The missed opportunities

Many of us, and I’m not speaking just about folks within the IT industry, sometimes have this feeling about the missed opportunity. It might be related to the job, some project or anything else that somehow we didn’t manage to accomplish due to some specific reasons (maybe just a bad luck or even the laziness). However, sometimes missing a particular opportunity doesn’t mean that the world has come to an end, actually, it might turn into something even better and unexpected.


I’m not going to describe here my whole life including different topics like education, sports and so on. Instead, I’ll just mainly focus on the work in the IT and narrow down a little bit the timeline to let’s say 2 years back. Back then I was about to change my job – I had an offer that looked very good – high earnings, international team etc. I found this to be an opportunity, not only to improve my programming skills (which in the end didn’t improve too much due to the rather poor quality of the inherited project) but also to work in a team with people from different cultures. Eventually, after about 8 months I left this company. Although I wouldn’t probably call it a missed opportunity, as I did learn some new things and met nice people, it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Once I quit, I switched back to the freelance remote work that I really liked. I guess that I needed some time before I was able to look for another typical job in a regular office, as most of the offers looked (and still look) the same – they will tell you that everything will be great, but in the end, you work with some legacy code or create a new fancy project but surely have no time to write a test, because a customer doesn’t care.

Come, join our company - we're really different than the others.

Come, join our company – we’re really different than the others.

After a few months of working remotely, I got a phone call saying that the project was put on hold and there’s not much work to be done. I was a little bit surprised, but at the same time somehow happy that I would have a lot of free time to focus on my own things although I will not increase my budget during that period. I quickly found a new opportunity how to make use of this “vacations” – there was a cool programming & blogging competition named Daj Się Poznać and when the registration was almost over I did decide to participate. Faith? God only knows, anyway, the thing is that if I hadn’t received that phone call back then I would have been in a totally different place right now. How so?

During the time when I was jobless, I could focus on writing blog posts and working on my first open source project ever named Warden. I had also a lot of free time to work on my other projects like Fortitudo and focus even more on some physical activities etc.
Still, all of that was a big unknown during that time (maybe I’m just wasting my time and I’m missing some opportunity like getting a new, great job?), yet turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made so far.

Winners of Daj Się Poznać - just because I've suddenly lost the job.

Winners of Daj Się Poznać – just because I’ve suddenly lost the job.

Before Daj Się Poznać finished (which I won) I was also trying to find a new job. It’s not like I really needed it, I’d say that going to the job interviews was sort of a “sport” activity – I just wanted to ensure if without any additional studying I’d be able to pass these interviews. There was this one company, where the technical interview went smoothly, but in the end, I was asked where do I see myself in 5 years? Without giving it much thought, I simply replied that I hope to have a few projects of my own running and making money. A few days later I received an answer, that even though my technical skills are quite good they were afraid about, my answer to this particular question about my future and wouldn’t hire me. The lady from HR also said that I shouldn’t have said such things. Apparently, being honest is not a virtue anymore. It was another opportunity that seemed to be missed.

Since I was doing these job interviews in the sort of parallel, there was also this one offer from a company abroad. Eventually, I didn’t get the job, because they actually needed a different position, but I’ve met Mateusz who did an interview with me as an Agile coach. All of that seemed to be again a missed opportunity (second in a row), but well, guess what – it wasn’t. About one month later, Mateusz sent me an email that he and his friend Robin are looking for 2 developers to join their organization. We set up a meeting and I really liked the overall idea behind the self-managing organizations and the project itself. In the next few days, I received a positive answer that they would like me to join the team. As we were looking for another developer, I did ask a friend of mine Grzegorz to join us and within a few weeks the Noordwind was ready to go.

If it weren't for the missed opportunities, I wouldn't be a part of Noordwind.

If it weren’t for the missed opportunities, I wouldn’t be a part of Noordwind.

When I take a look at this story, it all started due do the fact that I quit the regular job, then started working remotely, then got this phone call about suspending the project that happened exactly when the registration to the mentioned competition was about to finish. Then again – looking for a job, missing probably some nice offers which in the end turned out to be irrelevant, as I’ve got the best offer in my life so far and had a chance to work together with a great people. Actually, moving back in time for more than 2 years, I’d probably never get this remote job if I didn’t post an answer on the (kind of polish StackOverflow) about how to integrate ASP.NET MVC application with the DotPay payments in the first place. There was a guy who contacted my on Skype that he read my answer and would like me to help him with some stuff and eventually it turned out that he knows people and there’s much more additional work to be done.

Now that we’re about to finish the current project for our customer and I’ll have some “vacations” again – I do believe that there are even more opportunities to come. I’m going to focus on my own stuff again and only time will tell what’s coming next. What I’d like to say is that you shouldn’t be worried too much if, for example, you don’t get a job that you were hoping for. It’s not the only job in the world and most likely you will soon find a better one. Missing a potentially great opportunity might lead to catching an amazing one. All you need is some patience and maybe a little bit of a luck.

Is there another opportunity behind the corner?

Another corner, another opportunity #deepthought.

8 Comments The missed opportunities

    1. Piotr Gankiewicz

      Hi Chris,

      I’m glad to hear that! In my opinion, we shouldn’t be worried that much when things don’t go as planned. As my friend reminded me today: “you never lose, sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn”.

  1. Michał Wilczyński

    In the end, it all sums up to what we can learn from our failures and how can we forge them into success. 🙂
    As a developers we face such situations even more often than others: everyday work (production bugs, failed deployments, missed deadlines etc.) or interviews you mentioned. How well we manage them and learn from them – that is a true measure of what kind of professional we are.

    Great post as always Piotr!

    1. Piotr Gankiewicz

      Michał, my point exactly. However, I guess it takes time for someone to realize this e.g. that failing is not the end of the world and it might turn into something good.
      I’m glad that you liked it :).

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