Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've posted on here … I want to give you some updates about where I'm at today and some learnings from my 2 years in the same company.
A bit of history for context
More than 2 years ago I posted Why remote freelancer?. That post came after jumping from company to company for years, staying 6 months or less in each one, and as an attempt to rationalize and learn from this trial-and-error period.
In that post I was explaining my criteria list:
- Short/no commute (or paid commute since it is personal time taken from me)
- 1 hour worked = 1 hour paid
- No money loss between my employer/client and myself
- Being free to say no, being heard
Shortly after posting that article, I was contacted by a consulting company looking for a developer for a Norwegian company. I may have ditched the middle-man, but I'm still working for that Norwegian company today.
“Never say never” ey !
Why neither remote, nor freelancer ?
It happens that working for that company showed me that it is possible to get those criteria fulfilled even without being a freelancer or working remote.
Commute : As we've all seen with Covid-19, it can be nice to not stay 24/7 at home. Now, of course I won't accept to do more than a 30-minute commute each way daily, but anything less is nice for the brain once in a while.
1h worked = 1h paid : Here in Norway they don't fuss too much about that, in exchange for clocking in and out in the company system you get a counter of extra hours you've done. You can simply clock out earlier or clock in later another day to “cash it in”. As long as the end number of hours is higher or equal to your contract, you're good to go ! And yes, for those who worked with me, yes I have plenty of extra hours I need to not-work for … It's hard to not do all-nighters …
No money loss : My client/employer and I were both losing money on the consulting company at first, but we quickly remedied that by signing each other directly.
Being free to say no : That one actually had nothing to do with the contract and everything to do with the company culture. Any company, or team, you work in should listen when you are offering your opinion, I think it's also part of what they pay you for. After opening my mouth about how some tasks should be done (Eh, I'm French 🤷♂️) they allowed me to prove myself and do those tasks my way. I think they liked it since they offered me to stay 🤷♂️.
Fair is fair
I remember an Interview of David Catuhe, arriving in Seattle and joining a new team at Microsoft. He told us about when his superior would tell him “There is nothing you can't do tomorrow” at 5pm to send him home to his family; or reminding employees that they have to leave a prolonged meeting to pick up their kids from school. This level of care for the employees made me dream of joining Microsoft for a long time. It's the kind of boss I wanted to be, it's the kind of company I want to work for.
This brought me to stay in Norway, or at least in Scandinavian countries. I think what I sought after in a position, a status, a professional relation, I actually found in culture.
I work hard one day, my company lets me recover the next day, regardless of that investor who […] or of that client who […].
I know how to do a better job than the one I'm asked, my company lets me and trusts me.
I can focus better from home, my company lets me work from home and facilitates that.
I have witnessed that fairness culture in a few places, in a few companies, Scandinavian countries definitely have it. Now I'm not throwing the rock, in many countries it is hard to be fair, as it would be seen as being weak. And also “life is unfair”.
This was what I was really looking for. I learned that it exists, and it's not too much to ask.
My new criteria list
Some of those points are still valid today, but I think I need to revise my criteria list.
- Mutual trust
- Fairness (broader version of “1 hour worked = 1 hour paid”)
- An honorable mission
- Efficiency (no money lost on contracting middle-man, no time lost on commute when not needed)