Becoming a lead, part 1: The Prelude
Nov 25, 2020
4 minutes read


The past year has been a roller-coaster - for me at least…

Back in September 2019, I was promoted to “Lead Software Engineer”. This was a role I was very much excited about, for many reasons - but one reason stood out the most. This was that I was able to help make a difference to my team, the business and more importantly the customer.

Anyone who knows me - and knows me well, understands that I am pretty passionate about what I do so I took this seriously but not in a way where I told everyone that they were wrong and we are doing it my way. They also understand I can loose focus on the end goal to a large extent and help too many people which impacts on my own targets/goals.

This role enabled me to push my limits both personally and professionally. I’m very much a person who has looked up to certain people throughout my career and have been able to quickly find who’s best to learn from. In my role as a software engineer I found various people I could tap into on their ways of thinking and/or knowledge, as well as their approach to problems.

With this role, my first time on a work trip ever abroad was to our Polish office. It was an amazing experience as it was great to get over to the team in Poland and experience their amazing culture, but was a great few days out there as there was plenty of collaboration. This is something I’m very passionate about. Collaboration is key to success - at least in my eyes.

Up until this point there were some personal issues I was trying to keep under control, and I thought I had them sorted and had a handle on them…

A month into the new however, me and my wife agreed to call it a day after 14 years together. This was a mutual decision. I let key people know about this at work and made them aware it was nothing bad and I was fine.

The next few months were rough, I didn’t expect to feel the way I did but I also didn’t expect this to impact my work. From the October until the Christmas of 2019 I was a roller-coaster emotionally for various reasons and also had to take sleeping tablets as I was not sleeping more than 1-2 hours a night.

I was very much open with this with my principle who was someone I could talk to and be open with when needed. I was pretty open with the wider team and handled it the only way I knew - through humour.

Throughout my life I’ve never let personal and professional parts of my life mix and this is something I’ve been particularly proud off. This time round this wasn’t the case. Although there were only a few days or half days I took as last minute absent leave within a 3 month window, I didn’t expect how it would affect me in the various ways it did.

The transition from a senior software engineer to a lead was something I didn’t really think about to much as it was stuff I was doing already - at least to a large extent. There were extra things I needed to take into account and learn - like trying to learn from features/products that we put into production and rolled out to our user base, but generally it seemed there would not be as much difference.

However, a new role plus the fact my marriage ended as well as the lost time with my daughter and now having to pay for and maintain a house solely by myself was not something I’d not had to deal with before - let alone all at the same time…

One thing I will say is the support from close friends and my direct and in-direct management. This is something that was a key part and re-enforced why I was in the right place.

As I tried to distract my self personally with various dating apps and finding myself again I slowly found myself drifting from my job and found I hadn’t had the interest I once had, it wasn’t until later on that I discovered that I had lost interest due to my personal life years before that…


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