Change(s) of scenery

Quick update

Since my last post, I moved on from Timely to join Sharesies, and then moved again to join GitLab as an Engineering Manager.

Sharesies was a great place to work overall, but I had the opportunity to join GitLab as an Engineering Manager in their Reliability department, and there were signs that things at Sharesies were slowing down a bit.

Somewhat ironically, Sharesies announced lay-offs a couple of weeks ago, followed just recently by GitLab announcing a 7% staff cut – which unfortunately happened to include my role. In the words of Kendrick Lamar; Damn

GitLab learnings

I was only at GitLab for ~7 months, and technically still am (haven’t had the final “see ya!” call yet), and I don’t regret it at all!

I went into the role uncharacteristically subdued – mostly, I think, because I was in awe; being able to work at this “big tech” company I’d looked up to for so long.

It was hugely valuable, but perhaps not for the reasons you’d assume; rather, I learnt a lot by seeing just how “normal” GitLab is behind the curtain.

Don’t get me wrong; there are some amazingly talented people working there, but (and perhaps I’ve been lucky in this regard) in my experience there have been equally brilliant people in practically every place I’ve worked to date. Perhaps we (in NZ) punch above our weight? Or my expectations were just inflated?

Nevertheless it was good to see firsthand that they experience the exact same growing pains, technical constraints, and people-related frustrations that every single other company I’ve worked with has gone through – perhaps just at a different scale.

If I could have my time again, I would absolutely be more proactive and willing to “be myself” sooner. A valuable lesson to take away.

To be fair there were some personal/family issues late last year which meant I was checked out of work for essentially a month, which didn’t help matters.

The unfortunate part is that, due to my slower onboarding process, I only just felt like I was starting to have real impact this year. Murphy’s Law I guess. 😉

Next steps

So, what’s next? I’m not sure…

I posted my news on LinkedIn just yesterday, and it honestly feels like it was a week or two ago due to the amazing response I’ve had and how busy it’s kept me.

My partner, Aimee, is in Australia this and next week for a wedding, so while I’ve been super busy fielding phone calls from recruiters, replying to friends in various Slack groups, and trying to update my CV and LinkedIn profile – I’ve also found myself (more than once) just randomly sitting here reflecting on how awesome people have been, and all the nice things folks have said about working with me in the past.

More than a few lumps-in-throats have been experienced, I can tell you. 😂

Having considered what’s made me happy in previous roles, I think my ideal job (in a nutshell) would be working with a smaller company who need help scaling their technical systems and teams.

I haven’t been on the tools in a while, so a purely engineering role is off the table, and to be honest feels a little too “single threaded” to me – i.e. tends not to have the multiplicative and strategic impact I’d like to have.

So something like an executive-level position in a start-up, through to a senior engineering manager kind of role in a larger, more established company. Something that will both push me to learn and grow, but still allow me to provide value early on.

I’m also always keen to help smaller start-ups who don’t need someone like me full-time, or perhaps can’t even afford such an engagement. I’ve done a few pro bono consulting gigs now (although I’ve been known to accept the odd beer as payment too) 🍺, so reach out if you have a worthy cause which needs help getting started or scaling for growth, and we can jump on a few video calls at least. 🚀

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