People in matching shirts together for a photograph.

On People, Culture, and Stories

This month, I will be celebrating my fourth work anniversary here at OpsWerks. It will be  the longest I have ever stayed at any job in my young career. This led me to ask myself:  What sets OpsWerks apart from other companies? I believe it’s the value it puts into  building a culture that focuses on community-building and self-development. These are  some of my reflections after four incredible years. 


New beginnings 

I remember my first onsite interview during the hiring process. I was only a few years  into my tech career after changing industries. The long conversation opened my eyes  about the possibility of working with emerging trends like microservices architecture and  distributed systems. During that time, I was working with monolithic applications and the  thought of working with new stuff seemed thrilling. At the end of the interview, I was  handed a business card with the following text plastered at the back.  

“To help those next to us and in front of us live better lives” 

  • Gratitude in every encounter 
  • Choosing Positivity 
  • Looking for Hope 
  • Compassion in Action 
  • Generosity to All 
  • Building a Healthy Community 
  • Continuous Self-improvement  

This was my first encounter with the OpsWerks’ mission and methods. I didn’t think  much about it at first. I had my own ideals as a young professional and while the  mission resonated with me, a part of me was also skeptical. I had to see it for myself. 

I joined the team a few weeks later. Immediately, I noticed that a lot of focus was put  around culture. On my first day, I was given a book titled “Obstacle is the Way”. This  was an aptly titled book, I thought. A new job was a big change for me, and I was  already facing some challenges. People who know me would usually describe me as a  reserved and quiet person. It would usually take me a long time to warm up to new  people and a new environment. I didn’t know anyone in the company and, in contrast,  everybody else seemed to know everyone well. They would even commonly refer to the  team as “family”. To add to that, there were also a lot of new tools and complex systems  that I was unfamiliar with. Learning everything was daunting.  

But OpsWerks, staying true to its mission, helped me overcome all those things. I wasn’t  left to my own devices. I always had senior members whom I could reach out to during  my shift but, at the same time, they also gave me space to explore things by myself. 

Our leaders always find time to check in on me even though they are 14 time zones  away. After just a few weeks, I felt a sense of belongingness because of the support of  the people around me.



Stories that bind us

One of the most anticipated company events every year is called Unity. During this  week-long gathering, everyone is invited to share their stories and promote the values  that guide us in our daily work. When I was asked to become one of the keynote  speakers, I was initially hesitant because I didn’t have any profound experiences to  share and wasn’t sure if I was ready to open up about myself. 

Eventually, I just went for it and it happened to be one of my more memorable  experiences. I realized that being vulnerable can help build trust with others. OpsWerks  always encourage us to create safe spaces for telling our stories. It may happen in little  moments during our weekly meetings, 1-on-1s, blog posts, team building events, or  even in Slack messages—we are always called on to inspire courage to express our  thoughts and emotions. It helps us to connect and learn from our members. I remember  that during our team huddles, one of the questions that will be thrown at the start is:  “How is your heart today?” I learned that everyone indeed has a story to tell and we  become better people by telling stories. It helps us cherish special moments and it’s one  of the most effective ways in building affinity and relationships. This is also one of the  things that I liked most about OpsWerks. It’s the chance to celebrate our values and  empathize with others through storytelling. 


Final thoughts

As the years went on, it turned out that everything about OpsWerks is rooted in its core  values. The concept of a people-centric organization wasn’t new to me. I have been  with companies that would claim to be people-centric, but the size of these companies  makes this harder to execute. OpsWerks, being a small company, was the ideal  environment to implement this, I thought. But one of the biggest reasons is the  leadership’s dedication to touch people’s lives. I am also glad that I found the courage to  start with the company because I definitely became a better person because of it. 

Looking back, it wasn’t really the tech that made me stay. The culture was probably the  biggest cause. Yes, the opportunity to work with fancy new technology was exciting but  experiencing a truly people-centric company that also empowered me to pay it forward  was fulfilling on another level. 

By Paul Tacuel

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