This is the second part of my first year’s journey at Sponge Hammer. In this part, I’m mainly covering the difficulties of being alone, the pandemic and how I managed to become part of the team.
One of my first tasks was to speak to everyone. I have never worked with developers, never worked in the software industry, and I needed to gather some basic knowledge of what we do.
It was very easy to get on with the team as everyone was helpful and friendly. Every individual was professional, open and cheerful. Literally, I felt I’ve joined a group of friends who make awesome code for a living.
It didn’t take long to understand why all the partners are coming back to work with us. Apart from efficient communication and taking care of the clients, the answer is quality. Many of the software outsourcing companies just don’t care about quality. They have the deadlines, headcounts, and in general, they choose the easier, cheaper path.
The guys here take self-pride in their work. The result is a good quality product shipped within the deadline. If there is an issue, they resolve it quickly and professionally.
So after the first month, I’ve started to realise that I’m missing human interactions. Speaking with the team helped a lot, but still, as the weeks passed, I’ve started to feel alone.
I was missing the office, very badly.
I love small talks, chatting with others and mainly just having people around. This feeling started around the second month and lasted at least for 2-3 months. The guys helped a lot, and sometimes we just had a chat about anything not work-related.
And then the Coronavirus arrived.
The reason I wanted to include the lockdown as it lasted very long here. It took half of my first year at Sponge Hammer.
For us, the pandemic came with very strict lockdown (Majorca). First few weeks were awful as our five years old couldn’t understand the fact that both of his parents at home, with him, but not available for him. So we made the prime mistake and let him watch cartoons. It gave us time to focus on work, but the situation got worse.
After that, we changed our approach and tried to make schedules, activities, decided to rearrange our working hours and so on. Some days it worked, some days it failed.
Now, five months later, I believe we are just all tired, physically and emotionally; however, we got much closer to each other.
These months were tough on us (and ‘us’ I mean all the working-from-home parents). A simple task, for example, to write something became a challenge as my son kept disturbing me.
Fortunately, Sponge Hammer is family-friendly. In every aspect. I lost count how many times my five years old just walked into the meeting, or shouted from his room that he lost something. Or the number of times I wasn’t available for a call because I was attending a severe wooden-train accident in his room.
I wrote about it earlier, you can read it here.
Do I regret it?
No. Not at all.
I can’t even sum up how much I learned over the year. About programming, the industry, about writing, social media, Photoshop, PR…and the list goes on and on.
I do miss the buzz of the office sometimes. I think this is a downside for me.
Apart from this, Sponge Hammer is a dream place to work. I know it sounds cheesy. When I speak to my friends about it, I always see the doubts in their eyes. Every second sentence of mine is ” I know it sounds unreal”. What I usually don’t mention, that we all work hard to reach our goals. I make mistakes. Sometimes, I just hate it when the words aren’t coming. Or when I feel I can’t improve what I do, or when I miss a deadline.
But these are all part of working.
There are plenty of companies out there trying to focus on their culture. Fortunately, they understand that they need to focus on their employees. Without the workers, a company is just an empty shell.
This is where Sponge Hammer is excellent: keeping everyone happy, accommodating their needs and being always transparent.
This was my first year at Sponge Hammer in a nutshell. My personal feelings about it that the company is going in the right direction. It will be hard to keep this culture as we grow, but with a strong foundation, it should be right.
Let me know what you think, especially if you have a solution to loneliness or how to work with kids around :-).