My 2020 tech job search play by play

This was such a stressful process because I had no idea when I would be furloughed. There was no set date and client budget and priorities kept changing. There were a lot of unknowns, but at least I was still getting paid.

Additionally, holy shit tech job interview processes are hell. I mean, I knew this from previous experience but it felt more intense this time. I was working 40 hours plus juggling upwards of 10 personal and technical interviews a week along with the back and forth emails to get them scheduled. Plus take home code challenges on the weekends and some evenings.

In short, I would not have gotten through that without Trello, a calendar app, and shutting everything else down. I have a lot of wonderful, challenging catch up work to do.

The pluses of all that work though was that:

  • I was in demand for the first time in my life.
  • I got to see a ton of different interview styles and patterns.
  • I learned that I really prefer take home challenges and panel style interviews over pairing/whiteboards and a string of single person interviews.

I was rejected most of the time, mostly because I wasn’t up to snuff on algorithms. On the other hand, I actually rejected a few companies for the first time in my life. I got to learn about a lot of different industries and company structures. I also got to interview with Disney, but wasn’t upset about that rejection. It was a bad skill fit.

The end result? An emotional rollercoaster over the last week, particularly the last 2 days.

There were two companies who I really liked and where I had made my way through to the final offer stage. One (a consultancy) was going to be another week or so to final offer. The other (a startup) gave me a verbal offer on Monday, set to finalize on Friday.

The startup had me meet with the founder and scheduled the final offer chat. On Thursday afternoon, I was planning to accept the offer. I was happy with it and ready to sign on the dotted line. Then the consultancy opened door number two, asking if I had other offers or if they should see about accelerating their process.

I replied that I had indeed gotten an offer, but I was still very interested. What kind of acceleration was possible?

They accelerated. FAST. Like, within a couple hours and not with information but with an offer. I would get details in the morning.

It’s familiar territory. I can start there with confidence. But was I concerned about being pigeonholed as a consultant? The startup was still very attractive. The offer was going to be the deciding factor. Sort of. Along with a lot of talking things over with my family.

The offer came in the next morning (actually, there were weird glitches in the matrix all day Thursday and it had come in the night before but didn’t land in my inbox until the morning, but I digress). It was stellar. Hands down better than the startup. I was still undecided for a few reasons. There was a lot more talking through things.

In the end, I surprised everyone, including myself and my family, by taking the consultancy gig. Money and benefits weren’t the only factor. I also gelled considerably better with their founder and leadership. I’m likely pigeonholed in consultancy work, but tbh I’m 45 and I really don’t think I give a shit about that. It’s good, stable work that I know well. That’s an asset rather than a detriment from here on out.

At the end of the day, this process was a massive confidence boost. I know where my skills sit amongst my peers’. I know where my gaps are, but I also know that my approach and skills are really valuable in this industry. I’ve never been called “amazing” so many times in such a short period. I’m still processing that, but also taking it as a mandate for my next steps. It’s difficult to maintain imposter syndrome in the face of all that. 😀

I’m going to step into this new opportunity with joy.