3.5 years: Work Thoughts

3.5 years since I last posted something! Instagram troll post isn’t counted. I definitely have a lot to talk about. After all, lots of things happened during these past 3.5 years. I graduated, took sabbatical 4 months of unemployment (my sister is beating me with 8 months of doing nothing now due to COVID-19) before started working as full timer at Google Sydney, life in Australia, a lot of business travels, promotion, issues, personal life, health problems, and of course… this current pandemic situation.

Let’s start with… Where am I now? I’m still working at Google. Same office, Sydney, same team since I started the job. Situation changed recently that I’ve decided to move on, but still within Google. Due to current world situation, I’ll still be sticking to my team at least for the entire year.

I was (and still am) an ambitious person. When I joined, I had set goals on a superficial target, such as promotion. It takes toll on me. On the bright side, I’ve learned so much, I’m an entirely different software engineer than I was when I joined. I learned a lot from my peers, which is one of the best things I like about working here. Every one knows pieces of stuff that you don’t know. You can’t just ask one person for everything. No one knows all the things, considering how massive Google is.

Truth is, all the technical stacks here that I’m working on are entirely different from what it is out there. I think all big companies have their own homebrew stack. Unfortunately, this isn’t great for my external impostor syndrome. “External” impostor syndrome is definitely just a word that I made up.

I mean, when I quit Google, how can I be sure that I’ll be helpful on technical side, working for whatever I’ll be working on? I have almost zero idea on the current technologies in the market – I’m currently working on Google Maps Android, FYI. Imagine needing to work on something else that you won’t need in the meantime just for the sake of keeping up, and whenever I’ll need it (aka when I quit Google), it will be outdated. 13 years ago when I started web development, everything was simple. Now you need (nah you don’t) node.js package for checking if a number is even. So one thing that I can take away from my experience working at Google would be how I can be a good developer and contribute to my future work and peers. Development workflow. Architecture design. Leadership. Communication. Soft skills. How to write performance review package (HAAAAAAAAAAAAAHA).

I definitely just use “oh it’s going to be outdated soon” as justification for not learning. Am I?

Since last year, I’ve started doing various 20% projects. I try to always do something different from my main work, or at least, something that will tickle my brain-dead brain. I worked on UX quantitative research, using SQL (FYI – Database course is one of my lowest uni final score. What a challenge). Funny enough, I was offered this “20% opportunity” because I was playing around to make a fun dashboard for my team. With fire, and flying cars. And flying SQL. Spoiler: I haven’t finished it yet. I also like to make tools for my team to use, which is a win-win for us – fun for me, useful for everyone.

Then – I started working on fun stuff, like April Fools. And then looking for another challenge – I was torn up between “Google Doodle for Tokyo Olympics” or “YouTube”. I couldn’t do the former since as a hipster I am, I don’t have Mac laptop to do the work. Also what a blast since the event itself got cancelled. I’ve been working on YouTube Android app now with entirely different technologies with Google Maps. Different programming languages, etc. It’s been fun so far, the challenges are the timezone difference with the YouTube team, since they’re based in the west coast and I work from the land down under. Also….

… jokes on me – 20% project + 80% project is a myth. It’s 120%. 20% project, 100% main work. At least, for me. WFH is making this worse, since my office is now less than 30 seconds away (bedroom to living room) and I can work whenever I can. While working on the 20% project is fun, and so far isn’t affecting my main work (well, no complains so far), I don’t think it’s healthy. But I have no plan to quit 20% anytime soon. It’s just so rewarding. “Impact, impact, impact” – words that keep echoing across tech company employees. Or is it just Google?

I had issues recently with work and stuff that I decided to take 3 weeks off work (during this WFH period). My manager and peers were supportive about it. What happened was… I got bored 1.5 weeks into the break and returned to work. Either I’m in denial or telling the truth, I’m not a workaholic.

As an immigrant, who doesn’t have anyone in Sydney, I feel blessed I found friends and communities in Sydney. Leaving Sydney is on my plan. It’ll hurt. But it’s time. It seems to be a weird decision since I hold Australian permanent residency now, but then leaving Sydney. Other than COVID-19 though, I still have arrangements in Sydney, such as braces, my travel bucket list (Uluru! Tassie! Queenstown!). Talking about work – I used to plan just to move after I got promoted again, but now I just don’t care about it.

Mental health issues, intrapersonal issues at work, happened but we can talk about it later in another post.