It’s my last day at work. Tomorrow I will officially be unemployed.

I’m sad it had to end this way.

Not because I am leaving the company and the product where I invested nine years of my life. My leaving is just a small part of this. What saddens me is that an entire great team has been destroyed.

I say “destroyed”, and it may sound overly dramatic, but I really feel that that’s what happened.

Collectively the core team of senior developers had built up twenty-six years of experience of this product. That is not even counting the the Malmö team who were all let go earlier this year already.

A team is more than just the sum of its members. We were not just a bunch of people sitting in the same room. We were a team – we achieved things together that none of us would have been able to do on our own. We had figured out ways of working that made the team productive and creative. We cared for each other, respected each other, complemented each other. These parts of a team are even harder to replace or rebuild than the product experience.

And all of that has been thrown out. There is no more ReQtest dev team. What a sorry end to an era.

I hope the product survives this.

More interviews. Which means I get to visit interesting parts of Stockholm that I don’t normally see. This is the Kungsträdgården subway station, one of my favourites. It’s very deep (the deepest in Stockholm I believe) and has interesting decorations. The station walls are plain bedrock, in places, with water trickling in through the ceiling. Moss grows on the walls, including species that are not present anywhere else in Stockholm. It smells like a cave.

On the topic of interviewing… If I am to search for a job, and if I want to find a good one, it makes no sense to meet one company only. I need to meet a bunch of them so I can compare and contrast. I have interviews scheduled for most days this week and next.

The obvious question is, what do I consider a good job? What kind of job do I want? What am I looking for?

I am looking for a developer job, not a manager position. (That’s a discussion worth an entire blog post on its own and I’m not getting into that now.)

What makes a good developer job?

First, there are the obvious things – competent colleagues, sensible bosses, a stable company that will be paying my salary on time, a decent office etc. Those are things that anyone would agree with, in any business, so they are not particularly interesting.

Next, there is the MAP triplet, things that I imagine any skilled worker would want: Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose. On the “purpose” side, specifically, I want to work on “good things” – projects that make some part of the world a tiny bit better, rather than worse. That means a no to online casinos, for example, and to all kinds of digital marketing.

I am a strong believer in the agile development philosophy. I want to work together with other developers rather than on my own. I want to work in close communication with customers/users.

I believe in quality. I want to work in a team that takes pride in doing an excellent job and believes in producing quality work.

I have started searching for a new job. Today was my first interview. (I took this photo in the lobby of the building where that company has their office.)

I’d been postponing this inevitable task, mostly because I didn’t want to take the first steps. One of the first steps would be to update my CV and I find that both boring and difficult, so I kept not doing it. But now a (soon to be ex-)colleague put me in contact with the company he is going to join, and that was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss, so now I had to start working on this stuff.

It’s just the CV and letter-writing part that I don’t much like. And it turns out that even some of those boring steps have been stripped away from the job search process, on some recruitment sites for the IT industry at least.

I do quite enjoy job interviews. At “good” companies, with “good” people, there are often interesting conversations to be had. I get to learn about an interesting company and their product(s), and to talk about things that interest us both.

Balancing my two main areas of responsibility by trying to do both at the same time – cooking dinner while providing support to the devs running the deployment at work.

With about five weeks to go until my employment ends, I am focusing on so-called “knowledge transfer” to the team in India that will be taking over. It feels quite futile – trying to hand over during a few weeks all the knowledge and experience that our team has accumulated over the years. The Indian team is understaffed and (frankly) underqualified for this, and they mostly don’t have any time to practice what I’m showing them, so it feels like we’re just going through the motions.

The project not quite a train wreck yet but I can see one looming on the horizon. I wonder when the others will see it. I hope I’m wrong but all the signs are pointing in the same direction.

I have invested so much of my time and energy in building something good. Two good somethings, even – the team and the product. And now I get to see it all squandered.

About halfway through my three-month notice period, my most important task at work is “knowledge transfer” to the team of developers in India who will be taking over after everybody here leaves. This process is not particularly organized, so meetings crop up at short notice and with no flexibility about timing, and get cancelled with equally little notice.

I used to have a regular gym schedule and now it’s all in shambles; I keep having to cancel my bookings, or vice versa, I don’t book a class because of a meeting in my calendar and then that meeting disappears.

