Caroline is a Full-stack Developer at Flow, and says the best thing about her job is that she makes something very tangible. She built a Harry Potter fan site when she was 10, is regularly homesick for England - where she lived for 12 years - and lived very frugally for a year to save up for a house.
Harry Potter fan site
"When I was 10, I made a Harry Potter fan site with the help of some sort of manual for building websites. As a result, I learned a lot about html. Soon I discovered that you could do much more interesting things by not following the steps exactly, but writing your own code. Actually, I learned the most by just doing it. When I was three I already had a great interest in computers. My father had too, so we always had computers in the house, but he didn't know how to program. I really taught myself that."
"What I like about my job is that I make something very tangible: the app that people use. In my previous job, I was only a back-end developer, and that got boring. I lost the connection with the product. As a front-end developer you are constantly working on the product. It's very concrete; I can show my grandmother what I'm making, so to speak."
"When I chose computer science as an elective in fifth grade, I found out that I was pretty good at it. Then, of course, you start to like it even more. At the same time, I loved the English language immensely, but I didn't want to study English. As a kind of compromise, I decided to study computer science in Sheffield, England. The last year of my studies I was offered a job, and that's when I met my husband. All in all, I lived in England for 12 years. It's such a beautiful country, with incredibly friendly people - sometimes they can be a bit too polite, especially compared to the Dutch directness. Yet we wanted to move to the Netherlands, because in England everything went downhill in just a few years: healthcare, education, and poverty has actually increased. The Brexit was the last trigger, that's when we started making relocation plans."
"My husband, daughter and I have been living in Hoorn, where I am originally from, for two years now. We made a good choice, but I still feel a little homesick for England. Here we live in an ugly 80's house, there we had a beautiful apartment from 1890, with high ceilings and the original fireplaces still in it. From our house you had a wonderful view over the heathland, I looked out on it from my study. For my thirtieth birthday, my husband had a painting made of exactly that view. Really a great gift. I also miss the pork pies, the scones with clotted cream and of course the tea. Here in the Netherlands we only drink real English tea."
"I would never want a job at a multinational again. The charm of working for a start-up is that you are involved in many things at once: at Flow, for example, the product team works together with the designers and the marketing team. Another nice thing is that when you have lunch together, you have the whole company around the table - from the office manager and developer to the founders. The lines are short, and that way you can make more impact than with a large company. And everyone's e-mail address contains only their first name. Super personal, that's funny, right?"
"I was always a bit lax with my money, and that changed when we decided to move to the Netherlands. I knew: an international move like that isn't cheap, so then we started living more frugally and saving more. Once in the Netherlands, my husband and I started working for the same employer, who didn't pay monthly, but every four weeks. That confused our whole money system, which was based on living on our salary for a whole month. Then I started using Ernst Jan Pfauth's method, which is similar to Flow's: dividing your money across different jars, with clear goals. We had to get used to it at first: the first two weeks were always a party and then we had to see what supplies we still had in the cupboard to make up for the four weeks. But we got better at it and even lived very frugally for a year to save enough money to buy a house. Now that we've managed that, we can spend more on fun things again."
"I'm sure there are many people like me who have a fairly chaotic mindset, and therefore have little overview of their money. I truly believe that Flow offers the solution for those people. By building your own money system with the Flow app, you become more aware of where your money goes, your finances get in order and chaos gives way to overview. There are plenty of those budget apps that do give you retrospective insight into how you spent your money, but with Flow you really change your money behaviour in the future. Because my money goes to all kinds of jars, each with its own purpose, I always know whether or not I can get an ice cream when I'm in town. I think that's super nice."
"After reading Marie Kondo's book, I felt much less need to buy new stuff. By the way, that goes hand in hand with the desire to be considerate of the climate. Since we live in the Netherlands we don't have a car, but do everything by bike or public transport. We used to have washable diapers for our daughter, and I don't buy toys for her, but borrow them from the toy shop. That is such an invention! Every time we borrow something beautiful there, my daughter and I are so happy that I wanted to do something in return. So every other Saturday I work there as a volunteer. I am mainly busy with the scanning and counting of toys. So when people bring back a bin full of Playmobil, I have to check if everything is there. You can imagine that Playmobil is not a favorite among the volunteers, haha."