking about.

Did I become the perfect employee on my last day ? I had spoken above about how I wanted to do everything perfectly on my last day. Well this is how my day went : I woke up around 8 am (one hour earlier than usual). Got ready only to be stuck in traffic which was worse due to bad weather. Arrived for my exit interview around 15 minutes late. Finished up left over work, reformatted hard drive, copied notes, scripts, patches to a location where everyone can access them, had shrimp scampi for lunch, attended a team meeting and then bid farewell to people. I was out of work by 4 pm. Was it ideal ? Not probably. But does it really matter ? Nope. No one really cares about these things where I worked.

I am sad but I am excited too! About my new work, I sure am excited.

As a colleague at work said, When you have two good paths to choose from, the choice is difficult. But you will never regret whatever you choose.


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