Up until the summer of 2014, I had been pretty much working alone for 8 years. With a rocky start in my early twenties, I eventually landed on a stable diet of sub-contracted agency work, graphic design, photography and finally concentrated fully on development. I did things right and incorporated early – which gave me an impressive list of titles, as well as get everything set up great for taxes, billing, and payroll.
On the personal side of things: I got married, became a first time home buyer, and then a dad twice over. While there was a new level of stress to deal with, ultimately life was stable and my wife and I had worked hard together to get there. I really had no intention of shaking things up.
Oddly enough, it was a series of big, well-paying projects that put me in search of something else. Instead of doing lots of small work over the summer, I decided to schedule just a couple of big projects. They were challenging, fun, and I was working with some big names like ______ and _____.
The joy of an NDA means that even now I can’t say who I was working with or even what I was working on. All that code I could only loosely talk about for big names, I couldn’t say because I was working for an agency as a contractor and not an employee. While I don’t share much on social media, I do get overly excited and chatty in person about this kind of thing. Finishing up projects that I was proud of, but could not talk about at all those summer barbecues with friends and family was a struggle. I love what I do and it was that inability to talk about it that had me looking for another option.
Oh look, Range is hiring.
I spent more time than I’d like to admit looking at job requirements for being a developer at Range and wondering if I was really qualified. Eventually I overcame the self-doubt, wrote up my email (after I got permission to include some of my NDA work) and hit send. I wanted a small team with some big clients and room to grow. I didn’t apply anywhere else; I really wanted that job.
The end of this story is really no surprise, it is in fact the point of this post. I heard back from Range, we talked, I did a short trial, they offered the job and I accepted. WOO! I was definitely worried about being able to make the transition from working alone to working in a team, but it turned out to be pretty easy. We talked daily on slack, I took on a few projects and got into a new routine with a lot less isolation.
The biggest and most immediate impact was on my mental health. I could actually relax in the evening. I had no idea how much of my time was spent thinking about work, until I no longer had to handle and plan every last detail.
With less stress came increased personal growth. I tackled ideas and projects that had been on my todo list for months. Eventually this lead to my current leadership of the WordPress Plugin Boilerplate, as I had so clearly showed Tom McFarlin I had too much free time for my own good.
I’ve discovered how amazing it is to have work funded travel. My first full month at Range ended at WordCamp San Francisco. Going there had been on my radar the year before, but the potential planning of it all alone (combined with the potential cost) made for too easy of an excuse. This time I was sent there to meet up with my team.
The next time we all got together was for an official Range Meetup. Our project manager Laura wrote about it on the Range blog. A few weeks after that I was back in California at The Carneros Inn for a WordPress VIP conference.
Lets get sappy
I’ve been planning this post in my head since getting back from the meetup last month and writing it all out has been a lot of fun. Hopefully this post is the first of many more. I want to help contribute to the community of blog posts that I learned from and continue to learn from daily.
I still love development. I still loving working at Range with all the awesome people there. Although I don’t know how long this stage of my life will last, I do know I’m extremely happy to be here.