Leaving My First Startup Job

Goodbye This week marks the end of an era in my career. In late 2018, I started as an early engineer and the 20th employee at Popmenu.

I learned so much during my time there. We were a small, scrappy, and quickly moving team, building features, fixing bugs, and reacting to client feature requests. This forced me to learn quickly whatever I needed to meet those demands. That’s how I grew; I had to learn.

This was the first time I saw the impact my code had on an actual user. Sitting behind a laptop for hours on end actually made a difference in someone’s business. During the pandemic, we were a crucial part of many restaurants’ businesses as they struggled to navigate the new norm. We saw restaurant technology trends accelerate quickly, things we would have seen far in the future had it not been for the pandemic.

I grew to love the product development process, from plannning to design, to shipping code to produciton. Through it, I saw coding in a new light; it wasn’t about programming anymore, but using it as a means to provide a real-world solution to an end-user.

I was given autonomy over my work, which taught me to manage my own projects with confidence, shaping them from ideas to production code.

It’s bittersweet to leave a company with a great culture and an innovative product. I’m incredibly grateful for the co-founders who took a chance on me when I had no prior experience working in software.

If you’re able to join a startup as an early employee, do it. It will be an invaluable growth experience that will change the trajectory of your career.

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