Just over five years ago I got a message from my then employer to say I was going to be made redundant after 21 years working for them. After the 3 month notice period the final day came. Meanwhile, I found something new that looked terrifying but interesting. In the end it was less terrifying and way more interesting than I imagined it would be. It was fun too.
But… (there’s always a but isn’t there?)
In the four and change years I’ve been there the company got bought out, and then the result of that got bought up. As I’ve mentioned before I’m generally not a “big company” kind of person; in all my years I’ve found that I’m happier working in a smaller place. After a couple of buyouts my employer had gone from being 10s of people in size to 100s of people in size (and technically 10s of 1,000s of people in size depending on how you look at it).
This change in ownership and size meant the culture became… well, let’s just say not as friendly as you tend to enjoy when it’s a smaller group of folk. On top of that I was starting to notice that my efforts were making less of an impact as things got bigger, and I started to feel like my contributions weren’t really relevant any more. There were some problematic things happening too: undermining of efforts, removal of responsibilities without consultation or communication, that sort of thing. Plus worse. There’s little point in going into the detail, but it’s fair to say that work wasn’t as fun as it used to be.
That felt like a good time to start to look around. If work makes you feel unhappy and you can look around… look around.
Thing is, I wasn’t sure what to look for. I was in the comfortable position of, unlike last time, not needing to find something, so I could take my time at least. Over the course of the last year I’ve spoken to many different companies and organisations, some big (yes, I know, I said I don’t like big places – sometimes what’s on offer deserves a fair hearing), some small, but none of them quite said “this feels like me”. In some cases the whole thing didn’t have the right vibe, in others the industry either didn’t interest me, or felt uncomfortable given my personal values. In one particular case a place looked interesting until I checked the CTO’s socials and OMG NO NO NO AVOID AVOID (that was a fun one).
I can’t remember how long I’ve been following Will on Twitter; I likely stumbled on him as I got back into Python in 2018 and I also remember noting that he was a Python hacker just up the road from me. We’d vaguely chatted on Twitter, briefly, in that “Twitter acquaintance” way we all often do (I remember one brief exchange about fungus on The Meadows), and he’d seemed like a good sort. A small company run by a “good sort” kinda person felt like a damn good reason.
The second reason was Textual itself. I’d been watching Will develop it, in open, with great interest. I had (and still have) a plan to write a brand new CHUI-based (okay fine TUI-based as the kids like to say these days!) Norton Guide reader, all in Python, and Textual looked like the perfect framework to do the UI in. The chance to be involved with it sounded awesome.
Now, I said two reasons, but there’s also a third I guess: Will’s pitch for applying to Textualize felt so damn accessible! I’m on the older end of the age range of this industry; for much of my working life as a developer I’ve worked in isolation from other developers; while I first touched Python in the 90s, I’ve only been using it in anger since 2018 and still feel like I’ve got a lot to learn. Despite all these things, and more, saying “aye Dave this is beyond you” I felt comfortable dropping Will a line.
Which resulted in a chat.
Which resulted in some code tinkering and chatting.
Which resulted in…
So, yeah, as of 2022-10-10 I’m on yet another new adventure. Time for me to really work on my Python coding as I work with Will and the rest of the team as part of Textualize.
Or, as I put it on Twitter a few days ago: I’m going to be a Python impostor syndrome speedrunner!