A little back story
My journey at Lightfoot all started because of my struggles with a previous company. I had been given a 3-month trial and during this trial, my work was struggling. The company really liked me as a person and wanted to see me succeed there. They extended my trial by another 3 months and by the end of it, I was still struggling to keep up. I then had to start looking for a position elsewhere, and that’s where I found Lightfoot.
My background in web development
My background in web development is mainly backend technologies such as PHP, MySQL and server related admin. The position I went for was a frontend technology I had never used before called ReactJS. I told them during my interview that I had never used it, but I was very happy to try.
A long and windy road
Thankfully, I got the job and was able to start on January the second 2017. I had no mentors in the office, and my one mentor was a remote developer in London. When I struggled with code, I would constantly hit a wall, but I didn’t want to say anything. My mentor was busy elsewhere and couldn’t always respond. The two other developers sat beside me couldn’t help as they didn’t know anything either. Their background was in PHP and MySQL, the same technology I knew and loved.
This got picked up on fairly quickly with my boss, we had many meetings because he wanted to see me succeed. I said I would ask more questions and be more involved, which I did, but it still wasn’t quite enough.
All the while, at home I would be panicking that I’m going to lose my job. Having had so many web development jobs in the past, I’ve now picked up quite a sixth sense to these situations. I had a panic attack here and there too.
After my first 6 months, the developer who helped mentor me left to work elsewhere. I was alone on something I didn’t know enough of, to keep up. During my mentor leaving, we employed someone else who was remote and knew ReactJS. I mentored him as much as I could, but he soon overtook me as he was more knowledgeable than I. This was the 6-month mark where my boss took me aside and said: “If you really want to stay, we can move you to any department you like”.
We came to an agreement that it would be better to move me over to PHP and MySQL. At last, languages I was more comfortable in. You also have to bear in mind that our code base is huge, although I knew the language, getting around our project was a minefield.
Again, I would be getting my head stuck in the sand because I was worried that if I ask too many questions, I would be seen as weak. Of course, this was not the case and my boss would beg me to please ask questions. Everyone was there to help when the help is needed. It came to Christmas and although my confidence was a hundred times better, I still wasn’t 100%.
Christmas should be a time to relax
It was coming up to Christmas and I had time off work which doesn’t help with my anxiety. If there’s time off, then there’s time for my brain to worry and think I’m going to walk back in with no job. I was literally sick with worry throwing up everything I had, I was exhausted. By the time we reached new year though, my mind was a little more at ease.
A new year, a new start
I head back into the office with everyone around me smiling and happy. A few months pass and it’s going great until my appraisal gets booked in. My head goes into overdrive. “I’m going to lose my job”, my mind says to me. Before the date of my appraisal, I start looking for work elsewhere just in case.
My head is in overdrive and I’m sick with worry again. The day of my appraisal comes around and it was a very lack luster appraisal. My boss says to me that although I have improved, I need to improve a lot more over the next year as this is my final chance.
Fast-forward to now
A whole year after being employed and almost a year after my first appraisal, I’m feeling a lot more confident. I did have another little shift within the business, but it’s still with PHP and MySQL as my main languages. My new boss is also my mentor which is perfect and he seems very happy with me and my progress. My previous boss is still here, he just doesn’t oversee my work as much any more.
I have yet to have another appraisal, but I am confident that I have done well enough to continue on with the company. Overall, I feel like my experience has been worth it and I wouldn’t change it for anything else. The company I work for now is the most empathetic and helpful company I’ve been with.