Corporate Dev Has Made Me Lazy

I’ve always worked in a startup or on smaller development teams and I took the leap a couple of years ago to jump into a front-end javascript development corporate gig to see how the big players do it. Also note I come from marketing and in the agency world, you are required to move crazy fast because clients require this of you, which means, so do bosses.

A laptop in a bed representing a lazy developer

My Transition To The Corporate World

Just over 2 years ago, I made the transition to corporate dev. Within the first month I realized, extremely fast, that the things I worked on were due to hit production almost 3 months from that date pending another 2 week compliance review. If there are changes, that process pretty much starts all over again.

Now I’m not going to say this process is the most ideal process, but it definitely has to work in this fashion for the type of industry this corporate job is in (cough cough… finance).

I can still remember my first ticket because they assigned it to me and told me “take your time, and let us know once it is complete”. Let’s just stop right there. Take MY time? Those words usually don’t come out of the mouth of any agency owner, marketing director, etc. This threw me off and I did what I knew how to do, finish before lunch, review once I got back from lunch and updated my ticket that I was ready for requestor review. First response I got back was, “Did you have time to read the project brief? Is this really done or was this an accident?” That is when it sunk in, the expectations are LOW! I thought to myself, this must be a low priority ticket.

Whether it was the rush project or the about us page, non-pressing content change, it felt like everyone moved with the same urgency, how confusing! (I later found out there was a reason for this.)

Corporate conference workspace with city view

Adapting To The New Work Pace

So as any good employee would you start to adapt. One huge benefit of working at my job is they encourage you to learn and they are happy to put money towards anything you would like to learn to advance the business and your career. So what did I do? I finished my tickets before lunch, and then I sought out the next package, library, framework, language, I wanted to learn! I found courses, blog articles, youtube videos, etc. and I became a super sponge after my tickets were completed.

I was… adapting.

I was considered a rockstar because I was able to complete tickets so fast when I just thought that was standard practice. Naturally I begin to slow down with my development to be more strategic and methodical with the work I was doing and the code I was writing. I was finding ways to become more efficient and help others do the same. I gradually just became a helper to everyone on the team. To the point where I was walking into work, checking my emails, finishing my tickets, and walking around to see who I can help. People then began to rely on my help, and I was always willing.

I was doing less and less coding per day and it didn’t feel wrong because no one was screaming that the marketing campaign had to go out by noon. There’s another bug on prod that we have to get out first thing in the morning. It was what you call… chill. Once I felt this chill, I started to appreciate my job more than any other job because the pressure was off and I got to choose how to spend my days. Being the motivated and innovative person I am, I started coming up with millions of ideas and began planning how to execute these ideas that would help our team and the business.

I filled my days with more and more “work” and less and less code. To the point where I felt no desire to code because I didn’t have anything pressing. I would go home at night and not even open my laptop because nothing was “pressing”. When in reality I do freelance work on the side that actually was pressing and I ignored it because I felt I had time! BUT I DIDN’T! This change of pace has changed my work flow and not for the good!

A slow work pace can change your work ethic if you don’t hold yourself to a realistic deadline! It has made me LAZY!

Paper and pen task list to get on track for today

The Solution For a Slow Work Pace

I’ve mentioned before that I have side freelance work and side projects that I always work on outside of my 9-to-5. So my solution was to simply give my self deadlines that are not quite “URGENT, I need it now” type of deadlines but also not typical corporate “We have plenty of time and a lot of checks and balances to go through” type of deadlines either. Before every project I would sit down and determine what is a realistic schedule and I would hold myself to it.

I’ve used a lot of project management tools but Todoist just does this for me. I set a task, set a due date, assign a category, and I get it done so I can check it off. Staying organized and on task can be difficult within any profession but I think it is more important for the individual than a team or company to hold themselves to a standard a little bit higher than what is asked of them. It is how you grow and it is also how you keep yourself from getting lazy just because your environment changes.

In Conclusion

Getting lazy because you work a corporate job is not a valid reason to stay that way. Control is something most people desire but try to control what they literally can’t. What you can control though is your own actions and also your own schedule. You can’t justify your actions based on a place you are in, someone else’s actions, or a factor outside of your control. You must take ownership and make a change that adapts to your situation to keep yourself on track to continue personal growth.

I hope you enjoyed this, let me know your thoughts and comments and be sure to tell your story of how the corporate world has opened your eyes!

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Christoph Codes

Christoph Codes

Frontend Web Dev & Chronic Creator | Currently IndieHacking — InThisOrder.com | Owner of The Kirk Concept — thekirkconcept.com | Personal Site — christophk.com