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So you thought ROWE would be easy?

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Gregg Rothmeier

I’m just a week into my first real job and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Many people fresh out of graduate school still have to “pay their dues” at a company that values being in your cube by 8:00 am even if you were up until 1 last night getting another report finished. While graduate school is essentially a ROWE, there are still expectations to be in a chair from 9:00 – 5:30 (at least in my lab there were). While having the freedom to work when you want and how you want is amazing, it doesn’t come without growing pains. After a couple of years of getting judged based on time in the lab, it’s hard to remember that it’s what I get done that matters and not when I do it. Read through to see how I managed to commit what would be a serious faux pas in any workplace other than a ROWE: I took a day off in my first week.

Only in a results environment is it ok for a new employee to go to a wedding in their first week. While I didn’t actually take the day off since I was still responsible for my tasks, it’s refreshing to be able to work on a plane, hotel, airport or anywhere else I can get work done. It tells me that my employer hired me because they trust me to do my job. In a traditional workplace, I may have not been able to get a day off for 6 weeks, but in a ROWE where time doesn’t matter it was business as usual.

But enough about ROWE. This first week has been occupied mostly with pairings, which is a perfect method for introducing the new-guy to all of the projects and techniques used by others in the office. I’ve learned about the tools that other developers use some software we recommend and was even able to get my hands a little dirty adding a feature to one of our non-profit projects (Bike Spot). In between pairings I’ve been hacking on our chatbot “Groovebot” (really, it’s Hubot) so it can give us a radar image to help us better time our bike commutes home and it can even tell you a little about that beer you just heard about.

Everyone here has been amazingly helpful to me and have made my first job as a software developer a dream. This is a fantastic group of smart people and I look forward to all of the projects I get to work on with them in the future.

Image from Flickr user windy_

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Gregg Rothmeier

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