It has been one year (and a little more) since I’ve started working as a Software Developer for Cegedim New Zealand. My first “real” workplace after I’ve graduated, and although I’ve worked somewhat full time for 1&1/Web.de Germany, I can’t compare those two experiences at all. So, I want to share a few insight, I’ve got about what it means to work in a country so far away from everything that matters. So let’s have a look what it means to be a random IT guy out there, but let me give you some explanations about my time before working in NZ.
How I started worrying and hate software development
First of all, people compare. So it is more than natural that I’ve been constantly comparing my new workplace with my old one. You compare the environment, the colleagues, your bosses and of course the style how we get stuff done.
Saying that, I really liked working for my former workplace. Of course, not everything was always perfect and some experiences has been more than dissatisfying, but after all it was a great joy to work there.
However, after I had finished my studies, I was somewhat fed up with software developing and the whole IT thing. There were various reasons for this, and I can honestly say I had enough, which went even so far that I never wanted to program again. I never said it like that, but deep inside that was my desire.
Programming and computers has been fascinating me pretty much my whole life, which makes it quite saddening to realize that your greatest passion doesn’t do it anymore for you. Have I really been that mislead? Or was it just time for a break? This has been in August 2009.
Traveling can recalibrate your perception
Fast Forward to May 2010. I have been traveling all over New Zealand for the last eight months, seeing this world from a new perspective, I have never experienced before. A perspective that changed of how I will see this world and what I will think about it. I had some substantial distance from my old life and everything that had to do with it, including anything computer related. And to be honest I was not missing much apart from friends and family, now that I think back of that time. Why should I ever stop sailing?
Well, nothing lasts forever and as the journey and money came to an end, it was time to find a way how to make some money. Whenever you live a life in freedom you could get some of the strangest jobs in the world. Many travelers can you tell stories about that, oh boy. But thanks to my too analytical and rational behaving thinking structures, I won’t choose choose the 10$/hr Bungee Jumping Instructor Job or Brewing apprentice, when I could have a much better paid job in a profession that made me suffer educational-wise for more than 3 years. Yes, all of a sudden I could not stand that thought that I have fought for something without any reason. Having unanswered questions, unfinished business, even with something like the IT industry feels just wrong. It was time to get some final answers.
“So we finally meet again, compiler”
After one month of job search I have found a company that seemed promising enough to raise my interest and willing enough to give me a factual job. The future software I was about to work on was based on C# and .Net and therefore something I was already familiar with. (Besides, I simply love Microsoft’s .Net technology stack.)
But how will I perform? I hadn’t written a single line of code in over one year and when I was refreshing my knowledge I realized how quickly one can loose knowledge about fine details of certain topics.
I can say the first few weeks at the new workplace have been sobering to the least in terms of knowledge.
But on the other hand there was something fascinating about being wired in again. Very soon after I started working, that certain feeling of deep understanding of strange machine returned. That doesn’t mean that I’ve started writing super amazing code, but sitting there and doing that job felt relaxing in a way when you see old friends that don’t need many words to understand.
However, there was a certain excitement that revolves around anything new you do no matter what it is, which I was totally aware of and kept me calm. Still, I realized there was something that made me feel, that the last chapter of software development has not been written for me.
How I stopped worrying and love to code
Time moved on very quickly for me here in New Zealand. Not just in terms of work but life in general. I was the new kid on the block. It was time to make friends and get something like a social life and those things kept me busy enough, but I was also the new kid in the cubicle that had to show some passion about his job.
The New Zealand working culture seems so different compared to what I knew back from Germany. Back then, everything seemed so fast paced and stressful. Everybody was in a rush and burdened with unmeasurable pressure that seemed like a invisible monster created by the European working culture. A monster that was not making you more productive, just more feared.
Being away from that for more than 18.000km makes you able to recognize this usually invisible beast that tends to live within all of us. Have I been able to defeat it before it started to consume me totally?
Meanwhile in New Zealand, time goes slower than back on the continent. Slower in the sense of “the right speed”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about slacking or being lazy. Furthermore I am talking about a pace that leaves time to think. To think what you were actually doing. Instead of having a stressed out superior, my boss has a friendly attitude and a sheer unlimited willingness to help you improving your skills and improving the code you write. And this does not just account for a single person, but for everybody that dwells in that office.
The so-often cited rat race, you’ll hardly find it here. Yes, the working conditions are just great, but could that be enough to start enjoying this job again? I don’t think so.
Even if your workspace environment seems kinda pleasurable, it’s not worth a penny if you aren’t heads up with your job itself.
When I started writing code professionally I had a certain kind of spirit and eagerness to explore new things all the time that got somewhat lost throughout the years. Some people might say I’ve lost my Mojo. I am not too sure why, but slowly it returned. Each day I went to that office, a little piece of it came back to me, giving me back the skill of writing cunning code. Each day, writing code became more and more fun. And the more it became fun, the more I began to bethink on the reasons why I ever started loving computers and the art of programming:
Programming is this never ending urge to create and form an unique world after your ideals and dreams, that seems like an inexhaustible source of new experiences and impressions. You become creator and explorer at the same time.
So here I am, one year after I’ve gotten back into that industry that once seemed so perilous to me. I am glad, that I was brave enough to try and find myself again. Without this experience I might have become something completely different without realizing that I once had a hobby that shall be my biggest love forever. Apart from music, coding was my first love and will it probably ever be. I still don’t know, if I’d really wanna do programming professionally for the rest of my life – but even if not, I realized one thing:
Not many people in this world have the chance to make money out of their hobby and turn it into a profession they love and perform with the required passion. Now I know, that I am lucky enough to have such a opportunity and that I have to show some gratitude for this rare gift that was given me – which is a good thing after all.
It might even pay off in the long run. So I have been promoted recently – with all the merits that comes with it.