Sometimes when we are not stimulated, it is easy to become okay with just mediocre. Getting out of a rut can seem hard and feel daunting. A big step in itself is admitting that you’re in one. You might lack self-esteem or feel like what you are doing is acceptable enough while never really pushing yourself. I am writing this blog post because doing stuff differently made me realise I was in a rut and working at Sweet Mustard is a step forward out of that rut
In secondary school I was doing really well, I had great results in mathematics and science, stuff that really appealed to me. Everything came easy and that was exactly the problem. Relatively quickly after I began my first university course, I started being okay with just mediocre. I lost my motivation, I lost my drive and I lost my interest. For the first time education was a challenge, for the first time I was going to have to work. Instead of rising to it, I ignored it, I switched off, I did what was necessary, what would be good enough but nothing more, nothing tricky, nothing to push myself. I procrastinated and delayed tasks, even those that I did actually find really interesting… Nothing could spark my interest and push me, not until I almost finished a project and saw how interesting it could be.
Last year, I feel like I stepped up for the first time again. I left everything behind to see a bit of this beautiful world. I took matters into my own hands and left. The hardest part was leaving my friends behind. On the one hand, it was unexceptional because there are countless stories and Instagram accounts of people travelling for months and years. But on the other hand, it felt distant from what my friends were doing and not everybody near me understood.
During my travels, I had no choice but to be in charge, to research, to organise and to budget. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone time and time again and it was fantastic. Meeting new people, trying new food, using all forms of transport imaginable… I ended up feeling enthusiastic about all the different people and experiences, as the travels constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone. From finding the right train at an Indian railway station at night; to driving a moped through Cambodia and trying to find a job in Australia.
At times, it was a total sensory overload, as it put so many things into perspective and made all those things and opportunities we had taken for granted at home, starkly evident. It gave us a lot of time to really think about our priorities and how to best live a happy and fulfilled life going forward. It opened my mind and made me realise that I wanted to push myself more in life, try new things in my daily life and work with different people.
It all easily sounds cliché but walking off the beaten track really has an awesome feel to it when you start to embrace the situation. You just need that little push that might put you in new situations and most of the time the only person who can give you that push is you.
After travelling, I was ready for a completely new challenge, more than ever did I want to push myself and find that drive again. Luckily my passion for computers, logical thinking and problem solving had not waned whilst travelling; my skills and qualifications were still relevant to my goals. Now I just needed to find the right company to exercise those skills and interests. I needed to find a job in which I could innovate and where there was room for discussion and experimentation. I had learned that in order to work to my full potential, I needed to be in an environment that was sociable and dynamic, where colleagues learn from one another and error is a positive step towards a correct result.
So I decided to apply for vacancies that seemed intimidating because if you don’t ask and if you don’t try, you’ll never know. I was lucky to receive quite a few positive responses and I let my gut feeling and intuition guide me along the way. Despite pressure from friends and family, I let several offers go because I just had a feeling that I needed to hold out for the right thing. Then I had the interview at Sweet Mustard and that felt like the environment I was looking for. After pushing off jobs for an extra week, Sweet Mustard made their offer and the week after I started working there.
Being in the Sweet Mustard environment is very stimulating, working with dynamic and clever people with a tireless excitement for everything new is a blessing. Being a curious person, I feel like this is the place where I will be able to develop in a way I want to. I only started a month ago, there was time for self-development and lessons about the current web languages and trends. Events are scheduled regularly and time to learn something new is never far away.
Now, one month further, I am working on an exciting and challenging product at one of our clients realising a major digital transformation program. I’m very excited about this new challenge. It was daunting at first but I was given time to prepare and I am being supported by a knowledgeable and well-founded community -Sweet Mustard.
On top of the actual job, I am also looking forward to the upcoming events that we have planned. For example, Robotday, where I’ll be hands-on with electronics again. Another greatly anticipated future event is the LAN Party, where we’ll spend the evening trying to better one another in games like Trackmania, Age of Empires and Team Fortress 2. Besides those two examples, our K Tech Meet Up, taking place on 15th of November, is going to be very exciting as well. Our technical Coach Mike will share his experiences from his visit at Devoxx Belgium.