You become what you do.
Contributing to the growth of an early stage, small, focused business will allow — no, force — me to learn quickly. I’ll have to focus relentlessly on spending every minute on building and shipping value, with no one else to blame for lacking outcomes.
This is my first swing back on the engineer/manager pendulum. The last year and a half I learned 1 how to lead a team. Towards the end I felt like I grew somewhat complacent with structures around me, a clear sign that it was time for me to get my own hands dirty again!
Experience as team lead have certainly made me a better colleague in many situations. And if/as the efforts at Bird Eats Bug will be rewarded with success, the need to lead a team will arise again, allowing me to swing back may I chose to.
While I have not yet found my definitive “endgame”2, the idea of my “ideal professional future” at the moment is to one day run my own product, as a bootstrapped, profitable <5(wo)man shop.
1 In no particular order and far from complete: the ins and outs of 1:1s, feedback (on performance), motivating 5-9 team members, delegating tasks, negotiating, giving and keeping delivery promises, how to play politics. ↩
2 I'm not sure that the idea of an end goal makes sense for a time span of 45 years of work, during which life's circumstances change considerably. ↩