Gratitude at Recursion

Written By:
Tatjana Kanashiro
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Years ago, someone told me I could choose two of three attributes in a job: good pay, a mission I believe in and enjoyment of the day-to-day tasks your job entails. This maxim was satisfied in varying permutations by previous jobs I’ve held, until I started working at Recursion. Recursion is different because it satisfies all three conditions, which I’ve come to think of as conditions for a dream job. Let me explain.


Image: Three story climbing wall at Recursion HQ (Recursion photo)


The pay and benefits are great. It’s hard to argue with stock options, a generous vacation policy, and an onsite three-story climbing wall. One benefit that both my husband and have been particularly grateful for this year is Recursion’s health coverage, which covers us both fully. During the summer break (a week in July when the entire company shuts down) my husband and I traveled to British Columbia to mountain bike. My husband, Ken, had a bad fall and broke his back. During the ensuing days we spent at the hospital in Vancouver, I discovered that the substantial costs we were incurring by not being citizens of Canada would be covered by our health insurance plan. 

When we got home, I shared that we were in search of an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon in the area. Hours later, I had a message from Chris Gibson, CEO & Co-founder of Recursion, with doctor recommendations and well wishes. The following week, we received an edible fruit basket from my engineering team, none of whom had even met my husband yet. Ken made a full recovery. We are both very grateful for the recovery, the health coverage and the care shown by my fellow Recursionauts. 

The two jobs I had before joining Recursion were both in the financial sector. I enjoyed them, but the “mission I believe in” part of the three conditions did not particularly apply. Joining a company with the mission “decode biology to radically improve lives” seemed like a step in the right direction. It’s hard to understand the concept of “radically improving lives” in more than an abstract way until we connect it to stories of what patients have gone through and what could be prevented if/when we succeed — debilitating symptoms that can be relieved, losses that can be prevented, lives that can be saved. Hearing patient stories reminds me how grateful I am for the opportunity to work on something that can help alleviate suffering. Everyone I have talked to about this at Recursion feels a deep connection to our shared mission, I’ve heard it time and time again.


Image: Recursion HQ and our mission


There is passion for the mission, and also about the work itself. My coworkers are nerds, in the best possible way. As a software engineer, I am encouraged to learn and understand the science my team and I are enabling, rather than just handing off deliverables. I know that if I have a question about anything, one of my teammates will be not only willing, but excited to explain it to me. 

I also get to nerd out in the engineering domain itself. At the beginning of October,  I attended an engineering conference called Strange Loop. It was great to learn what others in the field are thinking about and an awesome opportunity to connect with coworkers. At Recursion, we are encouraged to continually be learning, and are given many opportunities to do so. One of the early projects I worked on was in a language I had never used before — Clojure. It was daunting at first, as I had not done much functional programming and it felt very alien. A few of my fellow engineers are very passionate about Clojure and took the time to pair program with me until I got a better grasp of it. Now, I seek out projects in Clojure because I’ve come to enjoy it. It’s still challenging, but I’m lucky to have many incredibly knowledgeable and caring colleagues who always take the time to answer my questions. 

One of the things I am most grateful for at Recursion is how passionate and open everyone is about helping each other and sharing knowledge. It’s an ideal I try to keep in my mind for how I interact with those around me. I had the opportunity to mentor an awesome intern last year, and tried to be for her what my more experienced coworkers are for me: available to answer questions and bounce ideas back and forth, knowledgeable (I did a lot of googling), and passionate about my work. I like to think I at least somewhat succeeded, because she is set to return to Recursion as a full-time employee!

It’s not a stretch to say Recursion checks the three boxes of a dream job and more (did I mention the climbing wall?). Our HQ also happens to be located in the city I most want to live in, due to its proximity to the mountains. I’m grateful that Recursion exists here and now, with the amazing people I have the privilege to work with every day, and that it had an opening for a developing software engineer at the beginning of 2019. 


Interested in joining us? Visit recursion.com/careers and apply today!