I got a job as a front end developer in November 2021. But most of those first two months were onboarding, learning and doing the odd bit. January 2022 was when I had my first project. So this has really been my first whole year as a front end developer.
A couple of years ago when I had a job that was boring and easy, yet stressful, I saw something on the internet that said a measure of how much you liked your job was if you had the option of not doing it and getting paid the same, would you still do it. My answer then was "Are you mad?" Of course I wouldn't do my job if I didn't have to and couldn't imagine why anyone would possibly say otherwise.
Now I'm a front end developer my answer is... well, the same. There are so many other things I could do if I didn't have to work. But the difference is that one of those things would be the same things I do in my job - I'd just get to choose what to do and when to do it. And it wouldn't involve any meetings.
My first project
The first project I did, back in January was a re-branding. It was mostly about changing colours. Which you'd think was easy, but I took one look at the SCSS and went WTF? It was written a long time ago and the answer to the question "Where do I find this?" is "Good luck with that". Once I got into it it was fine, it was just daunting to start with.
It ended up being one of the projects I also worked on in the week before Christmas. I took one look at it, thought "I remember this". And still can't find anything. But it was definitely far easier to work on after a year's experience.
My first big project
After that, we had a client that was upgrading their CMS and a whole new website to go with it. In my old job we had projects that lasted somewhere between one day and two months. Although those were the outliers - it was usually between a few days and a couple of weeks. And you'd never have one project on at a time - around six was the sweet spot.
Whereas this was one project that lasted for months (and it was the only thing I worked on). It was really strange at first to be working on the same thing for so long. But also useful in some ways, because I'd got to know it and I didn't have to write particularly detailed notes because I was working on it every day.
When I need to do something I know I've done elsewhere, this is generally the project I refer to. And although I was slow and had to look a lot of things up, it's not done badly, so isn't a bad one to copy from.
I only realised recently that in my last job I was beyond stressed and into burn out territory. I tried so many things to fix it and couldn't. In this job, the most amount of time I've been stressed is a week. While I was in it I thought nothing of it, because only a year before I'd been used to being stressed for weeks at a time.
Except it seems like my body got used to not being stressed. Part of the reason I was stressed was because I had some annual leave and therefore a much harder deadline than usual. Part of the reason I didn't worry about how stressed I was was because I knew I could relax during that week.
Except that I spent much of my annual leave recovering from the stress, which had sapped my energy...
I am a bit of a perfectionist. The reason I was stressed, as I talked about above, was due to a hard deadline. But I didn't actually have to get everything done by the deadline. There was a lot to do and whatever I didn't get done was effectively someone's problem to either find some time to squeeze it in or decide it didn't matter. It was me putting pressure on myself to get it all done (ie be perfect) that made me stressed.
I am better at deciding a piece of work is good enough. When you've had someone constantly emailing/messaging/phoning/at your desk asking when something is done as if the world will end if it isn't (it won't), you get good at deciding something is good enough.
Obviously I still have to learn that I can be good enough...
After I'd been a junior front end developer for a year, I got promoted to mid-level. Although realistically the only difference is that I get paid more.
You'd think therefore that other people deciding I'm good enough to be mid-level means that I don't have to be perfect and what I'm already doing is good enough. Yeah, good luck with that...