Skill Gaps

My Boss Once Regretted Hiring Me On My First Day

Hearing that your technical skills aren't up to par is a new employee's nightmare. Here's how I embraced my natural curiosity and communication skills to grow – and eventually founded my own company.

Gaurav Makhecha 0:00
And then he said, like, "who hired you?" and I said, "the boss," and he said, "okay, but if I was that, I would not have hired you."

Lee Ngo 0:12
Hello everyone and welcome to Educative Sessions, a podcast series with people in the developer world about their coding experiences. This is brought to you by Educative, which makes it easy for authors to provide interactive and adaptive courses for software developers. My name is Lee Ngo. Today, my guest is Gaurav, Mahek- Mak- Mak- hech- cha-sorry- I'm so sorry, you're gonna have to help me with that pronunciation, who is the founder of Freshbits. And today we're going to talk about a story of being- I'm going to say set up for failure, perhaps on the first day. Gaurav, thank you so much for joining the show.

Gaurav Makhecha 0:46
Thank you, and very nice to be here.

Lee Ngo 0:48
One more time. I'm so sorry. How do I pronounce your last name, or at least to the best of my ability?

Gaurav Makhecha 0:53
That's Go-rove Mak-he-cha.

Lee Ngo 0:55
Makhecha. So sorry, so sorry about that.

Gaurav Makhecha 0:57
That's fine.

Lee Ngo 0:58
Let's- let's move right along. So, you know, we were talking about possible things we wanted to talk about. Of course, you're a founder, you're a developer, got a lot of things going on. But I found the story of how when you started at a company once, the person that was your lead developer told you this: saying, "If I was present that day you were being interviewed, I would not have hired you." Like, what was going on there?

Gaurav Makhecha 1:27
So, I would say fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, that that person who was the team lead, they can get off all the projects of that company, a small company, that day I was interviewed was- was not present. And the boss, the main boss, who was owning- owns the company, he found my communication skills good. So I had, I guess, good theoretical skills of PHP, the language for which I was I applied for the job. And he just immediately said, "Okay, you're hired, and you can come from tomorrow." And the next day, I go there, the- the team lead is there. And he asked me some questions, more on practical side of things, which I was not sure about. And then he said, like, "Who hired you," and I say, "The boss." And he said, "Okay, but if I was there, I would not have hired you."

Lee Ngo 2:19

Gaurav Makhecha 2:20
But overall, it was- I mean, he was a good guy and- and he- after that, he accepted the fact that he also taught me well. The other guy was also there with me, this kind of refresher, we both refreshers and- and we- we thought from him that- that senior person, I- I still- I'm in touch with him. And he's- he's a great guy. We learned a lot of things from him.

Lee Ngo 2:43
So just to be clear, what was the issue? Was it because you didn't know enough of a certain language? Or was it a personality thing? What was- what- why did we- I mean, that's a pretty bold thing to say. Not a very morale-y boosting thing to say, right? Like, why would he say that?

Gaurav Makhecha 2:57
Yeah, yes, I was stunned for a while. It was mainly about the technical know-how, I would say. Knowledge of the practical things. All I did was two months course on language on PHP. So before that, I was into Oracle database and all that stuff. So that's why I did not know about many of the things that are required for you to know when you want to work on actual real projects with that language.

Lee Ngo 3:25
Gotcha. All right. And yet, you know, you ended up working for the company for over two years- I around two and a half years. So what did you do, I mean, first to potentially mend that relationship, but also find ways to grow and- beyond that first experience, you know, and- I'll just leave it there for now. Like, what- what- what helped you stick around in that company for so long?

Gaurav Makhecha 3:52
Yep. So as I said that- that- that person was very good. And he taught us well. Our journey from there onwards was very nice. We learned a lot of things there, which- which we're supposed to learn outside of that. But that taught me- taught me a lot. And as I said, my communication skills were very great. So I was talking with the clients, I was taking notes and that- that gave me the exposure required to know how- how projects are done. And so, on the one side, technical knowledge was also improving. On the other side, my communication skills and knowing how to manage projects were also- I was growing as a person and the development. Also I would say, as a manager, someone who understands the projects, how they're managed and stuff. So, two and a half years went by very quickly. And as- over a period of time, I realized like, I would not have been in this position if I was not there because I- I got all types of exposure in that company. It's just like we say that startups give you all types of exposure compared to big companies, kind of like that. A 10 people's team members company, and you are managing the client communication, you're managing the support, you're managing the development part as well. So it teaches you a lot. So it was a great journey. I found- I find that to be the- one of the most important parts of my life.

Lee Ngo 5:24
I love that I find that you seem to have a sense of humility and a positive reflection even- I mean, even for me- I- maybe I hold grudges more intensely than you might, but like, if someone said that to me, I'd be very much like, "Oh, I could never." But you seem to have recovered and see- found a sense of maturity and I admire that a lot. And you know, what's interesting is that, you know, you lasted for a long time in that company. But right now you're not with the company. You are working on your own, right? So tell us a little bit more about how that life was shaped by these kinds of experiences. And also, I think, for a lot of people who, you know, enjoy our show, want to know a lot more about this way of being employed as well. So share a little bit, if you can, share a little bit more about your life as an entrepreneur and a freelancer.

