Time to meet new People

September 2016 · 5 minute read

In a new city, it can be difficult to find a place where you fit in. Especially when you move to start working on your new career and have competitions lined up for the first few months which involve daily training.

I work in a small office, with five other developers on site. All of whom are men and almost all of whom are married and/or have children.

A vast majority of my closest friends are men and I hang out with them regularly, in one on one situations. I don’t really like being in large groups, even with girls. Especially with girls, in fact. But I mean, my guy mates and I go will go for a drink, dinner or coffee, watch a movie or get together and write code and it’s just normal. We’re mates, it’s what we do. Gender makes no difference.

However, coming from a background in hospitality which is kind of a lose industry when it comes to things like perceived appropriateness, I’ve never really had to think twice about who I spend time with or how we spend that time.

Now, though, in an environment with people who have only ever experience mainstream life, i.e. either corporate or study backgrounds, I feel as though I need to tread more carefully. For example, I’ve had to tone down my crass innuendoes and profanities quite significantly. Only writing this now I’ve realised that I’ve actually done that. I guess being surrounded by people who aren’t that way inclined themselves makes a difference.

Regardless of how things were for me in the past, you can see how it might come across detrimental if a young(ish) single woman was to spend any amount of time with the guys from the office outside of work. And understandably men who are married and/or have kids would have no business doing that anyway.

So, how then does one go out and meet people?

This has loosely been on my mind since planning the move but up until now, it is literally something that never in my life has occurred to me. The last time I moved cities was when I left my hometown and went to go and study at Victoria University in Wellington, where I lived for the first year in a hostel and seemed to just be surrounded by people all the time. From there, everything just sort of fell into place, right up until the day I left. And for a good long while there, I simply did not care about having any sort of interactions with any people at all.

Now I feel more determined. I have a better direction in my mind of where I need to be heading. And that direction is primarily focussed towards expanding my career and competing more and more. The competition side of things seems to have fallen into place quite well since I already knew the gym here and I’ve done enough before that I can just maintain the training. It’s not like when you first start something and you have to dedicate a more considerable amount of time towards learning the basics. Of course, when it comes to Muay Thai, you cannot revise the basics enough.

When it comes to expanding my career, though, just going to work every day isn’t enough. Well, maybe it is. But for me, it doesn’t feel enough. I’ve been developing 9-5 now for about two and half months and wow the learning curve has been steep! I have a significantly better understanding of web applications but the amount that I don’t know and the speed that new things are coming out makes me think I really am not learning enough, fast enough.

There are a huge number of meetup groups and tech talks in Auckland, many of which seem really interesting and relevant to modern development. I really want to go and check them out! But I really don’t have the balls to go on my own!

The people I work with don’t seem so interested in that sort of thing. Understandably, after a long day of coding the last thing you want to do is go and listen to monotonous talks about coding. In some cases. There are actually a number of passionate people out there who do want to go and do that and to be surrounded by other people with a similar interest. I like talking to devs. They get me, they have good chats and obviously, I’m interested in development.

So… you wouldn’t believe my luck! A friend from Wellington was visiting this week and dropped me a line to go and have a beer. Of course, with very few friends in this city, I’ll jump at any opportunity to go out and have a drink! And it’s a good thing I did because I was introduced to another developer in a (some ways) similar situation to me. Now, this guy is not starting out his development career by any means, in fact, he’s lightyears ahead of me. The similarity is that he hasn’t been in the city for too long and he’s really interested in tech talks and meeting other developers but needs to find someone to go along with!

What are the fucking chances?! Well, I guess it ultimately all comes down to good networks, right? That and I guess I just know some really cool people. It looks like my prayers have been answered and I’m finally heading off to an Auckland meet up next week – I’m excited to listen to the talks and I hope I soon meet some more people in the industry to share thoughts and ideas with.