Let's Talk Again - Christian Stein
Thanks to noise canceling it is now not only cool at my workplace, but also dead quiet. As a developer it is important to be able to work undisturbed "in the tunnel", so good music on the headphones helps a lot.
How long have you been working for alugha?
Since November 2014, so almost five years now. First during my masters degree and afterwards I had become the first official employee! My position didn't change since then: I'm typing letters into my computer which magically create a code - and sometimes I don't really understand how. The past years I had changed my workspace a few times and worked in rooms with air-conditioning, XBox, frisbee driving range, an awesome sound system, the best view on the Wasserturm and my favorite workspace neighbors.
What's the first thing you do in the office?
I don't drink coffee - this fact alone is quite a sensation. Whilst everyone else runs to the coffee machine every morning, I go round and check out what my favorite colleagues are up to that day. Depending on the news I can be happy with them or be the shoulder to cry on. Win-win for everyone. In the meantime, my computer is ready for work (SSD for the win) and I can get going.
What part of your job do you enjoy most?
Normally, I would write: seeing my colleagues. But this wouldn't do justice, therefore, I have to say: seeing my friends. After such a long time I've grown fond of most of my colleagues and somehow you're living a part of their lives. There's noting more I could wish for at my workplace. I feel really welcome here. Finally, I found a workplace with air-conditioning and I will defend it until the bitter end. I love my work, especially, when I'm able to fix a bug right before my lunch-break and I can treat myself for that. However, it also can be quite annoying sometimes. Staring on your screen, not finding the problem. This is where our table soccer matches come in very handy. They're not only a lot of fun, but can help to clear your mind and afterwards you won't have any trouble finding that little mistake in your code.
Which project / task / experience did you enjoy most in the last year?
In fact, our current project "payment" is a good example. Here, too, not everything went smoothly, but that's part of the growing process. But we improved in discussing the workflow BEFORE starting, THEN implement it and make corrections and adjustments afterwards. To see that we are getting better in this, is very nice.
Especially in the last year I am most proud that I managed to get a young, motivated, prospective developer enthusiastic about studying computer science at my university and working at alugha at the same time. But my all-time favorite will probably always be the Web Summit in Lisbon, where I got to know a great city, surfed with many like-minded techies and my dear colleague Helena and was able to present our product to thousands of people.
What has made you laugh today?
Today? I laugh every day. A lot. Another reason why I feel so comfortable here. Most of the time it has to do with my "brother from another mother" Steffen. Our chat is comedy gold. And fortunately private.
No workplace is perfect. What would you like to change at alugha?
Thanks to noise canceling it is now not only cool at my workplace, but also dead quiet. As a developer it is important to be able to work undisturbed "in the tunnel", so good music on the headphones helps a lot. Unfortunately they can't block everything - right, boss? But what I would most like to improve is communication and agreement. Actually, it's the rule that things aren't thought through in the beginning and in the end we developers are allowed to start from scratch because someone in charge has forgotten something or hasn't communicated thoroughly enough. Therefore, I would like to be involved earlier in the planning process to have a look at things from a different angle. However, we are on the right track, as I already said with "payment", we are grooving in, I really like that. If I get a ball bath at some point, I'll be the happiest employee.
Have you discovered a new side to yourself?
Every day I have the feeling that I would like to take on more responsibility and make decisions. But this is not really "new". I always knew that I had good ideas and that I was good at finding compromises. But alugha regularly reminds me of that. Oh yes, and I seem to be quite good at table soccer.
To what extent did the international team influence you?
I believe that nowhere else do you learn as much as when you travel. You can learn an incredible amount from other people and cultures and either do it better or appreciate how well you have it at home. The fact that these many different people work together "at home" makes the whole thing very comfortable. Apart from the language, one also gets to know different views and traditions, very interesting. The most interesting thing is that the language and cultural barrier is not an obstacle, but an advantage. The cooperation benefits enormously from the fact that everyone can contribute his or her experience and you prefer working together with a colorful bunch of people. And I can say "thank you" in many languages, so thank you, gracias, merci, shokran, spasibo, dank u wel and obrigado, that I could learn so much from you!
What challenge did you have to face?
The biggest challenge sometimes is to simply accept things instead of questioning them. That's not easy, but often saves unnecessary discussions where the other person doesn't understand what it's about anyway.
What's your personal big dream?
I had the best time of my life during my semester abroad in New Jersey and dream of living and working there again for a longer period of time. If not, I would settle for another place (Madeira?). The main thing is to get out of Germany for a longer time and gain even more experience. But in the long run I think I will be drawn back to my family, my friends and the German bread.
If I can look back on a successful career and an established product with alugha until then, that would of course be the best way.
What's your advice to a new alughan?
Don't pretend to be different (we notice that anyway), don't go to the basement to laugh, but to the development office and fill up the fridge if you've taken something out of it!