Working at Softwire; or, Why I Love My Job
22 April 2013, by Jamie Humphries
I have been working for Softwire a little over a year now. I love my job.
You may have read on this blog about some of the big morale events that Softwire do as a company for the sheer fun of it. This year alone there are plans for paintballing, go-karting and a trip to Alton Towers.
You may also know that we have a pool table, dart board and table football in our chill-out room which is also lavishly stocked with crisps, chocolates and whatever other treats people request. You may even have heard about the huge birthday celebration that we have every year that turns our office into one big party area complete with live music and vast quantities of free food and drink.
All of that stuff is great, but it is not what this blog post is about. Instead I want to tell you about why I love working at Softwire. Why I love my job, day-to-day at my desk. Here are some of the things that I think make Softwire great.
Interesting, Stimulating Work
Like a lot of people at Softwire, I studied Mathematics at university. It was the logical challenge that enthused me most about the subject and that is what continues to keep me motivated as a software developer. The reasoning and analysis that goes in to writing good code is just the sort of problem solving that I have always enjoyed.
Combined that with the opportunities that Softwire offer to move around between projects, or to change roles or find a specialism within a project, things never get dull. Specific effort is put in by line managers to ensure that you are always progressing and taking on new challenges, always at a pace that suits you.
Flexibility and Trust
Flexible working is not a gimmick at Softwire, it is an important part of the company ethos. You can work whatever way suits you best. Whether that means leaving before rush hour and getting in early, or not setting an alarm in the morning so you arrive a little later, it is totally up to you. You do not have to agree your hours with anyone up front or pick your timings and stick to them, just as long as you get your work done when you are there.
The reason that this system works is because Softwire genuinely trusts you to do a good job. This is probably my favourite thing about working here. No one is looking over your shoulder or secretly taking notes if you go and play a game of pool. If you are taking five minutes to clear your head and your manager walks over, there is no need to frantically close your YouTube tabs and look busy.
The company puts a lot of effort in to hiring the right people. They are therefore confident that you will get your work done, and to a high standard, without micro-managing how you should be doing it.
Equality and Opportunity
One thing that I hated at my previous job was the ‘them-and-us’ mentality that existed between management and other staff. There is none of that at Softwire. All levels of employees share the same open plan office space, eat the same lunch and can be found at the same pub on a Friday evening!
But more than that, everyone has an equal voice. From the founding directors to the university student on a six week internship, everyone has a real say in how things are done at the company. If there is something that is bugging you or that you think could be done better, then Softwire wants to know about it. And if you have a passion to get something done, very often you will be given the free reign and responsibility to make it happen.
Fair, Frank, No Bull
A lot of effort is put in to making sure that Softwire is fair and meritocratic. For example, those responsible for pay raises and bonuses agonise over finding a system that accurately reflects your contribution to the company and not just how long you have been here. That system is then explained thoroughly, documented publicly and open for criticism.
And you always know where you stand. Regular status chats with your manager and annual appraisals strive to give you an accurate reflection of how you are getting on, as well as giving a chance to air any problems that you are having. Such meetings are mercifully not an exercise in saying the right buzz-words and ticking boxes. They are just honest, frank conversations about how things are going and what you or Softwire could be doing differently.
Above all else, I think that Softwire is a great place to work because as a company and as individual employees, we have decided that it is going to be a great place to work! That was one of the central values when the company was founded and it runs deep in the veins of people who work here.
About a year and a half ago I quit a job that I hated and applied to work at Softwire. I knew very little about programming at the time, but the company sounded too good to pass up. Sending that application was one of the best decisions I ever made!
But why just take my word for it? Come and see for yourself, Softwire are always looking to hire great new people. If this all sounds good to you then why not apply? Come and do a job that you will love.