A short, learning experience

In my entire career thus far, the paid jobs that I’ve found meaningful work at, I hadn’t actively sought out. Those really had ended in the best way possible at that time. I sincerely believe that God had placed me in those opportunities at the right moment.

At the only job I sought out on my own initiative, I didn’t last more than a month, but when I look at the individual process and parts as a whole, the whole experience lacked cohesion:

  • I’ve read warnings to stay away or take caution on interview assignments that seem applicable or feasible with the industry or the company you’re interviewing for. This is problematic for several reasons including that the interviewers know the problem space more intimately than you, and there is a risk that your work could be used later on (for free). Yet, I did it anyway. I later learned that they had experimented with the design problem in real life, but it didn’t work out. 😠
  • During this take-home assignment, they set up a slack space for interviewees to ask any questions. At the time, I didn’t realize that external guest accounts and other employees were able to lurk (they weren’t members of the channel, but they were “online” in the space). I had seen an employee and an external guest online, and I had asked about it as I had incorrectly thought that maybe I was seeing another interviewee unintentionally. The HR interviewer seemed surprised. I misinterpreted that perhaps it was a security flaw and even logged it with Slack directly. It turns out it was someone external from the company’s board. They never told me this, but months after my departure, I realized this when they hired the same person into the organization, and the name matched.
  • As a part of the interview process, they asked me to create a 30-60-90 day plan if I was hired into the role. This was another item that might be interpreted as possible free work. This plan was neither referred to nor was any feedback given about it during my time there.
  • I felt a little out of place but dismissed it when I saw that nearly the entire new hire group were young, white women with long, blond hair and make-up. It wasn’t until someone else pointed out the lack of diversity later that I thought back to that feeling.
  • I had a conversation with the HR manager at an event (before I started looking at the company) that they were in the process of hiring someone else for this role. I didn’t ask why that didn’t work out when I realized this after I started (I may have felt a bit smug about it, which isn’t an attitude of humility at all, yikes).
  • During the first weeks there, all new hires were supposed to create a shop experience, but my manager didn’t tell me anything. So while the rest of the new hires had that setup and going, I didn’t find out about it until quite late.
  • I do appreciate that my manager had asked me the day before my final day what could’ve gone better, but hindsight is foreshadow, and perhaps that was the exit interview, and perhaps the HR hiring/onboarding feedback that another HR employee asked for was really an exit interview in disguise as well. I fully expected that both HR and my manager would respect my set work hours and not schedule a termination meeting after/outside my working hours. My manager had asked about the block in my calendar, and I had told him I was flexible that day and could miss whatever I had already scheduled (I believe it was extracurricular/development-related). It’s one thing to meet on good terms, but to meet about my termination during my off-work hours seems especially disrespectful —I made a point to mention it to the HR manager when we met up the following day to return the laptop as this bothered me the most (it wasn’t that I was terminated; it was how they went about it). She apologized.
  • The one other time that I felt like I was overlooked and back at elementary school again was when a dog at the office peed on my bag. A C-level exec walked by and commented someone had spilled apple juice and seemed to brush off my comment that no, actually, a dog urinated on my personal property (ugh), leaving me to clean up someone else’s dog’s mess. I think I later heard that there used to be another dog or something that sat/near under my desk, so this dog liked to mark his property.
  • After talking to a peer in the industry, I did feel a bit better in terms of output, as the number of sessions that we did get through in a month seemed reasonable (28+), but the expectations weren’t clear, and it wasn’t a good fit.

Less than a year later, an exodus and high turnover happened, and the pandemic hit, so who knows what would’ve happened anyway. Plus, God put me in a spot with meaningful work that I would’ve never applied or looked at in the first place, and I was able to take the technology that I learned to use and collaborate with other team members on it in a faith-based project shortly after!

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