re: I am a middle aged junior developer, Ask Me Anything! VIEW POST

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What could a team welcoming a middle-aged junior developer do to help you with a smooth transition?

Thinking of my start as a young junior developer and the pressure to stay late despite having a family and responsibilities at home.. and wondering what are the challenges of someone with a more established life to go through that same process. Would love to be apart of the solution some day :) Thanks!

 

Great question!

I've been very fortunate with the company that took me in since the two owners both have young kids as well and one of their core values is "family first". I would say that is one of the best things a company can do, bring up the conversation of family and work-life balance.

Fortunately, the concept of work-life balance is becoming more and more standard within tech. All studies show that both company, employees and customers gain from not going the constant overtime route. I think that companies need to start viewing overtime as a loan that has to be paid back with interest, and I don't mean with money alone. Whenever you need people to work overtime to meet a deadline you will have to pay that back with free time or other ways of looking after the employees well being. If you don't do that you'll end up with a huge amount of debt with a constantly growing interest rate.

That was a bit of a rant that was only partly on topic, but I believe it to be an important point nevertheless.

If you ever get into a position where you can make big decisions in a larger company I would suggest looking at in house daycare, and perhaps even animal care if the company is big enough or have enough animal owners. That can be more important than money for those with family.

When work allows and the person can handle it, it's also a good idea to allow remote work and find a way to support that as much as possible. A lot of people are more productive when they work from home, while some are can't be productive at all.

An onboarding process that is well thought through. A document with the wifi password and a five years old guide on how to access the intranet is not enough. A well-structured set of guides and guidelines, a history of the company, the core values of the company, a brief description of current projects and/or customers. You can put a lot of information in an onboarding document and if it's done well and kept up to date it's an invaluable source for a new employee. And if you want to do it right, don't rely on that document at all. Optimally it's just something like a cheat sheet and not something you are required to read through to understand how things work. If you really want things to go well with a new employee nothing beats human interaction, guidance, and mentorship. This is especially true with someone new to the industry and perhaps even more so with someone that is a different age than the rest of the employees.

If we look at the added bonus of ADHD there are more things you can consider when it comes to structure, communication, workplace, and work processes. That's another big topic that I could go on about, and if it is of interest I could make an article especially about that.

I hope that you got something of value from this answer. Thanks for asking a valuable question.

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