While I had hoped to continue my entry about my summer vacation, it seems like a month has already passed without a second update. Truth be told, blogging is probably not my forte. What made me turn my computer back on again to start writing was an email: an email to an old colleague which reminded me of how different the world seems today.
The company I used to work at was a small one. The ten of us (metaphorically) shoveled the coal that kept the lights on. It’s quite difficult to draw a fair comparison between the scale of company I’m at now and the company I used to work for. However, it’s equally as difficult to draw a fair comparison for how much I’ve learned. With a small team, every task becomes your task. It can’t be helped, there’s just too much work and too few people. I was lucky enough to not have to crawl through the mud to tackle the most difficult of problems, but I still did my fair share of shoveling. I learned as much as I could learn in the span of 8 months. While I did slack off more than I should have, the times were fun, the work was challenging, and we had great beer and great coffee. Life was good.
I’ll admit, while my time here has also been educational, it hasn’t been exactly to the same extent. The compromise that a large company faces is that modularization must happen in order to maintain efficiency. Processes have to be put into place to ensure that everything works the way God intended. However, as an intern with only so much time to take advantage of this opportunity, there’s an appetite that has to be satisfied. Being an intern really sandboxes you. You really can’t do that much, and all these dead-ends end up sucking up motivation. As a result, I spend a lot more time reading than actually working. It’s somewhat due to not particularly understanding what exactly I’ve been hired to do. There are some tasks that I’ve enjoyed – notably application-side programming – but most of my other work is too dull or unclear for me to actually remain engaged. Luckily, I can use my heavy-handed approaches as I always have to work on what I want to work on.
I’ve thought a lot about what it would be like to start a company. There are a few entrepreneurial-type people that I’ve met in my life, and I’ve always wondered what it is that they see that would allow them to take such a risky path. Starting a company can be reckless, stressful, and a complete waste of time and money. Still, there’s a certain charm in being able to say that you work for yourself. You can evaluate the effort and reward trade-off with full granularity. You can invest yourself fully in something to the limits of your passion and ambition. After working here, I’m more convinced that I want to go off the beaten path and make something novel and useful, if only for myself. There are a lot of things that only technology can do. Why not take advantage of all its power and see how far I’ll go?