And they did not run away

Posted: 27 January, 2019 Category: meta Tagged: workphilosophies

I've not had time to write this, but after reading about how others landed their dev roles, I wanted to jot down my own sequence for posterity. I'm not going to share this anywhere else, because I don't suggest people replicate it just for replicating's sake.

  • I don't prep for tech interviews. This is dangerous, but I think it's good for people to see all your shortcomings in all their gory glory. They can make their decisions faster. It also cements in your own mind what you suck at, so that if you decide to improve certain skills, you know what to hone in on. (I actually had to write back to one company to apologize for not prepping, and why, in case they felt it was a waste of their time. They wrote back and were seemingly cool about it. My being honest meant they could be honest about what they were looking for).

  • I don't prep for HR / HR-esque interviews. Slightly less dangerous (at least on paper, since the idea here is to show who you are, anyway). I no longer try to make myself sound like I can fit a template. I don't make up answers. I tell my truths. Do I try to present my failings as a human being in a positive light? Yes. I'm not a complete eejit. The point is to not have the failings work against you. The goal is to help others relate to you, and to demonstrate a wee bit of self-awareness. I've been on a mission to infect corporate culture with honesty in the interview process for quite a while now. It's a cross I'm willing to bear, in case it might make workplaces better for everyone.

  • I no longer fear tech that I don't understand or have never used before. This came about organically as a function of two things: age, and not having the time (read: patience) for things that refuse to work when I've done my level best, at my end. In other words, these days I'm generally trying to get things done, and tech is either helping or it's in the way. If it's in the way it I tell people it's in my way and I just keep trying. I win eventually. I am no longer willing to curl up in a ball in a corner whimpering and questioning my inability. Again... this is not because I've reached some kind of zenlike enlightenment. I'm just older and a great deal more tired.

  • I don't reciprocate in social media plaform games. I've never managed facebook... the UI alone always gave me the skin-crawling heebie jeebies. Twitter I suck at, but being a sucker for quickly changing data streams, I am willing to tolerate it just for that. At least until I can't take it anymore. LinkedIn I feel has an un-earned, outsize effect on what people decide to make of your "professional" self. I didn't leave it entirely, because I have connections on there I'd like to keep in touch with, and I am fickle enough that a future self might want to reverse course, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for recruiters and companies who feel lost at sea without a paddle just because they need your linkedIn profile. I also think this scares some places when you don't have a typical linkedIn profile (ooooh, she must have something to hide!). Right. Lil Miss boring over here.

  • I have very small aspirations now. Neurologically and psychically speaking, I've always been a big ideas person. The dissonance between what could be and what is has wreaked so much havoc in my mental life that, I realized in late adulthood that I had to wrestle it to the ground. It has caused me to lack appreciation where appreciation was warranted, and to not be grateful for things. Worse, it makes me a perpetual whiner / whinge-er. All the novel bleating about "gratefulness journals" is totally timely and on point. I am now on (well, attempting to get on) a path of minimalist, appreciative, craft/task-focused ways of being. Focusing on the small, realizing the small, refining and mastering the small... and appreciating it for what it is, perchance to attempt bigger things one day - should the universe unfold in such directions. I haven't mastered this yet, but I'm better.

  • This one isn't so much a what I did as a what I shall jolly well be doing, going forward: I'm going to do things that I like, HOW I LIKE TO DO THEM. As in, for the love of it, and mainly/only for myself and my own enjoyment. One of the problems I've had as a consummate generalist is that because I don't suck terribly at most things I try, it encourages people to push me toward doing it properly / professionaly / commercially / with better equipment / etc. This is fine for things I do fairly dispassionately (like coding)... but for arts and crafts, this hasn't worked for me AT ALL. Long before I've decided how I want to evolve my relationship with a particular art, craft or discipline, people have already decided how that path should unfold. What I've learned is that I need to guard my creative journeys... people with un-solicited feedback on what you could or should do next are annoying at best, and strangely de-motivating, when the venture at hand is an artistic or creative one. Especially when you're someone who does things for the reasons that I do (I'm a nihilist... guess why I do anything)... I don't like having people in my head when I'm trying to decide what my relationship to a subjective thing is.

Wow what a rambly post. I'll stop here! Deposited and filed.