Dear future colleague, we are all rooting for you to succeed

A portrait of the author Johan Himberg

Dear Future Colleague,

I knew hardly anything about Reaktor when I applied in 2014. I just knew that a couple of my former colleagues had recently joined the company, and that one of them had told me that there is next to nothing wrong in Reaktor – it’s kind of disturbing, really

At the time, I didn’t know much about agile software development, your Kanbans, your Scrums. I certainly was not the bike-racing, beard-waxing cool kid I’d imagined populated the corridors of a company like Reaktor. I’ll admit to trying to get in on the whole frothy espresso-based beverage trend, but quickly went back to filter coffee and whole milk. Coming from the traditional corporate and research institution world, I was astonished by how the office was so cozy, with mix-and-match working spaces and endless ice cream, and how everyone seemed to know everyone.  

Fast forward to 2022: we have several offices around the world, it’s no longer physically possible for everyone to know everyone, hipsters are probably no longer a thing, and I’m officially back out of the loop on what is hip. While the company has grown and changed – and I have grown and changed, too – I like it here all the same.

While change is imperative for us to keep learning, stay curious, and evolve as a community of both professionals and individuals, some things never change at Reaktor. And those things, dear future colleague, are what I’d like to tell you about next. 

Years ago, we did a company-wide exercise to collect the values of Reaktor, bottom-up. The ubiquitous flood of post-its back then was, again, something I had never seen before – and while I have forgotten the marketing-ready, polished values, one quote stuck with me:

 All Reaktorians are rooting for you to succeed in your work.

This, I think, is one of the most important values that has held through the years. In general, internal aphorisms and comments made in casual conversation – not formal, corporate values – often capture the essence of what it’s like to work somewhere.

A portrait of Johan Himberg

Here are some of my favorite aphorisms that I believe form the basis of the Reaktor community, both now and eight years back. I make a conscious effort to cultivate them, and I know others do as well.

 If you’re wondering who should be taking care of something, it is probably you, a quote often attributed to my respected colleague Timo Suomela

For the first five years in the company, I learned from seniors. The past five, I’ve been learning from juniors, concluded an anonymous senior reaktorian in a conversation about continuous learning.  

When you’re here to support your peers, your competition is self-competition. I said this. Here, to you. 

I now realize I have yet to tell you what I actually do at Reaktor. 

I’m a data scientist with a long career both as a university researcher and as a consultant. My work at Reaktor is challenging, in the truest sense of the word. Sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes interesting, sometimes boring. I’m happy that my work brings value to others, independent of my feelings. I take my work seriously, but wouldn’t say it’s the number one thing bringing meaning to my life. Humans – family, friends, colleagues – are. 

After eight years, having experienced all the good, the bad, and the shiny this company has to offer, I can attest to this: beyond all the glitz and glamor associated with the digital innovation business, Reaktor is a great place for filter coffee people like me. We are people who care more about other people than the grind, who don’t subscribe to the whole rock star rhetoric but appreciate what the rest of the band can do and can do for them.

Let’s hook you up with a favorite saying of your own – join our community of doers, dreamers, and plain humans.

Dear future colleague: A series of letters written by Reaktorians.

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