In every person’s career, there are times when you need to move on. And for me, it is now. I am leaving Fragaria at the end of March. Read on to learn the whats and whys and maybe my article will encourage you to move on as well and become my replacement in Fragaria.
I’ll start with the negatives - or things that can improve - and end on a positive note. All of these are of course largely a matter of personal preference, so you might love what I don’t like and vice versa.
I have been with Fragaria for more than four years and that’s quite a long time. Since Fragaria has a relatively small headcount (around 20 people), you will necessarily work with the same people all the time. And if you don’t click with them, there is just no way around that. And yes - I know this works both ways, I’m not the easiest person to work with.
Since the company is full of strong personalities with solid engineering opinions backed by a lot of experience, it is sometimes hard to reach an agreement. When the heads cool down though, everybody can enjoy a laugh together and move on.
So no hard feelings and I’m sure I will occasionally pop up for the Monday beer night.
Fragaria is mostly doing customer projects. You are able to touch a lot of technologies, explore new domains and even travel abroad from time to time. For me, the customer projects have been getting harder and harder, because the older I get, the more I want to work on something that I can be proud of, that I can stand for, that is sort of mine. And I was often missing that feeling with the customer projects.
So we started to work on Karmen last year, our own, Fragaria-based project related to 3D printing. And all was fine in the beginning but it’s now taking a direction that I’m just not happy with. So it sadly starts to feel like a customer project for me.
I’d like to point out one other thing in this section - and again, it is something that other people might perceive differently. The will to grow could be bigger. And don’t get me wrong - things can change in Fragaria if something is askew. But the overall direction is basically the same as it was four years ago. And that doesn’t cut it for me anymore. It looks like I finally got some ambition into me in my thirties.
This just has to be said: The organization feels like a bunch of friends making some weird stuff with computers. Fragaria is definitely not a corporation. If you don’t like something, you can always talk about it and see if it can be improved. You don’t like the project anymore? No problem, it can be changed. You want to learn a technology? No problem, it can be probably applied to something we are already doing.
We also have a good experience with remote work - not everybody is a good fit for it, but it mostly works. So if you are not from Prague, that’s not an issue. At all. Just be ready for some off-beat jokes. And it works even if you are from Prague and are not feeling well, waiting for a package or taking care of your kids at home. Almost anything can be arranged. You just have to ask for it.
The company is a great fit for people who are just out of school. You can learn from experienced colleagues, you can get profficient in a language or a framework of your liking. You are able to explore, get comfortable and find out what you actually want to do.
And of course, the legendary annual retreats need to be mentioned here as well. The next one is in May, you should definitely not miss out this time.
I always wanted to explore different directions in my career. I was initially supposed to start working at Fragaria as a graduate, but for several reasons, I ended up in a bank. And I am very grateful for that experience. It taught me a lot. After a few years, Fragaria called for help on a project and I gladly accepted the opportunity. And just as expected, I have learned a lot again.
Now it’s just time for me to move on again. I am going to work for one of the Silicon Valley unicorns and I am really looking forward to it. It’s a totally different size of the company, totally different work culture, totally different environment.
At this point of my life, it’s an opportunity for me to grow.