I got my first promotion
Twelve years after I started in tech, I received a promotion to Engineering Manager. This is my very first actual promotion.
By actual I mean, I didn’t have to (threaten to) leave, to gain the recognition and fair compensation for my contributions and growth within my company. To me, this is huge. It not only signifies that someone recognised me for my work and drive, but also that there is space for my personality and my ideas. It’s a scarce and exquisite feeling: the feeling that I belong, that I am permitted to be who I am and encouraged to become a better version of myself.
When I started in Software Engineering, I felt I was reasonably competent at it, but not overly invested. It was when I gave my first lightning talk (mere five years ago) that I felt real joy being and connecting with other engineers. I thought: Wow, I could see myself doing this forever, this is who I truly am. And since then, I’ve been able to discover more and more things that I love about tech and the tech community.
But I was lucky. Sure, I worked hard to fulfil my ambitions, but I also had the fortune to encounter many people who supported me when they didn’t have to. I am genuinely pleased that I now get to pay it forward as a way to thank everyone who helped me reach this point. I get to help other people to find this sense of joy and belonging for themselves. Not only is it a great privilege but also, to some degree, a heavy burden. There are a million ways I could screw this up, and I do not like failing at things. To be quite honest: I am terrified. I have been given a lot of power over other people’s careers and I do not take that reponsibility lightly.
But then again, I couldn’t think of anything more gratifying than helping someone better themselves.