I’d mentioned a contact from a recruiter who had recruited me a few years ago, but some uncertainty about whether or not I had the bonafides needed to be cleared up. We cleared it up, then dead air. I gave it a few days, then sent a bump email (bumps the thread back to the top of their inbox). He responded close to the end of the day. He apologized for the delay and asked for times for a potential call with the HM (Hiring Manager).
I got an email later in the evening about a PM II role at a company I hadn’t applied to, but the email was coming in via an address I hadn’t used with Monster or CareerBuilder. I started reading and this wasn’t a recruiter contacting me. It was someone responding to a recruiter.
I scrolled through the quoted messages, searched my Gmail archive, and figured it out. This was someone who had been preparing to volunteer with Seattle CoderDojo… until we called off our first meeting of 2020 due to COVID. So we’d exchanged a few emails. Meanwhile, the recruiter’s name was Gregg (with two Gs). I’m guessing she typed in “Greg” and Gmail auto-filled the “to” field with my address.
I replied to her, explaining the error as kindly as I could, wished her good luck, and said I hope she does great. And I do.
This morning found an invite for a call with the HM mentioned above.
One of yesterday’s HM screens went well and we’ve booked a follow-up with the CTO next week. It’s a small start-up, but cool.
Another of yesterday’s HM screens went well, for an internal advocacy role working on the internal developer culture for a company with a couple hundred devs. But I ended up not seeing myself in the role. This morning I told the recruiter I was going to withdraw. I could see myself getting the full loop, getting the offer, and even jumping in with both feet on the first day. At the start I’d be all excited and productive, but 6-12 months in, I’d be feeling like I was missing opportunities to bring my full self to the job and that would cause me to leave.
That’s one of the things I’ve loved about Developer Advocacy/Evangelism. In certain roles, it’s really about bringing my whole self to work: my tech skills, my writing skills, my speaking skills, my teaching skills, my SWAG design skills, and the weirdness from which my creativity springs.
Got another response on a more writing/editorial focused role I applied for with a tech services company. They were interested in talking and I set up an appointment for next week, but then I read their culture page: “If you admire the culture at places like Amazon, Tesla, Intel, and startups that push the limits of innovation while demanding extreme time and energy to become a success, then you will love working at [company].” (emphasis mine) I cancelled the appointment and sent this reply:
Thanks for the link to the culture page. After reading it, I cancelled the appointment I made. “…demanding extreme time and energy…” in a culture statement speaks to me of a toxic culture.
I am not trying to come off as angry or resentful. I am being frank and I am withdrawing my application. I am very good at what I do and I deliver results, but this choice of words shouts churn-and-burn culture to me. I want to join a company where I’m a brick in the foundation, not a stick in the fire, and a management that would consciously use that precise phrase is not one with which I would feel comfortable.
Being blatantly obvious that you’re going to demand people sacrifice work-life balance to succeed was becoming “a bad thing™” before COVID. Now it’s even worse. Of course, their take on my response would likely be that I have a bad attitude. No. I have boundaries and I am senior enough in my career to have learned the importance of protecting them. With COVID and nearly everyone in tech working from home, those boundaries got blurred and I let myself get overwhelmed.
Part of my sabbatical was about defining boundaries and getting clarity on the duties and culture where I would thrive. I want to do the most good, be part of the most epic things, and have the most fun. And I’m willing to work hard to do that. But I also want to be able to put the work down at the end of the day/week and enjoy the other things in my life the work makes possible. All work and no play makes Greg a dull boy.
From the Boards
Slowing into Wednesday… 5 from Monster and 2 from CareerBuilder. Java, Java, Java, Java. 6-12 month contracts located thousands of miles away, many with remote allowed only until COVID restrictions relax. I have known a contract dev who liked going out of state for contracts for 3-6 months at a time with periodic visits home. That’s not me.
In December, I started working out the solutions to questions in the Coding Interview Prep collection at freeCodeCamp. I did it for two reasons: 1) even the top pro basketball players practice free throws and layups, and 2) because I did not get a CS degree and picked up most stuff on an as-needed basis, this fills in some gaps for me. I’m starting to publish my write-ups (solution code and an explanation of my approach to the solution) under the interview questions tag. I published one yesterday, then set up today and tomorrow’s posts last night.
Since the original write-ups were in Markdown with a lot of “inline code fences” (
small code snippets in the midst of a sentence), finding a good solution for using that Markdown here was a bit of a task. But I got it done with JetPack for using Markdown in posts, then a code-highlighting plugin for code blocks of one or more full lines.
I talked to Google today. Those of you who know me know I’ve had TERRIBLE luck with Google candidate experiences. But I don’t want to rule anything out. The recruiter I talked to was really nice and while she wasn’t recruiting for something I was interested in, within an hour she’d connected me with someone who was. More to come.
The old contact’s call happened and I wasn’t feeling the product. The HM was super nice and I think the role has some great potential, but it felt like more of a Technical Community Manager role, not an advocacy or evangelism role.
Another recruiter call happened and that’s looking to move to a HM screen.
Meanwhile CareerBuilder sent me a promoted role as an Inventory Supervisor. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good, honest work. It’s just A) not in my experience wheelhouse (haven’t done inventory since the 90s and never supervised it), B) I’d have to work more hours a month than there are in a month to make what I was making just in base salary at my last job. There’s something poignant and socially relevant about a Principal tech role and a Supervisory warehouse role being so far apart, but I am not going to dissect it tonight.
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