Celebrating Two Years at WebDevStudios

I thought this blog post today might be about a number of things I’ve been up to in the past month: how I submitted two talks to WordCamp US (and a separate new one to WordCamp Minneapolis-St. Paul), the multiple projects I’ve been working on (Into the Void, Board Game Collector, OOPS-WP, and a framework for migrating data into WordPress), a recap on this year’s great Minnebar unconference, monthly engineering-related calls I’ve been having with friends, and more. As I started writing about WDS, rather, it seemed evident to me that I wanted to reflect on my time here and what I’ve learned about myself since becoming a full-time backend engineer in 2017.

I celebrated my second anniversary with WebDevStudios back in late March. Officially, it’s the longest I’ve remained at a company since becoming a web developer back in 2013. Early in my career, I looked for new opportunities for variety of reasons: to earn more money, to find better kinship with colleagues, to continue to grow and be challenged, to work on interesting projects, and importantly, to feel that my voice is heard and that my contributions matter.

Each new position I took improved my quality of life in one way or another, and I’m thankful that I’ve never had a bad job. Room 34 gave me my start, providing me with lots of interesting projects and the chance to learn as much as I could about WordPress. I forged some of my best friendships while at Westwerk. 3five taught me how to work from home and to power through challenging projects.

Two weeks ago, 25 of my colleagues and I flew down to Georgia for WebDevStudios’s annual retreat, WDS Camp. It’s a week-long opportunity to spend time together in person, learn more about each other, and – to echo the theme of this year’s camp – collaborate, learn, and plan.

At WDS Camp, Brad Williams and Lisa Sabin-Wilson (our executive leadership, for those who don’t know them) gave their “State of WDS” presentation, where they reflected on the recent past and what’s in store for the company in the coming months. This year, as they discussed the contributions of our current and former colleagues, Brad expressed something that resonated with me, which was along the lines of “the good old days are right now.”

Those who know me know that I don’t always pause to reflect on all of the positives, and if anything, the frequency in which I moved on to new companies earlier in my engineering career was a symptom of this personal shortcoming. There is opportunity in patience, in perseverence, in kindness, in asking for help, in helping others, in showing gratitude, and in trusting others.

WebDevStudios has been a great place to work. I have friends here. I’ve been involved in projects that have led me to grow both as an engineer and as person. I’m learning to be more patient, accountable, and humble. Our company culture is outstanding, and the breadth of knowledge across our team continually reminds me just how much there still is to learn.

Agency work can be frustrating. Clients can be difficult, project scope can turn on a dime, and imposter syndrome can get in the way of trusting yourself enough to get that project to the finish line if you let it. These qualities aren’t unique to any one company. The culture of a company is what gets you over those hurdles, and that company’s ability to provide you with the things you value most will keep you there. It’s been an extraordinary run so far at WDS, and I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities the future will bring us.