I Quit the Company I Love

Yesterday was Monday and for the first time in a long time I didn’t take a bike to the office. Because I have no office anymore. And no full time job.

Once upon a time…

I joined u2i 3 years ago while still studying psychology and doing tons of other things. At first, working there was difficult. I entered unknown environment — the IT world. People there spoke a different language, had different mindset and work standards. I also had to manage multiple things at once. Although the beginnings were tough, I survived and quickly found out that it’s *my* place. A company that helps to grow, takes on new challenges, gives support but doesn’t tell you how to do things.

I begun my path in u2i from taking care of recruitment. I was given freedom and responsibility —two most important attributes an employee of any organization can ask for. From the day one, u2i provided me with trust that I can (or if not, that I’ll figure out) how to take actions that bring value to the company and its people.

And it’s important to mention here that u2i is run by its people — 53 employees who are responsible for everything. From creating highly complex software to taking care of the office. From hiring new teammates to working on the product with the clients. With flat-structure, no-management and employee ownership u2i is an amazing place to work in.

Quickly after joining I became 100% involved and engaged in co-creating u2i. I was learning a lot — on recruitment, hiring, organization development and operations. But I was also discovering what does it mean to collaborate with clients and build software together. I started to become more and more interested in Agile software development and people who already were doing that in the company saw it. So when the opportunity arose I became a Scrum Master on one of the projects. That was an amazing chance!

At the end of my path in u2i I was a Scrum Master on two projects and (although the learning never ends) I was not a rookie anymore. I also got a priceless experience of working with clients and running a company from the backstage perspective. I held different roles and every single one of them made me a better and more experienced person.

But what if?

Working in u2i was a constant challenge. Learning never stops and the company will always change. Although I was so excited by the fact I got to be a part of it, one day I started to think what could I do outside of the organization. What am I missing? What else can I learn? How to make a better impact? And I felt there was something out there.

The moment

There is this amazing girl in Kraków — Ania Bywanis-Kwiecień ❤. Ania does tons of great things!

Long before I met her in person I saw her dozen of times in the cafe right next to my place. I remember that while waiting for my university classes to start I was seeing this girl with a cup of coffee and a computer being so focused on the job. I didn’t know who she was back then. But somehow I was impressed. When we finally met I understood that my hunch was right. Ania *is* an impressive woman!

Not so long ago she had a talk on one of the events where she shared her life story and journey in IT. When I left I was amazed. I admired her courage, engagement and persistence. And there was one thing that got stuck in my mind - how she ended her talk.

“How to eat an elephant?” she asked.
“One bite at a time” her mother answered.

By that time I was considering leaving u2i but I was too afraid of making a change and too attached to u2i as a company. This is where my heart was! But somewhere in the back of my head I kept thinking that it’s the time to take on a different challenge. One bite at a time. It was April 7th.

On April 18th the decision was made.

The day after

I got a lot of questions on why I’m leaving u2i. The questions I was not sure how to answer. It’s not that I wanted to leave the company. I just felt that right now is a good moment for me to change something. To learn more, gain different experience, explore the world outside of u2i. And who knows, make even spread some of the good practices from there around?

After I made my decision public I had interesting conversations with my colleagues. And I’ve heard many things that got me thinking.

“So, no plans? Really?”

I truly had no plan then on what I’ll do next. I had a list of things to discover but I needed time to decide what’s most important right now. What can make me happy and satisfied. Having a full time job often didn’t allow to dedicate a sufficient amount of time to just stop and think what’s next. Daily routine can easily kick in and I let it happen. But wanted to break it.

“You’re not gonna make it”

Hearing that one was tough. Quitting a satisfying job wasn’t easy but I did it for a reason. But at the same time it scares me as hell! I’m afraid of the unknown, I think that soon I might miss my daily routine. My inner critic is strong with this one so hearing it from the outside hurt. But then…

“You have the guts.”

That one is probably my favourite and it brighten my weeks!

When THE DAY was near…

The closer it was to my last day the harder it was. Every day meant saying goodbye to something. From big things — ending my collaboration with clients to small ones— leaving Slack channels. Every day meant a change. And it was really hard.

August 1st 2014. August 11th 2017.

I joined u2i on August 1st 2014 and I remember this day so clearly. The desk I had back then and with whom I shared it with (Mary ❤). My first tasks I needed to find out for myself. My first questions. And the excitement. Oh boy! What an excitement that was!

I celebrated my 3-years anniversary three weeks ago with a thought there won’t be 4th. As heartbreaking as it felt, I also felt grateful for the fact I got to be there. u2i is an amazing company and it’ll always have a special place in my heart.

And truth to be told, I think it’s an amazing compliment for the organization to hear that it made an impact on somebody’s life :) u2i — you’re amazing ❤

The gems I got to keep

I grew up so much while being a part of u2i. I got a chance to work and co-create an amazing organization. A place that (as much as I do) values trust, engagement and proactivity. I developed professionally and I grew up as a person.

I got to work with amazing people who truly want to make their work valuable and meaningful. Who want to share their knowledge and challenged me to do the same.

Oh boy, those boys! Rails Girls 2017 Mentors Crew.

I’m left with a priceless experience of working in a company that is run by all of its employees. It’s challenging and difficult but an the end of a day extremely rewarding. u2i taught me how to step outside of the boundaries, think deeper and wider.

Running 50+ people flat company means that it’s difficult to fit in one room…

I’m left with priceless skills I was able to gain while working in a challenging, supportive and fun environment. There are no words to describe how much I learned — from teams I was a part of, from my colleagues & Tom, u2i’s CEO.

I also got to travel the world to work on-site with our clients and to attend conferences!

Chicago. Just after Cubs won World Series and just before Trump won the Election.

I’m left with a lesson on how thriving company should look like. u2i is the best workplace I ever saw and its culture is truly unique. There is a great power in the organization that comes from people who are creating it. u2i is the smart kid in the classroom whom teachers love but other kids don’t understand. Hopefully, that is slowly changing and if you’re thinking how to improve your company I can really encourage you to take a look at u2i.

Last but not least, I’m left with beautiful memories. The ones that will stay forever ❤

I’ll always miss Pablo running wildly around the office, high-fives with Adam, Jaco’s scrambled eggs in the morning and Mary’s golden wand (don’t ask). But I have some many great moments to come back to.

left: Sister and coworker in one person ❤ right: Team Summer will always be the best
My 26th birthday recital! ❤
left: Warm June’s afternoon in Warsaw; right: Mary&Tomek (and Kasia!) — people to learn from
left: Becoming tourists in Chicago; right: u2i’s Girls Night Out (oh, those drink were awesome)
left: best desk EVER; right: Amazing mentors and speakers from Rails Girls 2016 Crew

I’m left with friends. People whom I never needed to explain anything — they just knew. We shared great moments, we shared awful moments but every day we were growing together and learning from each other. The fact that we were so different just made it all even better. Thank you Rafał, Mary & Pablo ❤

So, the moment came

Hi world, I’m think I’m ready for something new. Good luck u2i! You’ll always be in my heart! ❤

“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”
*This* sunset seen from our office.
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