I thought the thing I wanted more than anything else was to work alone. By myself. With myself. For myself.

Quit my job. Strike out on my own.

Sure, no job actually exists in a vacuum. The basis of commerce is one entity paying another, which sets up a power structure. So I assumed I would be working for my customers. That continues to be a very rewarding part of Contextual Electronics (CE). Hearing about the problems they’re having and working to solve those problems tickles my teaching nerve and my engineering nerve (the one the rewards me when I solve problems).

But I thought I’d be on my own and that’s what I really wanted. I was kind of wrong.

Shortly after leaving my last job to work on CE, I joined Supplyframe part time. We have been doing exciting things like the Hackaday Prize (now in its third year) and building tools I’ve always wanted for myself as an engineer. That has become a bigger part of my life and I really like where the company is right now and where it’s going. Today marks the two year anniversary of that decision. Also along the way, the direction of CE has also taken a turn towards embedded, so I brought on two part time instructors, who also act as advisors for both the content and the site.

Co-workers challenge me.  They keep tabs on me. They inspire new ideas during our discussions. They prevent me from getting lonely, even working remotely in a basement in Cleveland (the “Co” in “Co-workers” meaning working on the same stuff, not necessarily in the same location).

In both of my jobs, I now work with people on a daily basis. Engineers aren’t supposed to like that. I’m supposed to be a lone wolf. I’m either a bad engineer or a true pack animal, because I enjoy having co-workers again.

Thanks to Lex Photographic for the picture of the Lone Wolf

On Having Co-workers

2 thoughts on “On Having Co-workers

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  • March 23, 2016 at 11:38 am
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    I can totally relate, my company went through a slump recently and only a few of us lingered on, it was almost like working alone and it was both rough and freeing – I could do nearly anything I wanted without interruption. But on the flip side, I think about every leap in my engineering skills, it came from a coworker challenging my thinking and showing me something new.
    Wolves are a great analogy, as each is an impressive animal that can go it alone, but when they group together the can take down even big, faster prey – ok so maybe we don’t want to think about our customers/clients as prey. 🙂

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