Why am I leaving Cobot? And what comes next?

Since I announced I was leaving Cobot at the beginning of the month, I have been asked a lot about the reasons to move on, and where my steps brig me next.

On the 29th February 2012 I flew from Valencia to Berlin, where I had never been before, with a one way ticket and a small suitcase. This sounds like the beginning of a Charles Dickens book, and it’s easy to picture a depressed jobless Spanish walking against the wind in a snow storm. Far from reality. My way from the airport to Kottbusser Tor, the quest to find a decent toilet I could use to change my clothes and put on a little makeup for my interview, even the way upstairs, five floors, with my suitcase and after too many cigarettes, are still in my happy moments imaginary. I was an emigrant by choice. I was doing something exciting. I even forgot to call my grandmother for her birthday, which was a big deal because, you know, it’s only once every four years.

When I saw Cobot for the first time, while I was helping the team at Workether in Valencia put together some processes and tools to run their coworking community like a real business, I stumbled upon Cobot. At the time, I was working at Regus, doing projects about processes and working on our management software, Titan. I was used to powerful management apps, so when I saw Cobot, a simple yet very complete app, I was amazed. It was love at first sight.

Considering that this is how I joined Cobot, it is hard to think of moving on. I wanted to fall in love again. During this month, my friends and close ones have asked me about how I was looking for a job. “I don’t look for jobs”; I say. “I find them. We find each other. It happens”. I stumbled upon my job at Regus, and I stumbled upon my job at Cobot. Both were opportunities that I saw and wanted to catch, and that made me leave things behind to take them. Cobot made me leave Valencia, box my stuff and move to a city where I had never been before. Sending that email asking Alex to interview me is the best decision I have ever made. I didnt want to go to monsters.com and look for fitting possitions and send a thousand emails and get no answer and end up taking something that was OK. OK is never OK. Great is the new black.

These two years and a half, Cobot has been an incredibly enriching adventure. My time at Cobot has given me chances to travel, meet special people (surfers, knitters, hustlers, working mums, geeks, social workers, comic fans, tree house architects, karaoke stars, polyglots), travel around for field trips and conferences (Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona,Córdoba, Lisbon, Paris, Nice, Austin, Kansas City…) talk with people from even more remote places (Hawaii, Bali, Tanzania, Singapore…) and grow professionally and personally. It is not as important or relevant, but I have also done a great job with my hair.

Cobot, also good for your looks
Cobot, also good for your looks

I have learnt a lot about how smart businesses work. About tools. About other companies to gather inspiration from. About having a vision, about making decisions, about listening to people and understanding more than you can hear. Cobot let me dig in many of my interests: technology, user experience, customer service, public relationships. Cobot let me write, demo, speak at conferences, do sales the hard way. I have had the pleasure to work with very, very smart people, from whom I have been able to learn more than I can remember. We have had time to work, imagine, eat, and dance together. We have travelled together. Working with people and still wanting to spend after work time with them is a privilege not everybody has and I have enjoyed during my time at Cobot.

I keep lots of great memories and I have made lots of friends that I intend to keep. Thanks to Alex, Thilo, and Aleks for these months. Thanks to Miguel, Pilar, Ramon, Manu, Jacob, Susan, Alex, Nico, Adam, Jenny, Domingo, Chris, Stephen, Oren, Jean Yves, Jerome, Priscilla, Luis, Nerea, Cristina, Jaime, Alberto, Rosa, Pepe, Magda, Lola, Tony, Amy  and the hundreds of people that make the list too long to write it here for all the moments. Cobot has been a lot about people – I love that I can keep memories in pics like these ones.

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Why, then, leave?

Because it feels right to move on. Because I am restless. Because I am looking for a new challenge that will make me feel uncomfortable, that will make me read until late and ask around for advice. Because I want to meet new people, that will tell me new stories, that will keep me awake. Because I want to dig into new problems. For these and a thousand more reasons, and for none at all.

What, then, am I going to do next?

Well, there has been a lot going on for the past few weeks. Some offers arrived, I sent a couple of resumes to projects that looked interesting and happened to be looking for people, I reached some people I had spoken with in the past and listen to their advice… The problem when you don’t know what you are looking for (things would be much easier if I were an Android developer, a chinese cook or a vet) is that it is hard to ponder what’s a good career choice and what’s not.

In this case, the best is to look into your heart.

I wrote all the options in post-its and run a little exercise, the kind of dynamic one would do with a group, just alone. I interviewed myself for each of the possibilities, and then I imagined how I’d feel talking about each of the projects with other people. I also thought of the skills I’d learn, the people I’d be surrounded with, and whether the job would feel monotonous after a while. I listed pros and cons. I didn’t think it all on myself, though. I asked my friends, I asked my boyfriend, I asked my dad; I asked people I trust.

Then I did the one thing I do when I face a problem. I wrote a requirements list.

My new job must be interesting.
My new job must be challenging.
My new job must be flexible.
My new job must mix online and offline.
My new job must let me do other things.
My new job must have nice people around.

These were the things that made me enjoy Cobot the most, and the ones that I wasn’t going to let go for a job at a corporation or whatsoever. And with that list in hand I went through the options and  picked the winners.

Asquera, the development agency I have been working with for a while, ticked all the boxes. A clever team, easy to work with, agile, and with a big sense of community. The job, managing projects and running events, is right down my way, and it’s been a pleasure to work there so far. I will be dedicating more time to Asquera, helping out with development project management and organising the Elasticsearch user group and Mrgn, a new monthly meetup in Berlin (read more about it in this blog post I wrote). More exciting things will come soon, I will tell you all about it when the time comes!

I also want to give a push to my consulting business. In the past I have done short collaborations helping with communications and social media management, business development, and technology advising for companies like Quaderno, and for projects I have been more involved with such as Kunstrial or Feelgut. I even started a little agency project with a friend, the 2425 Agency, until I decided that at that point it was best to go solo.

I have reworked my offer and created a price list for specific packs and I am now available for consulting work. If you know me, you know what my skills and interests are. If you don’t know me, I will be very happy to talk with you, hear what you are looking for and see how I fit in. Best case scenario, we leave with a list of initial ideas and an appointment to create your project plan in the next days. Worst case scenario, you leave with a bit of feedback about your project and a couple of tools to check when you get home, all for the price of a coffee.

For the next days I will be helping Cobot with the handover, training a person to take over my job, and sending ‘nice to meet you, hope to hear from you in the future’ emails.

Then, I will dissapear for a week and go to a place with lots of sun, lots of salty water, lots of fresh food and no watches or phones or laptops.

Then I will be back in full swing. Beware.

 

 

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