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Hello again! It’s incredible to reconnect with you after sharing my first career-shifting story a year and a half ago. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out here: https://likhait.com/a_career_shifting_story_html/ I’m excited to share the latest chapter in my journey into the tech industry so, let’s get into it!
This time, we’ll explore life at Likha and freee, celebrating milestones, professional growth, and the evolving landscape of my role as a Software Engineer. This sequel is a testament to the dynamic nature of a tech career—ever-changing, full of challenges, and brimming with possibilities.
Life at Likha and freee
Likha and freee is a crucible where every line of code transforms into meaningful projects. It’s a space where creativity thrives, innovation is paramount, and challenges become growth opportunities. Each working day offers a mosaic of experiences shaped by a work culture that values diligence, collaboration, and unwavering attention to detail.
The work culture exudes a chill vibe. The atmosphere is both relaxed and focused, fostering an environment that encourages teamwork. Here, everyone’s opinion is not just heard; it’s valued. Colleagues go beyond being just coworkers; they are mentors, always approachable and ready to lend a helping hand whenever challenges arise.
The ethos of Likha and freee aligns with a mission to empower small businesses to take center stage. One of the guiding principles we live by at freee is encapsulated in the term MAJIKACHI, representing our commitment to delivering true customer value.
My favorite MAJIKACHI guideline within this framework is “Output -> Think.” This philosophy embodies the spirit of prioritizing the creation of output first, followed by thoughtful reflection and improvement. It’s a proactive approach that embraces the concept of failing fast and learning fast, ensuring that innovation remains at the forefront of all our endeavors.
Since joining Likha and freee, my professional toolkit has substantially improved.
I saw some improvement in my communication and document writing skills. I also maximized using translation tools to interact more and exchange ideas with Japanese colleagues. A substantial dive into both frontend and backend development has deepened my understanding and positioned me to contribute comprehensively to our projects.
As my role has evolved, so too have the complexities of the tasks I handle. Moving beyond straightforward assignments, I now confidently tackle more intricate responsibilities. This growth extends beyond personal achievement; it’s about cultivating a culture of shared learning. Guiding fellow engineers through their tasks has also become integral to my routine.
Balancing Work and Personal Life
Navigating the delicate dance between work and personal life in the tech industry requires a mindful approach. Here’s a glimpse into how I’ve managed this equilibrium:
I adhere to a strict clock-in and clock-out routine, respecting both my work hours and personal commitments. Occasionally, I communicate with my team if I anticipate starting my day a bit later or earlier due to errands. Once I clock out, I hit the snooze button on work notifications to draw a clear boundary between work and leisure.
Maintaining physical well-being is a priority. Regular gym sessions provide a refreshing break and help keep my mind and body in sync. Additionally, I’ve found camaraderie and stress relief by joining freee’s Basketball Club games every week—a chance to connect not only with fellow freeers but also with others beyond the confines of the office.
Now, let’s address some notable challenges at work that I have faced so far and the strategies I employed:
Challenge 1: Overworking and Potential Burnout
My eagerness to complete numerous tasks in the past led to overworking, pushing me dangerously close to burnout. The solution? As I mentioned earlier, strict adherence to clocking in and out ensures that once office hours conclude, I’m entirely off-duty. Recognizing the flood of ideas that often come at odd hours, I’ve learned to jot them down before diving into work to ensure continuity. Taking breaks or stretching exercises during prolonged work hours has become a crucial ritual for mental recharge.
Challenge 2: Balancing Complex Tasks in a New Project
Several months ago, I joined a new team tasked with initiating a project from scratch. This endeavor posed the challenge of distributing tasks effectively. Initially, I hesitated to shoulder more challenging responsibilities, fearing a slower turnaround than experienced team members. The solution came from my engineering manager’s wisdom—he encouraged me to view these challenges as personal and team growth investments. Gladly, he was right, and the experience has proven invaluable. As I tackle more complex tasks now, I am gaining the context and domain knowledge necessary for future assignments, enabling me to work on them quickly and more effectively.
Achievements and Celebrations
One significant milestone was my leap from a junior to a mid-level engineer. This recognition is not just a change in title but an acknowledgment of the effort I put into my work.
A thrilling chapter unfolded when I was chosen as an intra-company transferee, which meant Likha was sending me to freee’s office in Japan for a year. For the past six months, the vibrant hum of freee’s Osaki office in Tokyo has become my professional home, infusing my journey with a blend of cultural richness and professional growth.
My celebration extends beyond individual achievements to the collective spirit of innovation fostered within freee. Our annual DevCamp, a two-day hackathon event, invites freeers to channel their inner creativity into projects that have been simmering in the backburner.
This year’s DevCamp was a special rendezvous at Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture, a backdrop that added a touch of magic to the event. Collaborating with two of my talented team members, our project is the creation of a seeder script for generating test data. Our project not only conquered a technical challenge but transformed the landscape of our work, reducing the time to create extensive test data from literal days to mere seconds. The experience of bringing our DevCamp project to fruition has been invaluable.
It’s only been a little over two years since my journey in the tech industry started and it’s just right to say that I still have a long way to go.
Regarding technical skills, my primary aim is to continually expand my understanding of the tech stacks and tools integral to our daily work. This includes a dedicated effort to deepen my understanding of freee’s services and the value they bring to our users so that I can work on them more effectively. We are not just engineering software, we are engineering products.
Beyond the lines of code and product specifications, my aspirations extend to soft skills. As always, communication is the cornerstone of effective collaboration and a skill I’m always eager to polish. Enhancing my ability to package ideas clearly and concisely is not just a professional goal but also a personal one. Simultaneously, honing my documentation skills is on the horizon—a skill set that elevates the quality of being a software engineer.
As I conclude this chapter of my career-shifting journey, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each of you who has been part of this narrative (I believe you all know who you are). Also, a special thank you to Likha and freee for providing me with this incredible opportunity to work and travel abroad. Before the idea was presented to me, I didn’t expect to have the chance to live overseas this soon.
As I embark on the next phase of my career, I carry the lessons I’ve learned so far with me, eagerly anticipating the challenges and triumphs ahead. Here’s to new horizons, fresh opportunities, and the exciting adventures yet to come. I look forward to sharing more career stories with you. Thank you, and I’ll see you in the next one!