It is a common case of accepting a job offer, only to get in somewhere, without actually checking in detail where I am going to work, what my duties and responsibilities will be, how much and what I will do, etc.
The result of this can be that after a certain time, dissatisfaction begins to grow because expectations that were simply not communicated promptly were not met. Dissatisfaction is not in anyone's interest, neither the employee nor the employer. For this reason, one of the very important, but rarely asked questions is what my working day will look like when I start working as a software engineer.
If you have ever come across these thoughts or you are currently having them, then the story I am going to share with you might help you see through it. I am a Software Engineer in the company dSpace Engineering and these were my first worries and a story of how the situation looks right now when I have found my place within the team.
What should you have in mind before you start?
In the next couple of paragraphs, I am going to share with you the key aspects you have to have in mind before applying for or accepting a certain job offer.
One of the first things you should pay attention to is working hours. Working hours can be fixed or flexible. Fixed working hours require spartan discipline, but can also cause much more stress. It is not easy to be at work on time every day, especially for someone who does intellectual and creative work most of the working day.
Insufficient sleep due to having to be at work at a specific time also affects productivity and concentration. The advantage of flexible working hours is that there is more freedom in combining private and business obligations. At the same time, the disadvantage is the possibility that there is nothing left of the day if it is not well combined. Overtime hours should also be taken into account. Are they paid, how frequent are they, and are they mandatory?
Place of work
The place of work is also important. Is it at the company's location, at home, or perhaps hybrid? One of the benefits of working from home can be "saving" the time that is otherwise wasted on travel. If it takes you an hour to get to work in one direction, that's more hours in a week than there are in one working day. Of course, the reverse is also true. The disadvantage of working from home can be reduced contact with colleagues from the company or team, which has a negative impact on interpersonal relationships, a sense of belonging, dedication to a common goal, etc.
One of the most important things besides the written rules is the unwritten ones. For example, how many times can I go on a cigarette break? Will my non-smoking colleagues resent me if I take more breaks due to smoking? May I go for a coffee somewhere outside the company during working hours? Am I allowed to go do some private things without fear during working hours and can I make up for that time and when? May I use part of my working time for my education?
There are still many such questions whose answers are often not written down anywhere, but it would be good to communicate them in time.
Type of work
The least unknowns seem to be around the types of work that will be performed. Most time is spent on this topic during job interviews. But there is a trap here too. And it is often found in the way of introduction to the job and in the organization of the job itself. It is not the same whether the introduction to the job is gradual, well planned, and guided by a mentor, or whether the process of getting into the job is left mainly to the newcomer, who is overwhelmed by hundreds of pages of documentation for the first time.
However, the process of getting used to it usually ends relatively quickly, and then the company's culture itself is only beginning to be felt. Anyone who hasn't worked in an environment where new requests are received every now and then or the requests change so that every now and then they are switched from one topic to another, deadlines are shortened, etc., can hardly fully appreciate the benefits of a well-planned and organized mode of operation. And that can be one of the biggest generators of stress or dissatisfaction in the workplace.
All of the above can and do have a big impact on what my work day will look like when I start working as a developer. Not only that, it will have an impact on all other aspects of my life.
What is it like in my practice?
At the very end, so that everything does not remain only on pure theory, I will try to show how it looks for me in our company, dSpace.
Every day I can choose whether I want to go to the company or stay and work from home. I usually go to the company when I agree with my teammates. The reasons for this can be various, such as an important meeting, celebration of a completed project, lunch together, beers after work, someone's birthday, or similar. Such meetings always make me happy because it's different when we're all together live, and it's good for team spirit.
Whether you go to the company or not, the day starts with coffee and signing in the working time tracker. I can use the short period, until the only mandatory daily 15-minute meeting, to plan the upcoming day, talk with colleagues, read and respond to e-mails, and often develop programming code that requires greater concentration.
However, I am freshest in the morning, and the number of distractions is reduced because the working day has not yet heated up. At the daily meeting, we check how we stand on the given two-week goal and whether anyone has difficulties or problems at work that they cannot solve on their own. If there are problems, new meetings are scheduled to try to solve the problems. These can be technical meetings, pair programming, meetings with the product owner, etc. At the daily meeting, the list of tasks, i.e. product items (backlog) that are being worked on, is also reviewed and their status is updated, i.e. the remaining necessary time for their execution.
Not long after that comes the lunch break. At home, if lunch is ready, the break is much shorter, and when I'm at the company, I usually go somewhere to nearby restaurants together with colleagues who are at the company that day. This is the time when business talks are held, information, knowledge, experiences, and plans are exchanged, and private conversations are often held as well. Lunch is usually followed by a short coffee, which can be bought somewhere along the way or taken free of charge from a vending machine in the company.
In the period after lunch, we mainly work on tasks that are in the product items (backlog), which are used to achieve the two-week goal. Part of the time can also be spent reading or writing documentation, meetings, conversations, studying existing code and architecture, etc.
The days are different, and creativity can come to the fore because there is a lot of freedom in organizing and planning time and tasks. As the working hours come to an end, all activities slowly calm down. For me, if I'm in the company, it's the time when I need to reach for the served fruit or go for another short break with one of my colleagues, but sometimes also try to solve more difficult tasks that require greater calmness and concentration.
After the work is finished, it is followed by a check-out in the working time tracker and a carefree continuation of the day, because fortunately there are no work cell phones, since the company takes care of the balance of private and business life. If you don't believe me, sign up, come and see for yourself.
Have these things in your mind, ask for the details, and good luck! :)