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My time at Outlandish by Aydarus Awow

15 Feb 2022

Not too long ago, I didn’t know what to be or where to go. A pretty ordinary situation, but it’s amazing to see the chain of events that can unfold through a single decision.

I decided to join the Kickstart programme after hearing the scheme from a previous employer. A government assisted program that helps those at risk of unemployment find a possible career path. I wonder if she was implying something? 

Regardless, I looked into the program and found a position titled ‘Web and communications trainee’. I said to myself “I like webs, and I very much like communications, this may be up my alley”, so I decided to apply and eventually managed to land the role after being interviewed by two very lovely ladies, and in the blink of an eye my life’s trajectory was shifted.

My first time entering SPACE4 was interesting to say the least. I was welcomed by many optimistic individuals, working in fields I never really heard of such as economic analysis and eco waste management but they all seemed to subscribe to cooperative values. 

Cooperative companies were a whole new concept to me and a breath of fresh air. A business model that valued worker ideas and inputs. My first real introduction to this was through a Sociocracy workshop where we practised some of the methods in which ideas can be fairly expressed by one another and truly understood.

An extremely valuable experience which resonated with me, the feeling of not being a product to be managed but an actual valued member is one that I can’t describe.

Eventually, I moved on to my first major project, Lift Off, which would be the catalyst to further projects in the future.

Lift Off is a group created to offer low cost yet efficient websites to local businesses and organisations. Essentially, a way for us to grow our skills in web development and communications and help those that couldn’t afford the usual pricing for a complex website. 

The creation of Lift Off was a great introduction to the world of technology, not only from the business and technical side but also in team building. Ideas didn’t always click between members but we always found a way to make it work. This showed me the importance of putting in the effort to build trusting relationships with team members and exercise understanding and compassion.

With any journey there are bound to be bumps in the road and my smooth sailing came to a halt. I was faced with a challenging project and gladly accepted, in hindsight this was a grave mistake. I wasn’t aware of how lacking my skill set was at this point in time and was quickly reminded by how difficult this project was for me. Long story short I ended up not delivering and felt extremely disappointed. What I took away from this whole experience is that it’s okay to express how you feel about a task and reach out for help. My attitude to please stopped me from doing this and ultimately bit me in the butt.

After this I had a lot to think about, what am I passionate about? How can I change my work ethic? How can I get better at scheduling? How can I open up more… 

I thought this over during the holiday period and came to the conclusion to hone in on web development and business development with a sprinkle of marketing. I realised I was spreading myself too thin and because of this everything I worked on was taking a hit. 

I made the decision to come back with a new attitude and to be dedicated to what I found worked well for me. This new outlook diminished all thoughts of self doubt and greatly improved my productivity and granted a boost to my relationships with co-workers. 

With this new sense of self, I was eventually assigned to developing a website for Cooperate Islington, a project spearheaded by Outlandish. Needless to say the project turned out great.

As a whole my time during the Kickstarter campaign has fleshed me out as a person and has opened my eyes to so many aspects of the tech world and office-based working. Specifically the importance of team bonding, self assurance and reflection. 

I now have a clearer path in life and a future career I want to pursue. I want to delve further into the coding world and eventually become a front-end developer. 

I’m not who I was a few months ago, I’ve become someone even better all thanks to the opportunity given to me by Outlandish and SPACE4. There are many people within the space who have positively impacted me whether they know it or not and this is an experience I will never forget.