I have somewhat of a unique story at PrecisionLender. While my total time working for PrecisionLender is more than two years, I’ve been hired twice. First in August 2014, and then again in September 2017. In between, I took a gamble on a new venture with a friend of mine. And… well… you can probably guess how that worked out.
Prior to my first stint at PrecisionLender, I felt stagnant at my job and felt like I wasn’t learning anything new. A recruiter reached out about a tech company in the banking industry that’s really great to its employees. While I wasn’t all that excited about banking, I liked the idea of being treated well.
After a few rounds of interviews, I made it to the all-day interview, which was a bit daunting at first, but it went by quickly and went great. Each interview I went through focused heavily on cultural fit, and not just technical ability. Everyone I spoke with made it a point to talk about the company’s “Core Values,” insinuating their importance. They also talked about the “Four Questions,” which is a method PrecisionLender uses to prioritize work.
But, I’ve never been great at conforming and wondered if I would fit in here.
Then, I met the development team. They were welcoming and friendly. They weren’t looking for “one of us”; they were looking for another teammate they would enjoy working with. They weren’t looking to add to any group-think; they wanted excellence, even if that meant a change in thinking or direction. The number one goal was to get high-performing engineers on their team that wanted to make the product better for their customers.
A High Functioning Team
Once I joined the team, I quickly realized that my favorite benefit was the autonomy given to employees. I worked with internal and external customers to ripen and prioritize the work that needed to be done. Then, I was free to implement the solution. Even still, individuals weren’t operating in a vacuum. There was constant collaboration, and help was just a HipChat (now Slack) away. Combining all these factors, it was the highest functioning team I’ve ever been on.
Let’s Try This Somewhere Else
Energized by all the great work being done, I knew this type of culture needed to be spread. So, I jumped on the chance to build a similar team at a small, growing company.
It turns out it isn’t as easy as it looks. The great thing about PrecisionLender’s values is there is buy-in from top to bottom and all work is measured against these values to ensure the right things get done. That kind of belief isn’t something that can be brought to another company, it must be grown.
I had a lot to learn.
I burned out worse than I’ve ever experienced. It was bad enough that not only did I leave that job, I needed some time without one. I needed time to clear my head and rejuvenate. But I’m not great at relaxing, so I started training for an Ironman. And it’s much easier to train 15-20 hours a week, and get enough rest, without a job. So, taking off “a month or two” turned into six. (It was worth it - I had a great race and can’t wait for my next one.)
I knew I was ready to work again when I got the urge to write some code. PrecisionLender had always told me I had a job there if I wanted it, but I wanted to see what else was out there. However, after several interviews, and a few offers, I came back. There were some great companies in the mix, but none of them were better than PrecisionLender.
PrecisionLender helped make the decision the entire time I was gone. As the months went by during my time away from the company, people kept in touch. It wasn’t just those I worked closely with, either. Other leaders in the company would grab lunch with me, ask me how things were going, and talk to me about what was happening at PrecisionLender. I felt connected to the company without working there.
Returning was a much bigger culture shock than the first time around. The company had grown so much. The dev team had doubled in size since I had last been there. The company was in new markets, new countries, and had completely new teams to handle the additional responsibilities.
But in the end, it’s the same PrecisionLender. I’m working on bigger projects but have the same freedom and newer technologies. When I need help, there are even more people ready to jump in. The values are still there and still evident. And it’s good to be back.