This Is What Autonomy at Work Looks Like

This Is What Autonomy at Work Looks Like

For a long time, I felt like a software engineering Goldilocks. I tried working for different companies while I looked for the right fit.

I worked at small agency doing client work with lots of rules—where the amount of time I spent at my desk mattered. And people lurked behind me to see what I was working on. It was stifling.

Next, I worked at an early stage startup as employee #1. Every day, I questioned whether I was working on the right thing. I found myself doing things at which I was horrible just to pave the way for the real work I wanted to do. It felt like I wasn’t getting anything done.

Then I came to Articulate and it felt just right. I found a culture that values my autonomy—the autonomy I need to do my best work.

The thing about autonomy is, it is really just being given the tools and freedom to do your job. If you are hired as a software engineer, it’s the freedom to engineer software. If you are hired in support, it’s the freedom to support customers.

Autonomy gives you all you need to get the job done and nothing more.

So, what does autonomy look like?

It’s making big changes in your team’s processes with no red tape.

It’s taking on learning new skills that are a little out of your wheelhouse because you believe it will help you do your job better. And it means getting the support to do that.

It’s when you realize midway through a project that the initial architecture doesn’t feel right anymore—and you have the freedom to jump in and find a better solution.

It’s taking on a big project with little direction.

And it’s not just the work, but also how you do it.

It’s deciding to pair or not to pair.

It’s jumping on the phone to talk out a problem or stepping away from the computer to take a walk to mull it over independently.

It’s doing the work that requires your full attention at the time of day you are at your best.

It’s closing Slack and going “dark” to code.

At Articulate, we embrace all these ways to get the work done. In the end, it’s about each and every one of us doing our job and doing it well.

I challenge you to take some time to think about how you work best—and how your team works best. What changes could help you work better? What are you really good at? Where could you use some help? And don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to be autonomous.

Articulate is filled with so many different teams and roles that I know autonomy looks really different across the company, but that is kind of the point, right?