Thomas McDevitt

growth, goals and goodbyes

I’ve written a few times in the past about my development as a character since joining MetaBroadcast.

Whilst many skills can be gained with reading/practise, some can only be obtained in the field and that is definitely true of leaving university and joining a company environment. I’m still a newbie in the professional world but here’s a bit about how I’ve come a heck of a long way since I was a graduate some years ago.

growth: getting sh*t done

I once worked at a company where it wasn’t uncommon for someone to raise a story that would never be seen by a human again. An unkempt backlog earned the nickname ‘the black hole’ and became a bit of a meme amongst the developers. A team leader would occasionally review and tidy the stories but they’d still often be sitting there for a number of years.

It’s different at MetaBroadcast. The processes fight code rot, infinite backlogs and putting things off for no reason. We often check support improvement tickets and the team leaders often review/revise the backlog to fit ever-moving goal posts. I’ve had my share of improvement tickets and, even when not critical, I get leant on to do them anyway. To this day, I’m hardly one to boast about never procrastinating, but I’m certainly more conscious of things that get put off.

It’s absolutely correct that, where realistic, we should just knock things off quickly rather than dodging them each time they get raised. Of course it’s tempting to avoid doing something when you don’t know how. But you know what? Just learn it now and you’ll never have that problem again.

goals: do you care enough to try?

On my second day as a cat at the towers, I went for coffee with Chris and Tom and noticed that the place I’d sat two months prior for the first phase of my recruitment had shut down. Upon being told that the turnover of coffee shops in the area was quite high, they began joking about a particular shop that had closed quicker than usual because of its owner’s work ethic. While it was all lighthearted joshing, I still remember something Chris said vividly (not word-for-word but it was to this effect):

…and the guy didn’t even open his place some of the time. *laughs* I mean, do you want a few more hour’s sleep or do you want to run a business?

The comment, whilst whimsical, resonated with me for a reason: I’ve never actually heard it being put that way before. For the longest time it hadn’t actually occurred to me that if I forewent the 90 minutes each morning I spent arguing with my alarm clock, I might get more out of the morning. Stop skipping breakfast, do some exercise, get into work earlier. Better yet, rather than getting home each evening and parking myself in front of the TV, how about spending some time learning, exercising or just bone up on my knowledge of history or politics (even if just so I can join the debates between Luke and Emils)?

Deliberating between spending an evening playing video games or learning Spanish might not even have occurred to me a few years ago but I’m pleased that as time goes on, it’s become more natural that I’ll spend my free time playing the piano rather than the Playstation. The time to endeavour is not ‘later’. We shouldn’t be thinking about self-improvement in a few years, next week or even in an hour or so. The time to succeed is NOW.

Also on my list: become a vegetarian.

goodbyes: onward and upward

Alas, 580 days after beginning work on my very first Voila project, the time has come for me to take my leave. It’s not going to be easy saying goodbye, but all good things must come to an end eventually. And working here has been very good.

In fact, working here has been awesome and I’ll be lucky if my next position is half as great as it’s been here. As for what comes next…well, I’m not really sure just yet. I’ve got a strong idea of where I want to go — but, as elaborate as my plans might be right now, one never knows exactly how it will turn out in years to come. All I can say is that if I can keep growing as much every year as I have in the last 12 months, I’ll believe I’ve done extremely well.

So, where onto now? Only time will tell. 🙂

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