Last week I celebrated my first year at my new employer, Kodamera in Gothenburg (www.kodamera.se). I say 'new' employer but in fact they are also my first employer. It was not until my early sixties that I experienced proper employment, having worked most of my life as a volunteer (with Initiatives of Change, www.iofc.org) and as self-employed, part-time website builder for the past 15 years.
This new challenge of being employed was one of the reasons I was somewhat apprehensive when I started at Kodamera. What would it be like to work in a company? And, having no formal technical training or qualifications, how would I fare with team mates with degrees and certificates falling out of their pockets?
Not least of my worries was how a youngish team would respond to having an 'old man' in their midst. I am nearly 20 years older than my oldest colleague, and just about old enough to be grandfather of my youngest colleague. I was certainly raising the average age spectacularly!
But I need not have worried. From the very first day I felt welcome and needed. Everyone went out of their way to make me feel at home. My 'boss' (20 years younger than me) did a fabulous job of inducting me, and I was soon in the swing.
I discovered a company that places a high value on taking care of its employees. Substantial financial resources are invested in activities that generate and maintain the team spirit, encouraging us to be friends and not just workmates. This is clearly a policy decision, and a manifestation of the ethic which animates the company.
I have worked in dozens of teams in many parts of the world, so I can speak with some authority in saying that this company ranks high in this regard. The feeling that Kodamera cares about you as a person makes you want to care about Kodamera, and give your best to it.
So, collectively, an impressive place to work. Equally impressive is the quality of those who work in it. To a man (and unfortunately there are no women, yet, not for want of serious efforts to recruit the fair sex!) this is a smart and talented group of individuals. I won't mention names (and in any case they would not mean much to most readers of this blog), but I can say that the project managers, developers and designers in this fairly small outfit are top drawer.
And a lot of fun to be with! Although my Swedish falls well short, still, of being able to grasp everything that goes on around me socially, there are lots of laughs, and loud exclamations from the FIFA17 football computer game during breaks.
So thank you Kodamera for my first year. I love the way the team complements one another, each bringing special skills and competencies, appreciating one another, and working together to produce high quality web solutions.
I hope you can stand having this old man in your midst for a while longer.