I was never really sure what I was going to do with this blog.
It started because I was privately blogging each day of my interview gauntlet, largely to hold onto a time capsule of what I expected to be an eventful and pivotal week of my life. After my interviews, I was reasonably confident I had learned enough to share my experience. I talked to a friend about everything and boiled my week down into 2600 words, then made a Medium account and posted my takeaways. It was that or a Reddit post, but Medium was prettier. 🤷♂️
I distinctly remember my phone blowing up out of nowhere (not in the Samsung way, in the good way) during a meeting in my first few months of work. It wasn’t until I checked the “External referrals” pane on Medium that I understood what had happened. Someone had submitted my post to HackerNews and it had become the top submission. With it came a lot of discussion about how broken tech interviews were and how my experience clearly proved them as such. I suppose the legitimacy of tech interviews nowadays is a separate topic, though. 🙂
There was discussion on Twitter and Facebook as well, much of it mirroring the comments on HackerNews . It even showed up in a daily financial newsletter I enjoyed reading each morning. The referral pane also showed that it had been translated into multiple other languages and subsequently posted on international message boards. On that note, it seems that some Russians have doubts as to my authenticity. Can’t win ’em all, I guess. 😅
Following the wild success — at least relative to my expectations — of the first post, I wrote another on the second phase of my job hunt, my negotiating process. This time, I asked a publisher upfront to host my second post, and again, Medium distributed it, it hit the top of HackerNews, and it blew up from there. All told, the two pieces totaled 500,000 views and 30,000 claps, plus 104 “reading hours” since Medium added the stat this past October. I’m sure someone’s making at least a little bit of money off of that fact. I’m certainly not. I’m not even sure how monetization works on Medium.
A variety of outlets wanted to either host the pieces, have me write new pieces, or get an interview, though I didn’t have much interest and declined all of the offers/requests. I care a lot about my anonymity; only one other coworker knows about this blog. Anything I do at this point publicly would come across as self-promotional or as a big advertisement for my employer. There was already rampant speculation about my “endgame” and lending credence to those is certainly not it.
I still get lots of DMs on Twitter from people asking for personal advice. Keep those questions coming, by the way. It’s been very rewarding having people check back in months after we chat and telling me how much they’ve accomplished.
Anyway, I wrote my original posts considering an audience of “me”. If I rewound time, what would I have wanted to read?
I’d have wanted to hear how I prepared for interviews, how the interview process actually went, and what information I could only glean from actually taking the interviews. And I probably would have wanted it to be nicely bulleted, a quick reference to motivate me when everything seemed so impossible. So, I wrote exactly that, drawing on my week-long experience interviewing in Silicon Valley.
What about after that? I would have wanted to hear how to negotiate with the cards I was dealt, and I would have wanted encouragement to negotiate. Everyone knows you should, but that’s far easier to say than do, and who knows how it actually works? Who’s been there? It’s pretty easy to parrot common sense and common advice but it’s another thing entirely to actually go through the process. So, I wrote about it, and included (approximate) numbers as they moved throughout the process.
Now, a year later, I’m again thinking about what I would have wanted to read a year ago. I think it’s pretty obvious: I’d want to know how my first year went.
- Did it live up to my expectations (it did, and then some)?
- What’s work like (more fulfilling as I could have hoped for)?
- What’s life like (wonderful)?
- How’s my relationship (we’re engaged now)?
So, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll write something up on my first year in the Valley. Honestly, I spend so much of my time observing the world around me that it would be a waste to not scribble it down, if anything for future mockery.
After I recap the last year, though, I think I’ll mix things up a bit in 2020. I’ve spent so much time thinking about what me-of-the-past would want to read that I’ve neglected me-of-the-future. I’ll probably write up my thoughts on performance reviews. Maybe I’ll talk a bit about how they’ve gone for me and what I’ve learned from them. Maybe I’ll write about what it’s like on the other side of the interview table. I don’t know yet. If there are specific items of interest to you, please let me know. I’d love to write about what people want to read about. 😊
I’m certain that a grizzled, older version of myself would love to read what the green, youthful version of myself thought about things. I’m sure it’ll make great conversation about just how little I knew and how much I thought I understood.
Even reading my old private blogs after each interview is interesting now. I want to see what that looks like, except across an entirely engineering career in the Valley. Plus, writing is very cathartic for me, and even with a single clap, it’ll lighten my mental burden.
This blog will be my little time capsule of what life was like in the modern day gold rush that is Silicon Valley, and while it won’t be distilled into bite-sized bullet points, I hope you’ll come along for the ride. 🎢