Cleaning Up For a New Hire

I’m hiring a new full-stack engineer for the OfficeLuv team, and there’s nothing quite like a new hire to kick your team into shape. I’ve written about how new hires are a valuable resource in the past, and each time I focus on drawing more and more value. This current cycle I’ve already noticed a change in my behavior in these past few weeks: I’m cleaning up in anticipation of guests.

Whenever someone agrees to join your team, they are also entering a home. You and the rest of the team have been living and building and rebuilding there, for eight hours daily, in the dust and the muck. You’ve been able to build something that works (you’re hiring!), but there are always dirty areas that you would never write again. You know about these areas - you probably list them over a drink with other engineers.

I used to embrace this hacky code as historical education for the new hires. I would walk them through it and we would both agree that it sucked and that a better path was clear. Over the years, though, I’ve realized that this is just a waste of time. If we know what’s wrong and how to fix it, we should take the action as soon as possible. We should use the new perspective of the new hire to find new problems and think of new solutions.

So I’m taking some time this week to clean up the obvious, dirty areas of the codebase. I feel like I’m vacuuming the house before guests visit; rewriting the queueing logic for our background machine learning calculations. It’s making me even more excited for a new team member to enjoy the open air.