The three components of a labour of love are a profession you want to progress in, colleagues you enjoy communicating with, and a comfortable office where you could even spend the night if you wanted.
Ten or fifteen years ago, in the eyes of your average Joe, a programmer conjured up images of a sullen, uncommunicative and unkempt ‘nerd’ with glasses, who spends days on end in front of a computer.
Of course, we've all encountered different kinds of programmers, and no two programmers are exactly alike, in the same way that there are all kinds of teachers and doctors. I have been working in a software company for many years and have noticed a transformation in the image of the programmer as a whole. At the beginning of my career I was warned not to distract developers from their work over trifles, since they require peace and quiet. Nowadays they laugh and joke, break the ice and adjust to the working environment. Our youngest and more senior colleagues alike make for interesting conversationalists, as well as being people who are passionate about their work. A quarter of the team regularly go to the gym. Some play music at local rock bands. When we plan company events, we therefore look at a variety of options, choosing the one that best fits the mood and the occasion. We even have a mobile app for voting among employees. This shouldn't come as a surprise! We are a mobile app development studio after all.
As well as the usual occasions – New Year, the company's birthday, Defender of the Fatherland Day, and International Women's Day (yes, yes, there are women on our team) – we also celebrate our own professional holiday, Programmer's Day.
And in addition to this, every employee has a birthday party! The person celebrating receives congratulations and wishes of good health, and treats their colleagues to cakes, pastries and other goodies. The only limits to the menu are the imagination and culinary talent of the person celebrating (and perhaps their spouse!) These events can turn into real lunchtime feasts. During months when there are few or no birthdays, we still have a tradition of arranging group dinners, often ordering pizza or sushi.
As for company events, outdoor activities are our thing! Biathlon, bowling, volleyball, laser quest, go karting, trampolining, skiing, target shooting, and Fort Boyard challenges are some of the things I remember best. Many events take place outdoors, bringing huge amounts of added energy and positivity.
We go to the cinema and visit the theatre. We were especially delighted when a troupe of actors brought the stage performance of The Master and Margarita on Programmer's Day.
We've also held parties in restaurants and karaoke bars, of course. Over the last couple of years, however, we've fallen in love with live quests. Programmers become heroes and traverse entire countries and epochs, solving intricate puzzles. We have variously been museum exhibits that come to life at night, detectives hunting the killer of the owner of an old London mansion, and raconteurs spinning intrigues and uncovering plots at the Chat Noir cabaret.
We hold competitions and relay races right here in the office. I will never forget the time when members of our female staff raced down the corridor in men's size 46 shoes. The guys on the team came up with the idea on behalf of the female contingent of the office for International Women's Day.
At EDISON, we are not afraid of experiments and innovation. As it turns out, nothing is impossible for developers, and the same goes for the professional world. As the famous joke goes, however, the big question is whether the client has the funds to implement the impossible.