On to Smaller and Better Things!

My time with Udacity has come to an end. I made some amazing lifelong friends out of it and learned enough to fill a book but I decided it was time for me to trundle along to a new opportunity. So I’m excited to announce that I’m joining Scripted as a JavaScript Engineer! It’s going to be a bit of a brain warp focusing most of my efforts on the front end but I’m ridiculously excited for the opportunity and working with the awesome new coworkers that I’ve met so far. The team is much smaller and very careful to cultivate their culture and I just felt right at home the minute I came on site for my interview with them (as an aside: sort out culture fits first or you will be miserable no matter how potentially amazeballs you think a project is). I really look forward to diving back into my JavaScript roots and being able to geek out about all the upcoming changes.

My other hope in this transition is to get back into mentoring more. Working in Mountain View and attempting to mentor in SF was super draining on me, but now that I’ll be working in SF, I want to pour more of my free time back into mentoring and helping others join this awesome ride that is the tech industry. So I’ll be spending some time thinking about how to approach that aspect.

Interviewing with Impostor Syndrome

As my abilities grow at Udacity, so to do my responsibilities. I give code reviews, I help mentor some of our junior engineers, and I lead my small internal team as a sometimes engineer/sometimes PM. But probably the scariest monster I have had to face was the idea of interviewing others. Even with all of the awesome things I know in my brain I’m doing here, my jerkbrain asks me how am I supposed to interview other people when I’m not even sure I could get through this on the interviewee side of the table?

Like many people, I’m not so good at taking my own advice, but maybe, just maybe my advice can help someone else, on either side of the table.

Dont listen to your jerkbrain

  1. Listen to the manatee. You are smart and pretty. Say it, say it again, say it while power posing. The stupid phrase “fake it until you make it”, unfortunately it’s right.
    Afraid of myself
  2. You’re just as afraid of it as it is of you. (caveat: unless “it” is an asshole, but you don’t want to work for/with assholes, amiright?) On either side of the table you care about what the other person thinks of you and not sounding dumb (the only upside to being on the interviewer side is that you’re not usually going it alone, there are other people interviewing as well).
    Let me hug you
  3. They just want to be loved. Generally the number one thing I’m looking for in either case is whether or not I think I could work with this person. Honestly, even if you’re giving me a tech answer and it’s not right but I can see where you’re going and you’re been an awesome person to talk to and work with the problem on, I’m going to leave that room feeling pretty favorable about you. On the interviewer side, I really want you to like me and be comfortable and do well, it feels like a failing on my side if I haven’t helped you with that (recheck my caveat about working with assholes if you’re not feeling it).
    It's not you, it's me.
  4. It’s not you, it’s me. We all have off days and, maybe unfortunately, we’re all human. If you completely fumble or you don’t understand why we could have passed on you. It might be us. We know our team, we know our product and maybe we know that you wouldn’t be happy here or don’t think we’d all have an awesome time working together. For interviewees, off days happen, interviews might tank. Reflect, move on, it sucks but it’s not the end of the world. Even if that was your dream company of rainbows and ponies, they probably weren’t. There are probably lots of other companies doing equally cool things that would be thrilled to have you.