Its with both sadness and excitement that I write this post.
These emotions are caused by a change, a job change, a life change but a change with mixed emotions.
I haven't been at my current role for very long, only 6 months to be exact, but in those months I have had the privilege of working with some really smart people. The calibre of staff there is really high, I have learnt so much about software development in such a short time, which is down to them and the environment that has been shaped and allowed to evolve there. The environment really is something special, from the hardware and tools at your disposal, the relaxed but focused approach to work, the free fruit to the variety of sounds flowing out of the Sonos throughout the week.
Those are all great things, really great, but the real culture of Esendex is the company wide desire to continuously improve, it's visible from all the employees, but unlike some places I have worked, it also flows throughout the senior management team and board, because they are also employees, they sit with everyone, they talk to everyone they feel and encourage this mentality. More importantly they support it, training and an annual conference trip are provided, there is dojo time for the development team, monthly show and tells, lightning talks, your encouraged to get involved with the local and wider community, with local schools and universities, they really get what this support means to the employee. Yes of course it will eventually benefit the company, but I genuinely believe that isn't why they do it.
Esendex were recently voted "Ones to Watch" in the Tech Track by The Times, as a departing employee I will certainly be doing this, but not just Esendex I will be watching all the employees as well, because as I have already mentioned it's a really smart bunch of people with a real team feel and with the current push to share and gain at Esendex there will be some excellent posts flowing from Esendex in the future. I recommend you all follow @EsendexDev and wait for the gold (no pressure everyone :D ).
You're probably thinking 'why is he leaving? It sounds great!' It is indeed great and I honestly believe I could have real influence at Esendex and help them maintain and grow their culture and in turn the business. I would strongly recommend anyone looking for a challenging but rewarding place to work in Nottingham to get in touch with Esendex, you won't be disappointed. Esendex will be looking to fill my role, so if you're interested please do get in touch.
So why I am leaving? The great thing about life it is always changing, personal circumstances change, goals and ambitions change and sometimes you just get 'that feeling'. Sometimes you control this change, sometimes your just a passenger, its sometimes for good, sometimes not, but I believe that it's always good if you seek it. There has been a few personal changes recently that have led me to change my career plan. However, in being forced to think about such changes a new path and new goals have been created that I am really excited about.
So the future is that I am setting up independently, a new long term plan is being created, in the short term I am going to be contracting.
Contracting can be a very rewarding move, (£$€ is what most of you are thinking right now) let's not bypass it, it's a factor, for some it's the deciding factor, it has played a part in my decision for one reason or another, but I am more interested in what the money allows me to do.
Obviously, life will hopefully be more comfortable, potentially bringing that housing ladder a step closer. Perhaps enjoy some of the nicer things in life, more travelling, nicer clothes, a car. But I haven't been earning poorly, so I don't expect much to change here.
Conferences, I have had the privilege this year of attending TestBash, Selenium Conference and EuroSTAR and I thank my previous employers for that, well a side from EuroSTAR... I thank my awesome video creating skills and the community for that one!
I love attending conferences, but I don't think it's the conferences I love, yes I do enjoy listening to talks and asking questions if there is an opportunity to do so, it's meeting people that I love. The conversations in the breakout areas, over lunch or in most of my circumstances the pub/bar are invaluable, you learn so much more there, but what you also do (depth breath for the sloppy part) is plant the seeds of future friendships, so the learning continues post conference.
Got carried away there, but I intend to use the fact that I will hopefully be earning more to support my desire to attend conferences, both as an attendee and increasingly over the coming years as a speaker.
Training, if you're not a "certification chaser" then there are some excellent training courses out there. RST, PSL, BBST and endless smaller workshops by individuals and awesome groups like SkillsMatter. These obviously cost money, but they also take time, but I am not talking about the time spent at the training, I am referring to the time taken to digest everyone you learn. The time agreeing, the time spent questioning your current believes with the material and the time spent discussing/debating with the trainer post the training.
So I certainly will be attending more training, but also this will allow me time to really studying what's in front of me, yes I want be earning money during this time, but it will be incredibly valuable to me.
Meetups, The Nottingham meetup #NottsTest isn't going anywhere as I will still be based in Nottingham; however, I could be working anywhere, if there isn't one there, I will make one. If there is one, I will attend it. Meetups really are great, get attending and hosting them!
Working Life, I have struggled to write this without making myself sound like I am easily bored or don't appreciate the people I work with or have. But one of the things I am looking forward to, is working with a whole variety of people, some where opinions align but I imagine a large number where they don't, this will indeed be challenging, but a great learning curve.
Another benefit I foresee is new technologies, majority of my experience is Web based and C#, this isn't a bad thing as it's very popular, but you can find yourself seeking such roles because you can do it and probably demand a premium for it. I can't imagine I will have the opportunity to pick roles on my technology skills, so it will be in my benefit but also personal interest to learn more language/stacks, but there will also be an increased likelihood that I will end up contracting at companies using other languages and being able to learn there.
I certainly don't believe that any of the above is going to come easy, its going to be extremely difficult. There are going to be hard times and probably times when I will regret my decision. But needs must and to be honest I like difficult, I like challenges and I like new, so I will be giving my all to achieve all those things and more.
Apologies for the long post, but hopefully it came across that this wasn't an easy decision, but now it's made I intend to give it my all. Hopefully this will lead to to you all seeing more of me, meeting me and you never know working together.
Thanks to Simon Knight, Tony Bruce, Huib Schoots, Vernon Richards and Stephen Blower for all their advice and of course to Esendex for being so understanding.