It’s amazing how fast the last year has passed. When I joined the company, I had no idea how interesting my journey will be. I learn something new every day; I use my creativity; I make mistakes and amend them. I quickly became passionate about remote work and the video games industry.
Sponge Hammer opened the door for me to a world that I always wanted to discover.
I’ve decided to write my experience of my first year with Sponge Hammer. As it happened to be too long, I will post it in two parts.
So How is it Started?
I joined Sponge Hammer in the summer of 2019. It wasn’t an easy decision for many reasons. At that time, I was working for a multinational company where we had hundreds of people in the office: private canteen, game room, friends and an effortless job. Now, this was both good and bad as I had time to learn online, but doing the bare minimum was demotivating.
On the other hand, Sponge Hammer meant flexible hours, doing what I always wanted to do and an opportunity to start a career in the games industry.
The most significant doubt I had was remote work. Never worked remotely before and I didn’t know if it’s for me or not. I was seriously concerned about it.
What if it turns out, I can’t work from home? Or if I just keep distracting myself at home? What if I will hate the whole remote work aspect of it?
I was thinking for a long time before accepting the offer. It wasn’t a light-hearted decision.
I remember I was so nervous to talk to the others through the camera at the beginning. This isn’t an issue anymore as the pandemic forced us to use video calls. I got used to the video calls very quickly.
One of the reasons why Sponge Hammer works well is because we make an effort to have great communication within the company. No endless emails or direct messages. It is much easier to make a quick one-minute call and explain, rather than writing lines after lines.
In the office, it was pretty much the same. If I wanted something from a colleague, I just walked to his desk and asked. Now, when you are fully remote, you just hop on a Zoom call.
Initially, I thought working from home is literally, you sit down on the couch with your laptop and do the work. I had no idea how difficult it can be sometimes.
First, I needed proper office equipment. When I spent 8 hours every day in my chair, I quickly realised that I need a more comfy one. I didn’t have a second screen, so I got one as well.
Fortunately, I had a spare room, so I moved my stuff there, and it became my ‘office’. That helped me a lot to focus on work.
I’ve also implemented a kind of daily routine just to keep on track and not to get distracted.
The other aspect of the smooth operation is trust. This is the foundation of the company. It is a two-way street. I remember in the first month I was trying to report back everything I did. I thought this is how a remote company makes sure employees do their work. Then I understood, all those kind of reports were unnecessary. The job needs to get done and it will speak for itself. We do have a morning call where we discuss the previous day and resolve the issues if there are any.
Part of the company’s culture is transparency, which means that every piece of information gets shared with us. Literally, anything that happened or happening with the company. Csaba makes all the decisions, but many times he asks the opinion of ours. In the beginning, I was extremely uncomfortable with this. It is still hard to explain why. I think the reason behind this is I came from different background. Worked for companies where this much transparency would destroy team spirit and would create havoc with all the politics ongoing.
Not many places I worked where you can let your guard down because there won’t be anybody ‘attacking’ you. I believe that this level of transparency is only working because everyone works toward the same goal. Nobody is putting his/her own interest in front of others’. We all understand the basic principle, that if the company thrives, we are getting more out of it.
It was very hard to adapt and accept all these values. No, this is incorrect. We all have these values, but the years of experiences in business makes us build walls just as I did. It took me a long time to “let my guard down”.
So this was the first half of my post. I will post the second part soon, which will cover the period after the first month, the pandemic and how I see the company after a year.
Starting a new job is always difficult, no matter how skilled you are. I am genuinely interested in your thoughts about the subject.
Feel free to comment below the post.