Career Planning

Barney had the distinct feeling that his career as "the girl's best friend" was over before it had really begun. He sincerely hoped that the girl's mum would continue to look after him.
Credit: flickr / David Blackwell

The other week I had a phone interview for what I thought was my dream job. In the days before, I realized that was the kind of thing I’d been doing. And then, I waited.

Meanwhile, work was going so-so. My computer broke – again – so I lost a day and a half on my Most Important Task (nothing remains of my original machine) plus the time it took me to reinstall everything I needed, and the MBA and I had an argument.

Aside from the awesome technical support, something that’s really amazing about Extreme Blue is how much support we get. So the organizers of the program sat us down for what became a 3-hour angsting session, explaining that our group had been put together knowing that we would end up in this place, and discussing personality quadrants.

My dominant quadrant is definitely my logic quadrant, so that conversation formed into an equation that frankly made my head explode. However, I tend to communicate from my relational quadrant – and as our MBA is detail-process oriented, with nothing in the relational… this had been causing problems. I thought he was being really rude and disrespectful, and I guess I just didn’t make any sense at all to him.

By Sunday, I had an equation that worked – our MBA is on the spectrum (you can take an online test to discover where you lie). And of course, as a compsci, I know and have known a lot of people who are. And so I know how to deal with it – in fact, I can’t believe I didn’t realize sooner but I guess I saw him as an MBA rather than a techie – so this week we’ve been getting on fine. I’m consciously communicating from my logic quadrant, and I’m now seeing that my input is considered, and also I’m getting the information I need out of him. He is also making a real effort to take constructive criticism.

The point of this histoire, is over the last week I’ve been having more and more of a hankering to code. And my other takeaway from this conversation on Friday, was a worry that I wasn’t seen as technical.

So when the results of the phone interview came back and I’m wasn’t through to the next round, I was disappointed. Especially because the woman who interviewed me had really strongly given the impression that she couldn’t be bothered with the whole thing. But I talked to my friend Dig, who was great, and I moved on to the next phase of what I’m doing at work – where I finally get to code – and ran into a roadblock so I got no further than a “hello world” test to verify my IDE was working.

So frustrating. But – it has made me glad I didn’t go further with this non-technical role – in fact, almost grateful to this woman. This job was probably the only non-coding job I would have applied for, or taken. And I applied because I think it’s a route to where I will end up – but what I’m realizing is, I don’t have to go there now.

In fact, I’m not ready to.

I have an on-site interview for an awesome software engineer job in July. And when I spoke to the EB guy (in fact, the one from Friday’s meeting) about who I should list on my resume he started a conversation about whether I wanted to progress to a proper job with IBM. And so I told him I’d spoken with one of my personal mentors (Sacha is amazingly helpful and supportive) and she’d given me some resources, so I was working on that too, but that I wanted something more technical than what I was currently doing. And he committed to helping me find the kind of opportunity that I want.

Wow. I don’t know what will happen next, but I have to tell you – right now I feel really lucky.

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