Let me surf, ski and code

View the podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuxPeTAtVSE

I must admit: one of the best decisions in my life was not made fully by me, but also by my parents.

When I was 17, they advised me to join my brother and study Information Technology at the same university. I did not know then, thanks to them, I will find the best possible match among my profession, lifestyle and personality.

Me, coming from a non-specific academically oriented grammar school with tones of geography, biology, chemistry, etc., starting my first semester at University → I had no clue what programming is. Oh yeah, I already knew some languages exist! Like English, German, Spanish…

Nevertheless, after the first year, full of frustration and thoughts on giving up, I started to love my field of study, especially app programming (it’s the same feeling as when you’re 10 and building your biggest, coolest most super-duper Lego hovercraft!)

My little successes of developing a plain HTML CRUD app led me to my first job at a big corporate. This is when the magic started. Assumptions were low: I’m gonna sit in the office every day for many years, doing basic work and trying to be at least somehow helpful to my bosses with such big expectations on me (like making-a-coffee-for-them helpful)

However, one day I found an email, coming from our high management, saying: Ok guys, we’re reducing our costs for office space rental so from now on every working day 20% of you will work from home.

Wait, what? Like there won’t be a boss standing behind my back for 8 hours every day? Like apart from scheduled meetings, I can work 4 hours in the morning, then go running when the sun is up (I know, programmers, like vampires, do not like sun, but anyway, moving on…) and later finish the second half during the evening? Wow! Side note: this was in 2015 when the global pandemic was appearing only in movies that usually included some zombie fighting.

I could not believe that. And it made me kind-of pampered 😎 because that time it was far from being a standard.

A few years later I joined ableneo and I realized the flexibility can be even higher in a middle-sized consultancy with the right attitude. Was it possible to work rather 12 hours a day and then go on six two week holidays in one year? Yes. Did I move to Australia for a year and then rejoined ableneo like nothing happened? Yes. Could I extend my holiday at Canary Islands and later start to work remotely because I felt like surfing more? True (also thanks to our respected customer Solargis who has the best green-energy-solar-photovoltaic-prediction-forecast-whatever data and apps ever and it’s an honour to work for them). Was it possible to reserve 3 flexible holiday days in one sprint so my ski buddies and me could watch weather every day and choose the best one regarding the snow conditions? Also, true. And I could continue…

Now stop being selfish: this entire flexibility is not only beneficial for the YOLO part of myself, but also for my employer and clients. I’ll give you an example: last week before my planned holiday I’m counting the days to finish my work. Later, on the last days of my break I can’t wait to start working and building things again. I sense that my batteries are not just recharged, but literally so full of energy that they could explode! And then they explode in coding, so the impact is generally bigger than it would be if I worked in less flexible environment. Besides that, I feel way more motivated with the vision of a holiday or trip every few months in front of me. It really gets me up every morning and dare to write that one more unit test, to tell that one more honest estimation of a new feature to fulfill client’s road map…

Dear ladies and gentlemen, people who want to feel impact in their work while maintaining the other parts of their lives, if there’s any field in the 21st. century where you can combine career, a high standard of living, flexibility and family, it’s IT. Just like me, you can take the advantage of this flexible environment to cover your needs while staying motivated and productive. Don’t worry you’re not technical, because it’s creative! Don’t worry you will work with no living people, only with machines, because I can show you my calendar full of meetings, ceremonies and brainstormings! Well, sometimes maybe too full…but we can do it!

In conclusion I can only say I’m grateful. For the flexibility, for the “found my purpose” feeling, for the impact, for those cool things 🏄 🏝️⛷️⛰️ I can enjoy while still doing my beloved work: software development 👨‍💻.

Let me surf, ski and code was originally published in ableneo People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.