When I say that I spent over 5 years in my previous company, many people’s reaction is that this was too long. I don’t mind spending a long time in a company, especially when you can grow, try out different roles and technologies, and be a part of a huge success in the end. But I felt that it was time to move on as well, and only after spending the first months in my new place the full realization came why I needed it so badly.
What usually drives you to wake up in the morning and start yet another productive day? For me, it’s a sense of purpose, strong trust in what I am doing, in the team I’m doing it with, and understanding that I will be able to spend my time productively and move the company closer to the goal today.
For the last year, I felt constantly tired, even exhausted at times. At some moment I started reflecting on why it is like that. It’s okay to feel tired after spending the whole day solving problems, aligning vision, and pushing things forward, but it turned out that the source of my constant exhaustion was somewhere else. I realized that I felt tired of constant battling with beurocracy, overall organization inefficiency, lack of clear purpose in the work I’m doing, endless meetings, and in-team conflicts. I ended the day with no satisfaction of solving another problem that achieves a specific goal, but with a feeling that tomorrow I will come back to the same set of issues. That I will have to battle for every step I make, will play yet another round of “finger-pointing” game, will waste my energy arguing about how work should be done, and most probably will have little to zero real progress anyway.
I felt that my internal battery is running low. This was not how I wanted to spend my life, so I had to move on.
I joined VOOL as a mobile lead this January and already spent some months here, and I can’t emphasize enough how much my life and overall well-being changed.
VOOL is on a mission of making EV charging a fun and hassle-free experience with a fancy-looking charger, a mobile app, and a web portal for managing fleets and public chargers, as well as taking away grid anxiety with the help of dynamic load management device, and with much bigger ambitions for the future as well. It’s a unique company that blends hardware and software in one cohesive system, with everything being designed and produced in Estonia.
My first impression started from a very cozy office in the heart of Tallinn’s hip area. I noticed a small workshop with tools and 3D printers, as well as a lot of prototypes and product versions laying around. Before, I worked for software-focused companies, and the only way to “feel” the product you are working on was to launch the mobile app or open a website. Here, I got an immediate feeling of something real, physical, that I can touch and use. Office already had some public charger prototypes up and running for people to use, which gave me the feeling of how real the thing is.
After having a chat with the company founders, I left the building with the clear understanding that this is the place where I want to be in the nearest future, and so it happened.
When I joined, there were about 30 people in the company. I felt amazed how such a small team was able to achieve so much already, with such a range of products on both software and hardware levels. Having worked there for a few days, I finally got a clear understanding of how it was possible. This was the result of people being able to focus on the work and set goals, not being bound by beurocracy and paperwork, with a clear vision of the purpose of their work and being driven by the big dream in the first place.
The paradox 🔋
“Now, why has it changed the quality of my life?” - you might ask. “Maybe you feel less tired now? Maybe it’s a super-comfortable place to be and you are just chilling out there?“.
The answer is no. In fact, I feel even more tired now. There are lots of challenges that I face every day and lots of problems that need a solution. But the fun part of this is that the source of this feeling is different. I feel tired because, during one day, I most probably made a big step towards our overall goal. I feel tired because I was able to focus on my work and went into the flow, forgetting about the time and space around me. I feel tired because I invested my knowledge and energy into something bigger and I actually care about it. And this is a totally different kind of “tired”. I freaking LOVE this feeling - even though it’s spelled with the same letters as the other “tired”, it’s a totally different and very precious feeling.
I feel how my internal battery started to charge. I love this paradox. As unintuitive as it can be, I feel less drained and tired while being more tired at the same time, and this is exactly what I’ve been looking for at this stage of my life.
Working in a smaller company at the early stage provides a tremendous set of challenges. A lot of unsolved problems and no clear paths. A decent amount of risk and unknowns. And endless opportunities to make an impact, drive change, grow, and get this “good” tired feeling at the end of the day.
And what about you? Are you mindful of how are you feeling about what you are doing every day? Do you understand why you are doing this? Is this what you actually want to spend your time on? And what is your battery level right now?