r.onak

How Can You Have Time If You Don't Give Time

by @fooburr on Apr 10, 2018

Clock on a white wall

A few years ago I read this somewhere, “How Can You Have Time If You Don’t Give Time”. Ever since I first read it, the quote has imprinted itself on my mind. I never tried to find out who the author of the quote was until I sat down to write this post and sadly I could not find her/him. At the time, I had to read it multiple times to understand what it wanted to convey. As I go along this post, I’ll be exploring the meaning the way I understand it.

Just having plenty of time does nothing for you, if you cannot organize it around achieving a goal.

My professional journey started in July 2012. Back then, I was fascinated by some of the leading CMSes of the time — Joomla and WordPress. I began working for a family firm, Vitarag Export Industries and leveraged the quick prototyping and predictable UX capability of these systems. I created and curated content for their web presence and created a system to handle the basic level of accounting. Since it wasn’t a proper IT firm, there wasn’t a team to work with. So I had a lot of time on my hands to do things the way I wanted and learn but the time was never enough because my curiosity was killing all of it. Just having plenty of time does nothing for you, if you cannot organize it around achieving a goal. The more I learned about how the web worked, rather than feeling content, I felt more curious. See, that’s the thing about the web; you feel like you’re weaving it but at the same time you’re entangling yourself in it.

The more I learned about how the web worked, rather than feeling content, I felt more curious. See, that’s the thing about the web; you feel like you’re weaving it but at the same time you’re entangling yourself in it.

After seven months, I joined L&T Infotech where I experienced the best sandboxed training environment for a period of three rigorous months. I learned a lot of C# and had most of my rough corners polished, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. I worked on a PoC for an experimental venture by one of the business development teams in Automobile and Aerospace business unit. The tool generated Cost Breakdown Reports for a large manufacturing unit like a Rolls-Royce Merlin or some BOM pulled in from SAP or PLM systems. I’m proud how I managed to integrate it with PLM and SAP systems while also learning about the problems that such systems solved. While still in L&T Infotech, I got to work on developing a design system called BidManager by Eaton Corporation. This was the first experience that I had of working in a co-located team of around six people with four more working remotely. The thing that caught my attention was the phrase Remote Working. It seemed such a clever concept, breaking the traditional way in which companies of other domains were moulded. But at the same time, I felt as if my current company wasn’t leveraging the remote working philosophy to the fullest. This was also the time when I realised how restrictive and growth-limiting the model of a typical IT Service Corporation is. I couldn’t do anything else to upgrade myself even when I had some free time. So I left it in May 2015 and founded my own software agency called Red Software with a college friend. So I took a plunge but unbeknownst to me at the time, I was taking the plunge into the ocean of freelancing, remote working and a whole lot of struggle.

Since last three years, I’ve been working as a technical lead at my own agency. The knowledge that I have gained, the lessons that I have learned and the mistakes that I have made are deserving of a book, not just a blog post. But I’ll try to summarize them in a paragraph. From just a back-end engineer and a curious front-end developer, I rose to the heights of a full-stack engineer. I continued working on C#, fell in love with JavaScript and hence got my hands dirty with libraries like jQuery, AngularJS and ReactJS. Templato is the primary system that I’ve worked on.

If you’ve read between the lines, you would have found a common pattern. One of the reasons why I left my previous company to start my own agency was to get more time for myself but I was a fool to think that starting a company was going to afford me more time. The reason why I liked my previous job was because I thought I had more time since weekends were very quiet and weekdays were less challenging. But it wasn’t so! A corporate job has its perks and its restrictions; time was a restriction. All these years, I’ve struggled to find some time. That’s all that I’m looking for — Time. Over the years, I have learned to better organize my own time. But doing it for a whole agency is an altogether different challenge. This is where an entity like Toptal can help individuals like me.

Toptal is a breath of fresh air in the world of freelancing and remote working. Companies like Airbnb and Zendesk help reduce the need to constantly look for new clients and work. When I first learned about the famed Top 3% web developers, I immediately wanted to be a part of that. When I learned that I had to go through a screening process to get there, I felt a little intimidated at first but quickly found it to be one of the smoothest and effective procedures that I’ve come across. I have started the process to be a part of Web Developers Group and I’m excited about being a part of something that will, finally, give me more time. The reason why it will enable me to improve my time organization is because I will have earned it by giving it enough time. Because how can I have time if I don’t give time?