Gaurav Makhecha 6:15
It's been great. It's been seven years since I jumped into full-time freelancing. But while I was working at the company, on the side, I started freelancing via the online freelancing websites. Not for a very specific goal, I was not very sure if I would go into full time freelancing, but I just wanted to explore things. Some of my friends were doing it. And I just thought it would be a good experience. I would do some things on my own, not- not only the company, but on my own, that will- that will teach me something. So, it's gonna be something new, something fresh. And so, during the nighttime, after coming back from the company where I would- I would sit down and apply for the jobs. Again, it was hard, I mean, on those- those freelancing sites are very competitive. So, it took me some time, but I was not in a hurry, I was just exploring. So, they gave me a few projects, which- which was a very good feeling. More than money, it was about that- that learning, that experience. Getting in touch with the people who are just on the other side of the world, just like you are now. And project by project, as my confidence grew, I was able to talk with- with- I'm not a native English speaker. We're talking more with- with- mostly working with people from first world countries. I- I- my communication skills developed, and then I was very confident applying to more projects, learning more. And over a period of time, by the time I was like, around 2.5 years with that company, I realized that okay, now I think I can confidently take- go on my own, and it will be fine. I will be able to get enough for freelancing projects to keep going. So, and it was again, fortunately, it was very easy one. The company was also done- the boss was also okay that nobody see you and I go, "Yeah ok, you're fine, that's okay." And it's a great journey for- for people, I would say, I mean for others who wish to go on that path, I would say, first of all, you should try it only if you feel like you want to do it, not because someone tells you to do it. If- if I tell you that this- this journey is great and you will earn more, or maybe you will learn more, or whatever. But if you don't think it's- it's you- you want to do it, you feel like doing it, then I do not recommend someone just jumping out of their employment and go into production. Try it, see how it goes. And if you've not- it's not for everyone.

Lee Ngo 9:04
Right. I think-

Gaurav Makhecha 9:05
-So I-

Lee Ngo 9:06
Sorry, not to- I think you're absolutely right there. Because a lot of people- they- there's- there's always grass is always greener mentalities, right?

Gaurav Makhecha 9:15
Right, yeah.

Lee Ngo 9:15
I know a lot of people who were employed are like, "Gosh, oh, to be a freelancer to kind of set my own hours and you know, what have you." And then I mean, a lot of freelancers, at least in the United States who are like, "Oh, man, I gotta do my own taxes. And I got to make sure that- I've got to make sure that I got to get gigs and I've got to do my own marketing." And, you know, everything's difficult. And I think it would be interesting if you have curiosities, explore them. But if you- but I think the bad mentality, just to add is, if you, especially in technology, if something doesn't fit, you can always try something else, right? I have that sense of optimism, right? If you don't want to do freelancing anymore, go back into- find a company and someone will take you, right? But if you want to- it- I think it is tougher to leave a company and go into freelancing. But I'm inspired by your story because, you know, you willed yourself through, you know, speaking a language that your- that is not primary to you, to hustling around the world, to maybe keeping weird hours. But you know, it's been seven years. And that's incredible to make that work for so long, right? So we've actually come to the end of our questions, Gaurav. And- and I want to give you an opportunity to talk a little bit more about your work with Freshbits. And really, the floor is yours to share with you like.

Gaurav Makhecha 10:30
Well, really. So these days, we mostly work on the Laravel framework, which is a PHP programming language framework. And we focus on developing the back end systems. So whether it's an individual who needs to develop a system for- for his various work, a collaborator association, or a company, who are managing their operations on paper, or something like Excel, Microsoft Excel, we just developed systems for them to be able to manage their stuff from anywhere in the world and get- get better at it. It starts from that. And we develop very complex systems like point of sale systems, or Salesforce integration, and all that technical stuff. But basically, our journey has been good. And, as I mentioned, it's been seven years and we have been getting constant stream of good reference from- from the past clients, who have been very impressed by our work. And, yep, we are a small team now. I-I manage a group of people and it's been all great.

Lee Ngo 11:46
That's awesome. You know, really, congratulations on all of the success. And, you know, I was not sure, you know, whether you were a one person operation. But the fact that you are running your own team and operating like a founder, in a way, creating opportunities for other people as well, is just really wonderful to hear. You know, Gaurav, thank you so much for being on our show, and really just sharing your story. I really appreciate you taking the time, especially out- you know, you're halfway around the world from me, and it's such an honor for you to really take the time. I also want to thank everybody who's been listening or watching this session as well. You can check out more of our content on YouTube or you can listen to it on pretty much any major podcasting platform by looking us up at Educative Sessions. And, lastly, if you want to look up, really, Gaurav is an author with us on Educative so you can check out his work and other people's work So for all of us here at Educative thank you so much and happy learning. Bye bye now.

Gaurav Makhecha 12:45

Lee Ngo 12:46
I hope you enjoyed that session. This episode is available on YouTube and also on many podcast platforms. If you'd like to be part of Educative Sessions, the forum is open now to apply via the link below. You can also email me at Lastly, don't forget to like and comment on our content. Be sure to subscribe for us as well. And of course you can learn more about us Happy Learning.

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