This affects my well-being more than I had expected. I’m no gym nut; I am relaxed about my workouts – but especially this time of the year, and especially with the depressing work situation, not getting the exercise I’m used to is not good for my state of mind.

I did get to go to the gym today. Yay!

I have no energy. Nothing seems like fun. There is nothing in my life that feels like worth taking a photo of.

This tends to happen each autumn, so it’s no surprise. This time, work is particularly unfulfilling and drags me down even further.

It will pass.

Gåsen to Sylarna.

Today was a repeat yesterday, in the best of ways. Beautiful and wild. (And just as windy as yesterday, and with clouds so low I was walking through them. I almost ended up skipping lunch because the wind was so strong, but then I finally found one large, lonely boulder in the otherwise open grassland and huddled in its lee.)

A new experience for me today was fording a river. I crossed one yesterday as well, but that one had enough rocks in it that I could get across with a few agile hops, keeping my feet dry. A group of runners came along just as I got to today’s river, and some of them managed to get across by jumping between rocks, with their light packs and long legs. But with my pack, the risk of losing my balance was too great, so I had to wade through a part of it. The water was shallow – up to mid-calf maybe – but ice cold of course. I’m glad I only had to take a few steps in it.

I wonder if the word vad, which means “calf” in Swedish, is related to vada which means “wade”.

I was also very grateful for my walking poles. I hesitated when packing them, but decided to bring them after all, and I’m glad I did. I didn’t use them much on Thursday, but on yesterday’s and today’s rocky, uneven paths they were great to have. Not that it was difficult to walk without them – but with them, I could walk without thinking so much about the actual walking.

Most hikers seem to use poles the same way as when skiing: the arms swing back and forth in the same rhythm as the legs, and the poles help propel you forward. At least on uneven ground, like here, I plant a pole once every two steps, roughly, but in fact I’m not even sure my arms and legs really move in sync. I use the poles less as extra motors and more like feelers or tentacles. They provide extra contact with the ground, so I have two or three points of contact almost all the time, which means I can be somewhat sloppy about where and how my feet land. They allow me to “flow” forward over the ground, if that makes sense.

Vålåstugorna to Gåsen.

This! This is what I came here for. Wide open views of rolling rocky hills, grassland and shrubland in autumn colours.

A narrow thread of a path cuts through the shrub. Lots of little streams cross the path or run parallel with it (or in some cases, on the path).

Because the path is so narrow, it’s almost like it doesn’t exist. There is just enough of it so I can put my feet down on somewhat level ground and don’t have to watch every step – but no more. The vegetation comes right up to me, so I can see all the lovely tiny plants, and really feel that I am right in the middle of them.

I thought waterfalls would be beautiful, but I loved the little streams best. Waterfalls are noisy, whereas the trickle of a stream over rocks was truly like music to my ears. I made a point of pausing for a moment to listen and enjoy each one.

Apart from the streams, the only thing I could hear was myself. I saw and heard a very few little birds, but apart from that, no one.

The day was overcast and drizzly and windy, so there was no avoiding the waterproof jacket or its hood, which rustles, unfortunately. Luckily I had the wind at my back – I rather pitied the few hikers I met going in the other direction.

Adrian has been asking for fingerless gloves for a long time – since last winter I believe. I haven’t seen any in shops. Maybe I could find something online, but he also has very specific wishes regarding the gloves, so I decided to knit a pair for him.

Plus, I want to knit something anyway. I have the cardigan project that I spent so much time on and then had to rip up because it didn’t fit… and while I do want that cardigan, I feel a resistance. What if it won’t fit this time either? Maybe I should pick a different pattern? It’s easier to work up my courage with a small and simple project first.

Adrian picked the yarn. A variegated one, with blue, red and dark yellow. It’s woolly and warm and soft, but it doesn’t look that way when I see it up close like in this photo. It looks all scratchy.

I’m cycling to work almost every day, because current conditions at work rarely leave any room for lunchtime gym sessions. Our number one focus right now is knowledge transfer to a team in India, and with their office hours and our office hours being as they are, our meetings often end up being scheduled just before lunch.

I’ve only been to the gym once in the two weeks since I started working, which is a bit disappointing. But on the plus side, the cycling is very pleasant at this time of the year – the mornings are cool, bright and dry, and the afternoons are not too hot.