One year ago I was kicked out of my team. Dropped by a group of people whom I hugely admired and looked up to. Removed from my first ever project as a software developer. Thinking about this day and the shock, pain and embarassment I felt and the hole I briefly fell into afterwards still brings me to tears. I haven’t fully understood what eventually brought them to this abrupt decision and I don’t think I need to.
I was a team mate from hell. I fell so deeply into a post-traumatic depression after my sister’s death that I couldn’t function properly at work anymore. But the only thing that kept me from going completely mad was working. So I did the selfish thing and continued to show up, misunderstand everything and everyone and either throw a tantrum or burst into tears.
I knew I couldn’t do this much longer, yet I couldn’t get myself to give up. Give up my team mates (especially the one that I had been working with for so long and that had become some kind of anchor for me), the code I had put so much work into understanding and that I had just begin to comprehend a little. And give up on me, on making it work, getting better on my own, being accepted by those around me that I so deperately wanted to please.
One year later I can look back and see how much this has helped me. How good this fresh start was for me. How incredibly easy it was to get out of my depression afterwards. How cool it is to feel welcome and part of a team.
I’m still overly sensitive to criticism. I still get way too invested in minor things. But I can deal with it. I’m still the little girl amongst a bunch of big guys here and I still underestimate myself constantly. But I know now that I’m not a complete idiot and that my thoughts and concerns are valid.
I still get a bit nervous when I have to interact with my old team as a group. I’m still hurt by the way they treated me. But I can comfortly talk to them individually now. And I really like doing that. They’re great guys. I think we have all learned a lot from this and from the year that has followed.
One year from now I want to still be in this awesome team that has took me in despite having witnessed some of what had happened before. Who trusted me when I said that I know I can do better with a fresh start. Who have been really nice and kind when I had some brief moments of overwhelm. And who made me feel like what I thought mattered, from the beginning.
I want to have grown even more, as a person, a team mate and a software developer. There are some things I want to learn more about. There are some topics coming up that will help me achieve some of my goals. The next year is looking good.
And I want to be able to look back at this year and know that I have found the right focus. That I could trust my instincts and have used my voice for good.