Main illustration: Meredith Schomburg
In some of my previous workplaces, it was quite common among engineers to hear that the company was growing too fast. You may be familiar with such opinions where you work.
You might hear these things around the office:
“All the leaders talk about is growth.”
“It is not the same company as it was before.”
“We’re becoming the massive corporation that nobody wants to be.”
While those are all valid opinions, there is a different and better way to think about growth as an engineer.
Are you, as an engineer, a loser in this game?
The truth is that growth changes companies, and everyone should accept that. One day you will come to the office and find out that there are more people you don’t know than people you do. Processes that were previously excellent, maybe even designed by you, have become unbearable.
Your ideas – which you used to come up with in the morning, discuss in the afternoon and implement in the evening – are discussed for days or weeks and sometimes are eventually just killed due to other priorities. And most of all, there are many more things to be done than people available.
Out of the comfort zone
When you think about it like this, growth sounds like a bad thing. Like a cold shower that puts you out of the comfort zone and where the only winners are the co-founders with their huge stakes in the company. Are you, as an engineer, a loser in this game?
But growth also means that a lot of opportunities will appear. There will be hard scaling problems to solve. There will be a place for dedicated security teams with big requirements about your users’ data. There will be more money to invest in better equipment and high-end tools.
It is always easier to learn from more experienced people.
Most of your original processes will break down, and there will be opportunities for creative people to redesign them. There will be more experienced executives that will guide you through tough business problems as you scale.
Your skills will become much more valuable as you keep pace with the company. You will be able to build your career without waiting for the current person in your dream position to leave. Most of all, it is always easier to learn from more experienced people when there is plenty of them to choose from – and that’s much easier in a company that’s growing fast.
Growing is a journey out of your comfort zone. That’s true. But the growth of the company is also your growth.