Hi, I’m Ryan, and I’m one of the newer folks at Software for Good. Since starting here at the end of June, I’ve had a number of people ask me what it’s like working here, and I typically respond with something like “It’s so amazing, I’m having a lot of fun!” Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Let me tell you why it’s so great to be part of this team.
Team vs. Company
I chose the word team in that last sentence because that’s what working here feels like to me. I get to come to the office and be part of a team and do great work for companies doing great things in the world. I don’t work for a company where I’m just a cog in the wheel, or where approvals from management are required to turn said cog. Being the new person can be scary, especially if you’re coming from a job you held for many years. But if you can find a team to work with over a company to work for, the adjustment will make you wonder why you didn’t seek out a team environment from the start. Software for Good is an outstanding team of people, and I enjoy coming to work with them each day.
Working Together, Learning Together
When working on a project, we come together and talk about the best plan of action and next steps. No one person tells the others what to do — everyone knows what is expected and we execute together. Software for Good uses tools for task management so we all have an understanding of next steps and to-do lists, but this tool isn’t managed by one person. The team is collectively responsible for updating and managing it. It also has great options for communication, so everyone knows what’s going on with a project and what each person is working on. It seems to me that the results are fruitful when people work this way with one another.
The eagerness to help others at Software for Good is overwhelming, but in a good way. I recently had some trouble getting a Ruby Gem to install via Bundler. I asked for help in our team chat, and before I knew it had three people at my computer and a handful of others searching for solutions. Asking for help can be intimidating, with the fear of someone looking down on you for not knowing something, but that isn’t something you have to worry about here. Everyone wants to help and is genuinely excited to do so. I leave every day feeling that I’ve learned something and that I’m better at what I do thanks to the help of my colleagues.
Learning together is vital to the growth of any team, and in doing so the possibilities for both your projects and clients become that much greater. The greater we are the greater good we can do. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?
Leader > Boss
Casey is the Founder and CEO of Software for Good, so naturally I considered him my boss. But I’ve come to realize he is our leader, not our boss. He writes code, works as part of the team, is open to talk about anything you have on your mind, and doesn’t tell anyone what to do. We all know what we need to do, and that’s because of the open and positive culture he’s cultivated here through his drive to produce great things. When I was hired, he clearly described Software for Good’s vision and how doing great work for great organizations is very important to the ethos of the company. After hearing him talk, I knew I wanted to be part of it. This quote by Seth Godin sums it up perfectly:
“The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”
It’s evident that everyone at SfG wants to follow and be part of the ethos and ideals Casey set up.
One thing people can’t seem to understand when I tell them about Software for Good is the fact that we have unlimited PTO and are encouraged to work anywhere we want. It’s a confusing concept to most people, but it makes perfect sense now that I’m part of a culture that openly adopts it.
When it comes to Working from Wherever (WFW, or WFHome), the general idea is that people want to produce the best work possible, but sitting at a desk might not be where they get their best work done. So why would a company force anyone to sit at a desk all day, every day if it isn’t going to yield the best results? Software for Good’s take on this is simple: work wherever you want and do your best work. Technology makes it easy to stay in contact with your team, so there’s no good reason not to make this practice commonplace. The team here does a great job of being available and coming in for meetings when needed.
Unlimited PTO is another perk that people don’t think is a real thing. But it is. If you get your work done and give enough notice, you can take days off whenever you like. Software for Good encourages us to do the things we love, and having unlimited PTO affords everyone the opportunity to explore their passions outside of the office. From what I’ve seen, having a team of people who are passionate about a variety of things and then giving them time to pursue those passions leads to deeper engagement and better work.
If you trust your employees and give them the freedom to be themselves and do what they’re passionate about, the results might surprise you.
The Road Ahead
I’m still astounded by how great it feels to be working with the Software for Good team. The excitement I have in coming to work each day drives me to become a better web application engineer. Everyone here has that same drive, and I’m confident our work will only get better as a result.
Have questions about the culture or working here at Software for Good? I’d be happy to talk. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you’re a company looking for a software solution, I encourage you to shoot us your ideas. This is a great team of people to work with, and we’d love to help execute your vision.