When your Co-Engineer is gone for six weeks in Europe on Vacation

I work at a small company (often called a ‘startup’) that has two Engineers. One of them is the CTO, and one of them is me, aka the Lead Engineer. My title is a bit misleading because I don’t lead anyone. I got the title because I was employee #1 and my experience was such that Jr. Engineering Intern’s Assistant seemed a bit irksome, plus it didn’t fit on my business cards.

Chris play Pokemon Go

So, really, we’re co-engineers. Chris works primarily on the front-end (React, gross!) and with the scaling side of the infrastructure. I work on the service-layer (Django, yay!) and the mechanisms that make that work.

We have a third engineer, Sarah, who does enough React to be dangerous, but is primarily a front-end developer. We don’t have any overlap whatsoever except in our general distrust of React, so I’m leaving her out of this equation. (This is not personal Sarah, you know you are my work-best-friend.)

Chris just got back from a 6-week European Vacation today.

Do you know how much shit happens in 6 weeks? At a startup you just push code. All the time. Every day. I wrote new code literally every single day that Chris was gone. Normally, in real life, we check each other’s work where applicable. Needless to say, I inspected my own goods A LOT in the last 6 weeks.

  • We developed, tested, and pushed code to every single service (there are 14)
  • We had 7 team product meetings
  • We had 20+ lunches together as a team
  • We rode the Cincinnati Bell Connector (our train / streetcar) on the day it opened!
  • We hosted a wildly popular Lunch and Learn about millennial home buying for real estate agents at a brewery that Chris loves
  • We made fun of Chris a decent amount
  • I made these for the team: scones, muffins, jumbo cookies, pop tarts (from scratch), pumpkin cake
  • I discovered espresso lemonade
  • My kid laughed for the first time
  • My kid rolled over for the first time (these are important because Chris met Jo in her first 24 hours of life! She’s 150% the size from when he saw her last)
  • We speculated rather often if Chris would live or not, I guessed no but I was wrong. Oh well.
We rode that son of a bitch without you, Poodle

So, Chris is home. Welcome home. Things worked out, but it’s interesting to me how you learn to rely on people, and also how a certain dynamic is built from the beginning. The team still worked, but not in the same way. Not quite as well. Not exactly correct.

What else is there to say? Welcome home, Poo.