Nice and smart people

To say that I was full of emotions as I was leaving my first full-time job would be an understatement. I had been there for almost four years (and even interned prior to graduating). It was there where I learned how to write production software, as opposed to how to pass computer science exams. To work as part of a team. To earn the trust of my colleagues and embrace the opportunity afforded by meritocracy. I knew that I was ready for a new challenge, but really wasn’t sure what to expect. Speaking with my soon-to-be-former boss, I lamented that everyone who we currently worked with was so smart, and more importantly, so nice. That they had truly become some of my best friends, not simply coworkers.

He laughed, and in no uncertain terms, told me that having nice and smart coworkers would be a terrible reason for me to stay.

He helped me realize that I should consider working with nice and smart people to be a requirement, not merely a perk. That he didn’t think I’d accept a new job unless I believed that my new coworkers would be equally as likely to become great friends, even if this belief was subconscious. That the world is full of smart and nice people, and that it’d be foolish simply to cling to those who I already knew.

Of course, he was right. In my subsequent years at my next job, I forged a number of meaningful new friendships that I remain incredibly thankful for today. But crucially, this didn’t make it harder for me to leave there when I knew that the time had come.

It made it far easier.