I just recently started my graduate role 🥳 at Ampersand UK and it's been amazing, (PS. That is why I have been MIA from blogging) however, prior to that I was involved in a few extracurricular activities before starting my job. Today I want to talk about a few facts I appreciate knowing before starting my tech career.
Listen to me read the post to you
There is a community
Fact number 1, there is a tech community, that is generous, willing and happy to help, or share their ideas and expertise in a wide variety of non-technical and technical topics. If you are like me and have been under a rock, doing things by yourself and not quite finding a community to encourage you in your journey. This would be particularly relieving to know, because, I don't know what it is about seeing people in positions I aspire to be? But for me, it gives me a sense of hope that I can achieve what I set out to do. It's great to know that I am not in this alone! In irony, I was never 😃, I just decided to stick my head out a little and it's paid off tremendously.
Mentors are important
Fact number 2, Mentors are important! For the most part of my journey, I have had what I would refer to as online mentors. People who I haven't met, but I have spent time with their work. Engaging with it and taking away little gems that have helped me one way or the other. But do you know what would have even been more helpful? Having a physical mentor, that I could have both formal and informal conversations with. Someone who is a friend and mentor, who has way more life and work experience than I have. I really do believe having this sort of relationship in your life is mutually beneficial to both mentor and mentee. If you have one atm you are very lucky!
Giving back is actually fulfilling
Okay fact number 3 I did mention at the start that I was involved in some extracurricular activities before I started my job. These included
- Volunteering to teach kids how to code
- Contributing to open source projects
- Starting a technical page on Instagram
- Mentoring and
- Technical writing as seen on this blog etc.
I actually enjoyed doing all of these extracurricular activities, because It was fulfilling. I was spreading knowledge that was extremely helpful to people that needed the help, support, general information or source of inspiration. It felt purposeful, knowing I was serving others in a way that added value.
Is work-life balance a myth 🤷🏾♀️ ?
Fact number 4 is a bit of a debatable fact! Some say to prove yourself in the workplace you have to go 'Above and beyond' to impress both your colleagues and employer. Others say it's a 9-5 no more no less, I am sure you have also heard work smart not hard, and the debate goes on. I was still on the fence on this one until I read an article by Victoria Lo on self-care tips for developers. And I had an Aha moment 🤓, it made sense. The keyword with the whole idea of work-life balance is the word BALANCE. I believe there are grey areas with this concept and it can't be a sharp contrast between managing both your life and work because sometimes one might require more attention than the other. And as professionals we have to adhere to the different demands accordingly, but in this case do it acknowledging the human also needs to be taken care of in order to perform at their most optimal level.
Can I get a raise 🙏🏾 ?
Finally the money fact I bet a good number of us did not negotiate the salary offer for your first job? 🙋🏾♀️ I didn't as well, not necessarily a bad thing, I bet given better knowledge, circumstance, experience or understanding you could have. But what's great about this fact is I can start doing specific things that would help my chances of getting a raise on the job or better feedback. Someone once said if you don't document it, it never happened, and if it never happened there would not be any strong basis for negotiation or solid feedback that is essential for my growth. So a few things I now know to implement towards this fact is
- To document my progress on the job and how my work might be improving the business or even helping my team in general.
- By doing this, scheduled 1:1s with my team lead would be more practical and intentional. This way, asking for feedback or opportunity for growth would be easier.
One of the reasons I love where I work is that, this practice of documenting and organizing 1:1s is done using a platform called Lattice. With a tool like this, there is a lot of transparency, and its good practice not only for negotiating your salary, but for adding to your career growth, and also appreciating other peoples work in and outside your team.
Is there any other fact/advise you would like to share with me? Please write them in the comment section.
- Engage with my post ==> I promise you it cost nothing
- Comment below your thoughts ==> I would really like to hear them
- Share with others ==> lol don't be stingy!