It was really about the friends we made along the way
Anyone will tell you that the people are what make Puppet special. I know this isn't an Oscars acceptance speech, but there are so many people I want to thank.
I'll never admire another engineer as much as I admired Libby Molina. Libby made me feel like I had a place in tech at a time when the guys at university were picking me last for partner assignments, and was someone I could confide in or complain to or laugh with. She seemed fearless, and commanded respect without needing to prove anything to anyone, and made me realize that tech isn't about fucking algorithms it's about trying to make things better. I can't thank her enough for mentoring me, and honestly no "Leaving Puppet" email has made me cry as much as hers did.
Zach Reichert taught me most of what I know about software quality. John Duarte helped me understand Beaker and career advancement, and let me pay for lunch so I could feel like a grown-up. Chris Cowell reassured me when my first big project got dropped that failure was a chance to grow.
Lizzi Lindboe made sure I always felt welcomed and included and heard, and is one of the most resilient and caring people I know. Kara Sowles continues to be a radiant light in a dark world. Molly Waggett made me feel like no matter what, I always had a friend in her.
Before working with Alex Dreyer I thought that what made you a good engineer was being clever and knowledgable. The game was to hold as much information in your head as you could and use it to write code that was modular and "clean" (whatever that meant) and correct. But what Alex is exceptionally good at is Product Design, and he showed me that what you are building is just as important as how you build it. Alex is able to forsee problems from years away, and where it's always tempting to want to give people the world Alex has never had a problem saying no to features that won't provide a good user experience. He has a clear vision for how a product should evolve, and leads with clarity while asking for thoughts and feedback from the team.
But beyond good system architecting, Alex has always been kind to me. In the spring of 2019 there was a feature I had been working day and night on for over a month, something that would have taken anyone else on the team maybe 2 weeks to do, and during yet another pairing session with Alex I lost it and started crying. Now, I wouldn't recommend crying in front of Alex, but I appreciated that he stayed on the call and said we could come back to it the next day, and that the next day he treated me with as much respect has he ever had. He never doubted I was capable of finishing the feature, and never hesitated to have me pick up complex tickets after that, and never treated me like I was delicate or "emotional". He's been a great mentor and coworker during my time at Puppet, every summer, on the first hot day of the year, I'll go get ice cream.
I will never forget Joe Wagner exclaiming "Nick Lewis is one of my absolute favorite people to work with." when I told him I was joining the Bolt team, and thinking "that is exactly what I want people to say about me". I told Nick the following when he was promoted recently, and I hope the repetition doesn't make the words seem hollow - they're no less true now than they were then: "you're honestly one of the first people I think of when I imagine the kind of engineer and person I want to be. You don't let your ego into technical conversations or development which I think is so rare in this industry, and your memory and expertise are 🤯. I feel really lucky I've gotten to work with you for so many years."
I'm so grateful that I got to have Geoff Nichols as my manager, especially when the Pandowdy had just started. He was the first manager I had who was invested in my growth, who didn't make me feel small and like I needed to 'earn my stripes'. I didn't realize the constant fear of judgement I lived with until I had him as a manager and that judgement disappeared, and it made me so much happier. Work went from something I had to do (I mean, it's not supposed to be fun, right?) to something I genuinely looked forward to and felt inspired by. Geoff completely changed how I felt about work, and I'm forever grateful that I know my own worth now.
Tom! Tom Tom Tom Tom Tom. I could write a whole blog post about how much Tom has changed my life, but this is already long enough and Tom knows I love him without hyperbole.
AJ Johnson has always been someone that I can trust, and who has done right by me multiple times, and I can't thank him enough for always supporting me and being in my corner.
Steve Axthelm, Jonathan Newman, Michael Smith, and Sean McDonald have been great tech leads and senior engineers throughout my time here. Ethan Brown and James Pogran went above and beyond to be kind, and are incredibly knowledgeable. Ben Ford has basically been holding community and open source engagement together with duct tape for years, and is such a joyful person to work with. Anna Velasco is a damn good friend. I can still hear Julia Ramer's laugh ringing in my ears. Cas Donoghue has always inspired me to be more curious and push my limits, and will drop what he's doing to answer questions or mentor folks.
Of course, this list is hardly comprehensive. So many people have mentored me, answered my questions graciously, taken time to know me, and become good friends. You can read about why I'm leaving here, and find some memories from my time at Puppet here. Please keep in touch!
- Email: thelucyvoigt at gmail dot com
- Twitter: @pagerbooty
- Come to CoffeeOps!
- Shameless plug to find me on Strava
Kisses and revolution,