Having a mentor and difficult beginnings

I never had a mentor or even a person that believed in me. Well not never ever because I'm talking about first five years of my commercial job. After those five years I found friends, allies that at least where on my side.

There was no one that stood beside me and told me how to work or how to do things, how to find things. I had a team leader or some kind of senior developer that was giving me tasks to do, but not someone who is helping me with the programming process or learning process, or helping me progress in my career. I've learned everything by myself and everything I have or know - in my opinion is a result of my hard work. In fact in my second big job there was a very difficult team leader who was always telling me that I don't know a thing and I'm very stupid and he's the best in the world and I should listen to him but he never given me any solution or anything at all I could use to improve my work, just tasks and insults. Well I know it was something like mental abuse in job (with lack of better terms) but I never did report him. I just changed my job to free myself from that TL and atmosphere that he created. And I know that this wasn't just 'me', not only 'in my head', it wasn't my opinion or me being an emotional woman, because I spoke with other team members and they had the same feelings about that TL.
But after many years I was glad that I work with him, because I knew that I would never work with that kind of person ever again even if someone paid me a million dollars. yeah but that was opposite of mentor, opposite of any help, although I've got an interesting lesson.

This is a very scary world and I think it would be much easier to enter it with someone guiding me.
When I started my studies there were only few books about programming, maybe some more than a few', but there was ended material, now the level of information flood that we have is just overwhelming. Maybe current generation is more adapted to see a woman in IT world. Barrier is different though. It's hard to start because it's hard to pick the things you need to know or should know and it's nice to have someone who knows what is important, where to start and how to progress, now Mentor is someone who is picking up road for you and do everything in his power to make you a better person, a better programmer. You just need to trust you mentor that the path you are taking will bring you to glory.

So I didn't have a mentor ended up kind of blind picking. Paying for each of my decisions with sweat, blood and mental health.
I wonder what my professional career would be if there was someone the believed in me and show me the path.

I'm thinking about that because now with 13 years of developing experience I still don't know if the path I took is right for me and I don't know what should I do with me future.
The sad part is that I don't have much of a choice because the best and the most challenging tasks that I've got over the years in my professional life, I've got because there was no one else that could take them. In my forth  year of work I was given the role of leading developer on one project. And I've got to create frameworks and everything that was inside the application and oversight work of other team members when using my framework. I was a technical leader without title. And it would be great, I've got my very serious job/task (solo surgery) with only 4 years of experience... But. It all happened because all guys on my team had their first kid (yeah that was seriously strange and unbelievable synchronization) and all the guys went to vacation to take care of their kids. And in the IT company  where there's supposed to be much more men than women I worked in project where only our architect was a man and two female developers and female tester.
Lately I've got very interesting opportunity to go to client and help architect the cloud solution for his new project. And again I've got it because it was impossible sort time frame, I mean 2 days time frame and it involved travel to Warsaw for 5 days, so no one from my colleagues (located 4 hours drive from Warsaw) could go, because they got families and kids and so on, and people from our Warsaw department were so deep in their project that they couldn't spear 5 days in some other clients office.
Both tasks were very interesting, challenging and developing to my career. I'm glad I could done them, I would only wish be something more then best 'currently available resource'.

So what can I do what my path. Do I even have a choice?  I'm really wondering now if I should be 'born brave' and find a new job, where I would have to prove myself again, even start over (I always star as regular developer) or to wait for new opportunity that someone else won't be able to do, something interesting and challenging that I could take his place.

I'm having problems with telling only one story at a time.
I wanted to tell a story about mentoring and about the fact that first years of my professional career I didn't have any role models but I had pleasure to work with brilliant women who show me that there was a goal to rich, that woman can work side-by-side with men and be as good as they are or even better, and I'm really grateful to universe that I had this luck to start career in places where woman where good coders. I cannot imagine myself only in the companies without any woman.  It would be so hard to find myself and to be myself as a programmer in the world where no woman ever did programming. Thanks Olina and Ola Wąsacz that you were there.

I would love to be a mentor or even just example of coding woman for someone else there in this crappy world.


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