When the world reeled by George Floyd's death and the resulting protests and attention to Black Lives Matter and my former CEO crying during a virtual All Hands, I sat with the feeling that perhaps I'm working in a generation that is wising up to respecting, supporting, sponsoring, and investing in Black minds and talent... particularly in tech.
Sometimes it's not adventageous to be the most optimistic in the room. While my personal life continued to spin with grief and shock of family members passing from COVID-19, my company grew increasingly tired of giving support and patience to These Unprecedented Times.
I made 1 year at my company in January 2021 and was met with a question from my manager during our weekly 1-on-1's, "Do you feel like you belong at this company?" And a follow up with, "We want you feel like you belong, so go find where that is."
It was both an exciting opportunity to find that, but also a dismaying one to hear since the patience of my constant failings or failures to start were now met with a "Let's try this again elsewhere." I was at the summit of what is considered the tenure into a global large tech enterprise, and all I needed to do was "find where I belong."
I can control my perspective on the situation. I can reframe failues as wins. I can view the glass as half full. What I cannot control is embarking into a company with a culture entrenched in racism, sexism, and classism that has been pointed out by executives as a thing to fix when the rest of the company is far from being on board with this concept. The most obvious issues sit with hiring and recruitment.
How often have you seen a tree improve its health from snipping and pruning from its topmost leaves, while battery acid is being poured onto its roots?
I had to get out, I had to leave. It was greater than the opportunity to navigate through a "good job". It was aligning my career with a recokoning that there's places that already have a tract record of Wanting to Do Better. There are companies out there, and maybe they don't have the recuriting budget to throw the biggest Pride Parade Float or give out witty sticker swag, but they are hiring intentionally to bring talent that is diverse in several modalities.
I left that giant corporation to a company that has less than 100 people. The feeling of belonging is not being force fed to me. It is not a dangling carrot. I still managed to negotiate a salary bump that was 16% more than I made previously. Far from what one would consider a failure.
I initially saw my job hunt as a failure. I ruminated on the yearly jobs I've held since graduating bootcamp as an issue with me and my place in tech. I cried over the coding challenges that timed out and I wasn't 25% of the way finished. Still, there's someone out there looking for people like me and wanting to make this relationship work.
And for that, optimisim is adventageous. I can keep hope that something good will come in due time. Now that I feel stabalized with my employment. I relish the future of what I can do personally with my career. The summit still stands before me. I'm not starting over from scratch. I have climed quite a ways in the five years since graduating from my coding bootcamp. My growth and journey does not resemeble the nicely packaged, "I went to a dev bootcamp and now I work as a developer." Like a Barbie sitting in a toy ailse.
And that does not invalidate my experience or expertise. I've been a developer for 5 years and I'm ready for the investment in making me a senior software engineer.