I code for a living. That’s what I do. I’ve been coding and designing websites as a freelancer for about ten years. During this time, I learned almost every day. This is nothing special, it’s just the way our job is. The Red Queen explained clearly to Alice: “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
It seems like I ran faster than I thought, because something changed around me. Or, to be more precise, nothing changed but me. I was improving, my customers were not. More and more often I had the sensation that I was over-skilled. In marketing terms, I needed to reposition myself. So, I tried joining other freelancers to get bigger projects, promoting my services, and speaking at conferences. I got a BFA in graphic design, and this completely reprogrammed my brain. I was not only doing my job better, I was selling and showing it better.
And I repositioned — I got myself different kinds of projects. I somehow became “the fireman”. A project is about to derail because, well, they derailed it, and customers needed me, the fireman, to save the project. The fireman arrives, the day is saved, back to normal.
Two years like that. Fire after fire.
So, despite all this effort, I felt like I was still at the wrong place. Underpowered. Underused.
Only now I was not a twenty-something guy anymore. I was a thirty-something guy with a child. The clock was ticking and I was not moving. What do you do when you feel you live in a place that doesn’t let you grow?
In the past, if you wanted to play big, you had to pack and move to a big city, leaving friends and family behind. But such a decision deeply affects the people that are part of your life. In my case, relocating was a problem for my family, and not relocating was a problem for me. Two choices. Both bad.
Can you shine while being in the wrong place?
In our business, any place can become the right place.
I found X-Team and applied. X-Team gave me the opportunity to play in the major leagues while not having to relocate to do so. Good for my family, good for me. Legally, I’m still a freelancer, but my situation is completely different now. It’s better.
It can be better for you too.
Stop worrying about customers and invoices. Stop worrying about unrealistic expectations and unprofessional project managers. Stop worrying about client juggling, the feast-or-famine cycle, and taking bad projects because you don’t know how the next month is going to be. Just do what you do best. Play. Play hard. Play big on a big team for big projects.
That’s not to say all is cotton candy. A team spread around the world means you’re always in the wrong time zone for something. Trying to fit a normal schedule into an all-around-the-world working team is a big challenge. You’ll have to learn that being good at work includes letting yourself rest at the right time. You’ll probably join a highly structured development environment you’ll have to fit in no matter your previous habits.
All this is for the best.
Because this is not about money, although X-Team pays well. This is about respect. This is about working with people that know, and care about, the difference between a good job and a bad one. At the core, it’s about knowing you’re giving use to the best of your skills, skills that cost you countless hours, effort, and a couple of headaches.
This is about getting a better self from you at work.
This is what X-Team promised to me. So far, three months later, they have delivered on that promise.