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Meaningful work matters

Cserei Zoltán
mens et manus
・5 min read

This post was originally published on [space/craft], the Moonka.space blog.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been collecting experiences and ideas regarding what makes work meaningful. It’s not an easy nut to crack, but there are a few solid hints out there if you listen carefully.

Moonka.space is built on the simple idea that a working relationship is just as much an opportunity for the employer as it is for the candidate. Once you integrate this concept into your thinking process, it changes your perspective.

Good recipes are simple

Talking to some of the smartest developers, it became apparent that the recipe for a good job is simple: we need exciting problems to solve regularly, nice people surrounding us and a decent compensation for our work.

However, the way a lot of job listings approach each of these aspects has become problematic, often driven by HR jargon. Let’s take a look at all three mentioned areas.

Let’s cut to the chase with technology. Contrary to what most job listings would make you believe, it’s not only cutting edge technologies that make a job interesting. Some people indeed applaud companies that have the curiosity and the resources to try out the latest tools and like to use libraries that the rest of the industry won’t hear about for a year. That can indeed be a cool proposition and makes people feel like they are pioneers. And they are!

Others, however appreciate stable, tried-and-true techniques. Heck, some even take pride in the fact that they’ve been around for long enough that they understand legacy systems that the rest of us can’t even start up.

Understanding the requirements and capabilities on both sides of the aisle and communicating them clearly helps in creating better opportunities. Taking a look at the decisions behind the technologies used, the daily tasks involving them and the way a company thinks about its future technical decisions clears up a lot of misunderstandings before they even occur. And let’s not even talk about the banalities like mixing up Java and JavaScript, everyone is tired of those stories.

Just like with technical decisions, there are also a lot of cultural decisions which can’t be sorted. Move fast and break things? Test everything thoroughly and assure the highest quality? A vibrant young team where people like to grab the occasional beer after work or a well-knit group where most people have children waiting for them at home? A company led by technical founders who might stumble with sales every now and then or a professional managerial culture where sales are guaranteed but convincing your boss why you need higher test coverage might be challenging? In each of these cases, some prefer the former options, while some the latter ones. But everyone prefers clarity regarding these choices as soon as they first come across a company.

Finally: while few people are comfortable talking openly about financials, when it comes to finding a job, it is essential. A lot of people like receiving a regular and steady salary, while others will sacrifice the comfort of a paid vacation for the benefit of a higher hourly rate. One thing that is common in all of us is that we don’t like wasting our time on either side of an interview where the expected compensation and the expected costs are not even in the same order of magnitude. Being open about payment, bonuses and benefits just saves a lot of time for everyone involved in the process.

A clearer hiring process

Moonka.space is built with these ideas in mind. Company profiles and jobs posted are always iterated on during discussions with team members of the company. There is not a single word that has not been questioned and looked into.

If you are an employer: after creating and paying for your job listing, you can expect a call from us to help both you, us and your future applicants better understand your opening. We help you better understand who you’re looking for, and once that’s cleared, we give you the platform so that they can find you, too. Our goal is to showcase the fundamentals of the position and your company. You have an air hockey table and brew your own beer? Fine, these are nice things to have and it's okay to be proud of the cherry on the top of the cake, too. But what's inside the cake is what matters.

Once the applications start showing up, you need to manage them. And what better way to do that than to let the team that’s about to expand handle it? We have the tools for that. No unnecessarily complex charts, no fancy reports. We recreated the office coffee machine discussion where the people involved can easily discuss applications.

A personal note

For a bit more than a year, I have worn a few too many hats. Just developing the application consisted of nearly two thousand commits and many thousands of lines of code. I have written policy documents, gauged our competition, researched taxation rules, balanced a marketing budget, talked to potential users and potential customers. I haven't been so proud of an achievement as I am now for a long time.

However, and I'm trying not to sound like I am giving myself an Oscar here: all this wouldn't have been possible without the relentless help of a lot of people. In fact, for the past couple months I've been thinking daily about how lucky I am. Some people just showed patience where patience wasn't due anymore. Others calmed me in stressful situations, of which there were many. Folks ahead of me on this path gave invaluable advice when it was most needed and some even contributed to the costs of the project, which ended up being considerably more than initially expected. I am immensely grateful to all of you.

I will share but a list of first names in alphabetical order, so that I am not invading anyone's privacy too much: but it Anna, Apor, Attila, Ayberk, Ádám, Ágnes, Ákos, Áron, Balázs, Balázs, Barnabás, Bence, Bence, Bettina, Borbála, Botond, Bálint, Csilla, Csongor, Damján, Dániel, Dorka, Erika, Éva, Giorgia, Hunor, Hunor, Izabella, Johanna, János, Jonas, József, Kata, Kinga, Kristóf, Krisztina, Levente, László, Lilla, Mohit, Márk, Olga, Orsolya, Pál, Péter, Réka, Réka, Róbert, Sándor, Sándor, Sergio, Soma, Szilamér, Tamás, Tibor, Tímea, Valentin, Valentine, Zita, Zoltán, Zoltán, Zoltán, Zsolt. Thank you all!

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