New cheese: looking back at the 1st year as an engineer

Wrapping up one roller coaster ride – scary, thrilling and with loads of ups and downs!

The lessons

“It is safer to search in the maze than to remain in a cheeseless situation”
Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?

This year taught me to let go before things rot, to prioritize and never give up.
The year was a roller coaster ride for my professional life. The startup for which I moved to Berlin, HowDo, very sadly, closed down. That left me with quite some introspection and job search to do and very little time and resources to be able to explore. I started taking things as they came, for what turned out to be the entire year.

I found it hard to find another place I would love so much as HowDo. There was some freelancing, a consultancy I worked for and now finally another mid-sized start-up, that is growing rapidly. I did not expect this year to bring so much change while it lasted. I am happy with all the lessons learnt, though I hope the times to come are not so difficult.

When I started work, 1.5 years ago (I was a student and intern until then), I didn’t know how to make choices when it came to job applications and projects. I took up what I liked best and had no clue what I should be looking for in terms of professional growth, company culture or even salary.

When the company closed down, I was left with a work visa that wouldn’t allow me to be unemployed in Germany, insufficient finances that wouldn’t allow me to be unemployed in Germany and an amazingly beautiful summer, that wouldn’t let me leave Berlin!

So, with a colleague’s help I got myself a freelancer contract. Though, in a few weeks my choices for work places and projects started shaping up a little. Also, this was my first experience at freelancing, which didn’t go so well.

I was rejected at all my first few choices for new work. Berlin has a lot of amazing opportunities but I was still considered pretty junior for them.

But with time, I burnt out with the projects. I wanted a more product oriented company. And there, my current company found me. It took a long time to decide between my current job and the last and I realized it was an opportunity I didn’t want to lose.

So here I am happy to be working in a fast growing start up, with a great engineering team. I am still a bit scared, but that hasn’t worked out badly before. 😉

But professional growth wasn’t the only change.

It’s just like riding a bike”, they said.

Now this has a very different meaning for me. I was very scared of riding any vehicle on the road and didn’t know how to bike. It was high time I changed that!

I taught myself to bike. I figured out it was pretty much like the rest of life anyway. You learn to balance, you keep going and pay attention to obstacles and eventually learn to get around them.

I bought a beautiful mountain bike, biked to office daily but eventually lost it to the notorious Berlin bike thieves.

A bike is a special companion, when you lose your way, when you’re rushing to catch a train or when you’re enjoying a long ride across the city. This was a blow!

Getting addicted to change
I decided to instantly start with something else!
Swimming! Yeah, I didn’t know how to swim. I am still learning and hopefully this summer I will be able to swim in some lakes.

Travel

This year was great for travel though. I traveled to The Netherlands, Spain, a bit more around Germany and a couple of times to India.

So it was one eventful year, memorable and good to get rid of!

Here’s to a wiser one! 🙂

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