5 min read

On work: Role Changes Through The Years

On work: Role Changes Through The Years
Photo by Luca Bravo / Unsplash

I was lucky to get a job after I was done with my final exams in school. I'm not sure I spent more than a month at home before I got the opportunity to interview with a fintech in Lagos. The first step was to do a psychometry test together with a behavioural one. I despise both tests but I did well enough to get to the next stage. The next stage happened to be my first time interviewing in front of a panel and to be honest, I can't remember how I did or what I said. I just know that I said enough to get to the next stage. I was told by the panel that they weren't interviewing me for a specific role and that I would be told which team I would join, if I passed that stage. Back then, I disliked software development and I didn't think it was the path meant for me, so I was happy when I was told I would be working as a software tester. I got to meet the team lead some time after and I looked forward to working with her.

I resumed work there on the 5th of January, 2015 and I quickly learnt that my team lead had left the company to go work for Stanbic bank. We would be without a team lead for a while and the team was tasked with documenting all the applications that the company had. They had product managers but didn't want to bother them with such trivial work. I immediately realised that the role bored me. It became worse when I started testing manually. I would do a lot of documentation before and after testing, and the testing work itself took minimal time. The documentation was unfulfilling and I stopped looking forward to going to the office each morning.

Sometime around March that same year, I started to teach myself programming again. I needed something new that would occupy my mind and give me something to look forward to. I tried C# and ASP.NET as those were the tools that the company used. I could never quite get into them no matter how much I tried. I started staying back at work after 5PM to learn as much as I could. I tried other technologies too like JSP, which I had used in the university, but I couldn't quite find any motivation to continue with them. It all changed when I went to a classmates house, Bernard, and I saw a Ruby book on his table. I remember thinking that I wouldn't like the language, until I attended a Ruby community meetup at one of Andela's offices around September, 2015 and I fell in love with it.

Ruby set me on a new path. I still lacked motivation to build new things but I persevered. I applied to Andela a couple of times in 2016 and I came close to joining them but eventually didn't. I got a new job in 2017, on the island and it was to be a Ruby one. I was super delighted to join, even if it meant waking up at 4:30AM to get to work early. I remember getting there on my first day, eager to work and I listened to my CEO talk about a project I could work on.  I came in on the second day and he mentioned a different project that i could work on. It was the same on the 3rd day and by Friday, he no longer inspired confidence in me because of how indecisivehe was. I started thinking of how long I would likely stay at the company. I talked with my best friend and we decided that one year would be enough.

I hated that job with a passion though. I burnt myself out after my first month, waking up super early and getting home super late. I was to work on a project using an IBM integration for a bank and I had to be on it for 3 months. I kept looking forward to finishing it so I could go back to Ruby, but 3 months turned to 4 and around 5. I did sort of work on Ruby during my time there, but I largely worked using Vue instead, and it was for roughly two weeks. I stopped caring about getting to work on time and would close exactly after 9 hours from whenever I got in. I remember my CEO once saw me leave at 5 and he asked if I was closing because it was 5. I looked him dead in the eyes and said yes.

I reapplied to Andela in October of 2017 and got accepted in December. I resigned from the island job early and stayed home for about 6 weeks before I resumed at Andela. That was one of the best places I worked at for a long time, and one of the only places where I looked forward to going to work every morning. While I did get depressed within a week of my joining there, it was still one of my best work experiences. After 3 months, I finally got to work with Ruby and I got really good at it, good enough to run a learning session for my teammates. I got to work with another fintech based out of Thailand while I was there, and they're one of the best companies that I've worked with.

Andela started laying off people in 2019 and I got let go in 2020. We were asked to voluntarily resign, guessing for publicity sake. It came with a good severance package though, so I took it. I spent 6 months looking for a job without my parents knowing that I'd lost my job, and I eventually got a consultancy gig with a company in Ghana. It was pretty chill and my colleagues were cool too. Learnt a lot there but for the most part, it was uneventful. They still owe me pizza money lol. I continued interviewing while I was there and eventually got a job as a team lead at another company here in Lagos. I was scared because I'd never really led a team before and I wasn't sure if I would do well or not.

My plan was to stay there for just a year and leave, but I kept my head down and did my job really well, well enough that after my manager left, I took on her responsibilities and they didn't hire a replacement for her until I left. The main thing I disliked about the job was that I combined multiple roles and wasn't being compensated for the extra workload. It didn't bother me as much since I wasn't planning on staying there for a long time. I helped with planning, hiring and unblocking people when needed but I got a new job and tendered my resignation almost immediately. I left there full time after exactly one year.

My current job has been cool. While it's been a tad overwhelming, I've learnt a lot. I can't say much about them yet since I still work there. Maybe I'd update this article when I eventually leave, but in the mean time, thanks a lot for sticking around this long. Ta Leme.