Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Complacent Developer

I've grown complacent in my current position.
I like what I do. Despite being challenging and stressful at times, I find it satisfying. I've learned a lot about bad programming over the last year.
I'm being paid to do it, not the amount I would like, but enough to survive.
I like my team. I work with a nice bunch of people.

And as it must happen, my bubble is burst, as it was today.
One of my team members is leaving. The developer I've worked closest with, who started with me, and is the only other developer who knows the applications as well.

It was a bit of a shock, but not completely surprising.
I can only speculate his reasons for leaving: corporate culture is not a good fit or holding back creativity, wanting a domain change or just to work on another project, and of course money.
I can understand all of these reasons for leaving, except money.
Apparently at this time I feel having a great team and project to work on is more important, otherwise I would be looking elsewhere (or maybe this is just my complacency).

From an outside perspective, he seemed bored, or maybe his norm is regularly browsing the internet/news.
I wouldn't describe him as the best coder, considering mistakes and missing details at times, but he is great at pushing ahead (getting to 80/90% quickly). He's someone to commit code without running the unit tests and then needing to commit a fix after the build breaks. But he has great ideas, especially on technologies, and wasn't afraid to speak up or against. I'll miss this input. And he was easy to get along with, not abrasive, not annoying.

The last time I lost a team member like this, I left shortly after.
Because I knew that things were headed in a direction that didn't feel right, and I lost the only person I enjoyed working with.
But thankfully I am not in the same place.
For now, I still have other good developers and fulfilling work. If and when that changes, I'll reevaluate. Maybe he was right to leave. Time will tell.

I say it wasn't completely unexpected because I knew it had to happen at some point, especially since I felt fairly dependent on him.
With him looking at the path moving forward, I was able to focus on the details and sweep up the crumbs.
He was also able to handle at least half of the meetings/issues/questions, freeing me up at times.
Now I will be put to the test of standing alone as the developer with the most historic/overall knowledge of the applications (possibly the only go-to for info and questions).
And I'll need to dig in and learn any of the pieces I've been able to ignore so far.
Time to step up.