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It’s been a while…
This place is dusty. I’ve been MIA for a while, at least on the blogging front. Despite that, I remembered, “oh shit, I have analytics for my blog, I wonder how it’s been doing.” 2022 was a wild year, to say the least. In January traffic peaked out at just shy of 1400 visitors on the biggest day, and in July… I have no idea what was going on but there were several 5,000+ visitor days. Anyways, that made me consider whoever is actually reading this content might be curious where the hell I’ve been.
I’ve been everywhere, man.
July of 2021, I accepted a new position as a senior software engineer on a platform team at a pretty cool company. The team I was on was composed of some of the best engineers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, the company is 100% remote first, and the best part is they saved me from suffering in PHP land any further. I FINALLY ESCAPED THE TRAP! Python and Node are the flavors of choice here, and yes I’m speaking in present tense because I’m still with the same company.
All hasn’t been great, though. Within two months of my start date my EM and principal engineer left. Two months later, two other senior engineers left. And finally, in December the last remaining original team member departed. Talk about a soft landing — I show up and everyone leaves the room. Awkward…
In the midst of this chaos I did see an opportunity though. For the previous couple years I had entertained the idea of transitioning into people leadership. The reasons were varied, and somewhat driven by what a typical technical tract looks like — you get to senior, sit there for half a decade, then maybe make staff, then after another decade maybe make principal. All the while salaries stagnate at a certain point, and to me, you end up picking up a ton of people leadership responsibilities while still juggling the expectations of being highly productive. Why would you want to be accountable for people reporting to you while also juggling exponentially more technical problem scopes? Not for me, or at least I thought that then.
Instead, as my team hired on two new engineers and brought two others from another team into the fold, I stepped up as the team lead. Given the team’s EM was technically the entire platform organization’s director, I was picking up a ton of EM tasks and progressively being pulled out of heads down coding time. After months of doing that, my team and I pushed to make me the official EM. #careermilestoneachieved!
For those of you considering this transition, take heed to this next piece of advice.
Transitioning to leadership is way harder than you comprehend right now, and it is not for the faint of heart. Expect your working hours to increase by at least 50% initially, and to make more mistakes than you’ve made since you were a junior engineer. Don’t expect to just pick up the title and run. I know you won’t listen, but I feel compelled to tell others considering this transition as the time since my promotion to EM has had a lot of negative impacts on me personally despite providing exponential opportunities for growth that I didn’t know existed. I’ll write about all that at a later time, though.
This brings me to now.
Given I’ve figured out being in people leadership isn’t what I want to do, at least not right now, I interviewed for an internal senior appsec engineer role and received the offer. I’m finally getting back to what I was doing before I left the last company, and getting to repeat almost exactly what I did there, just here. The fact that this company provides so much flexibility, and opportunity, for their people to do the things they’re passionate about while enabling employee’s personal growth is by far my favorite trait about this place. I’ll be stepping down as the EM for my team (much to their disappointment) at the end of January, and I cannot express how excited I am to have some semblance of work life balance back. To be able to put my work down at the end of the day. To be fully present with my kids and partner again. Plus, I’ll be getting to engage in offensive security shenanigans while helping engineers throughout the entire engineering organization level up.
That’s it. That’s the TL;DR: of what I’ve been up to. I’ll be dropping some additional entries alongside this one that I’ve had in draft state and just haven’t touched in some time. I know this one is personal, and atypical of most of my other content, but at this point I’m going to be pivoting this blog to be a public journal. Maybe I’ll be more consistent. Unlikely, but maybe.