jobs-discuss

Job hunting, interview process and anything related to the experience of a job writing the Clojure language.
Functional Miles 2019-05-15T08:38:53.111400Z

Hey everyone, Miles from Functional Works here 🙂 I have another question for you: What do you look for when looking for a new position? -Is it the tech stack being used: Clojure, Clojurescript etc. -Is it management style? -Is it the ability to have working from home days? I'd be keen to get your thoughts. - Please comment in this thread 🙂

alexlynham 2019-05-15T09:36:51.113900Z

- do they talk to users? - what’s the tech stack? - do they understand their problem area adequately? - is their product a good market fit? - what is the quality of the people that work there? - how do they handle and respond to change? - how long is their runway? (if applicable) - do they allow remote? (lower priority if they’re local to me)

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dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:45:00.114800Z

- what are the immediate technical challenges being faced?

dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:45:16.115100Z

- how is the software deployed?

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dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:45:42.115700Z

- how long would it take to have a development environment up and running locally

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dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:46:08.116200Z

- what OS(s) are permitted and what is the security/internet policy

dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:46:41.116700Z

- what tools are permitted/used in development?

dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:47:11.117400Z

- what ratio of time per week is allowed for self investigation/learning new stuff?

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2019-05-15T09:52:57.119400Z

- work/life balance, how often have people had to work overtime to hit a deadline milestone

alexlynham 2019-05-15T09:53:07.119700Z

@dharrigan that’s a great final point. Many jobs have promised 10% time and not delivered on it… having the time to do your job properly is important

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dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:54:07.120200Z

At my place of work, Fridays are usually self learning/presentations etc..

dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:54:37.120900Z

Of course, if there is a production downtime etc.., (which very rarely happens), or a customer issue, then all-hands-at-the-pump

dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:54:58.121400Z

but those don't happen that often. Fridays are a great time to learn and try out new stuff, which only feeds back to the company to improve things!

dharrigan 2019-05-15T09:55:00.121600Z

.

orestis 2019-05-15T12:41:07.122400Z

Good stuff in here, I’m stealing these questions to make sure job openings have answers to them 🙂

3Jane 2019-05-15T13:02:24.124800Z

all of these are actually immaterial to me…

3Jane 2019-05-15T13:03:43.125800Z

I mean, they’re important if you’re running the business, but honestly? I don’t care if the work mandates this over that IDE

3Jane 2019-05-15T13:06:02.128300Z

How about these: - what are the success criteria for the position? do they square with the employee’s values, personality, strengths? - where is the employee expected to end after working at the position for a year, two years, five years? Does the company even have a plan for developing its workers? - (on that note, does the company employ juniors?) - do the managers actively coach employees and sponsor employees’ development, or are you left to figure things out on your own? - are coworkers mostly supporting each other, or are they in direct competition? (eg stacked ranking) - do coworkers socialise (out of their own initiative, not company-mandated), or do they go home at 5pm?

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3Jane 2019-05-15T13:11:14.130800Z

- what kind of behaviours are rewarded? (relevant presentation, “Being Glue” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KClAPipnKqw&list=PLBzScQzZ83I_qiY6iuS-jHmp1QvdE8m5_&index=9 or slides/writeup here: https://noidea.dog/glue )

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:11:53.131700Z

Oh I don't know. When I was interviewing for a new job, it was very important to me (for example) on how the software was deployed and how long it would take me to run up a local development environment.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:12:28.132700Z

To say all of those questions are immaterial may be fine for you, but for others some may have relevance.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:12:38.133100Z

Some may be useful for others

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:13:11.133900Z

I think each developer looking to join a company has to make the choices (to them) which questions they need to ask

3Jane 2019-05-15T13:13:14.134100Z

For the day to day quality of life, yes. For a career, in the next position you will not be able to take your dev env with you, but you will carry the contacts.

3Jane 2019-05-15T13:14:26.135900Z

anyway, sure (updated above to reflect that they’re immaterial to me, but this is genuinely career advice I would give someone, from the perspective of 10 years and 4 companies in)

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:14:46.136400Z

I don't know. I seem to have had a pretty good career, and have very little to worry about contacts - mostly I've found jobs via normal means and being good at what I do.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:14:51.136600Z

Of course, YMMV.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:16:52.138600Z

I also find that in the past 4 roles I've been in, I have been able to take my environment with me, since I tend to filter for companies that only work with Linux and the JVM.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:17:12.139200Z

Thus, the setup - in terms of env has pretty much been the same.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:17:53.139600Z

Give me a terminal, vim and a nice monitor, and I'm happy 🙂

orestis 2019-05-15T13:32:29.141400Z

What about collaboration? Do you care about pair-programming, mob-programming, code reviews, pull requests etc?

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:33:01.141700Z

Code Reviews yes, Pull Requests yes, everything else <meh>

dharrigan 2019-05-15T13:33:53.142300Z

I think alot of agile is just cargo-cult tbh.

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:20:06.142700Z

@lady3janepl Being Glue blew my mind

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3Jane 2019-05-15T14:21:57.144200Z

it was the kind of thing I wish someone showed me multiple years ago

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:22:04.144700Z

@orestis gp - I often ask about pairing because companies who never pair (e.g. through a hard bug in a critical place) is a red flag, companies who always pair is a red flag (for me, ymmv as always)

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:22:23.145100Z

(I’m the kind of person who picks up essential things others ignore, for the good of the team… with predictable results.)

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:23:21.145800Z

re pairing, i’d say this is one of those things where you have to make sure a position is appropriate for the employee personality

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:25:06.148Z

Things like extraversion, noise sensitivity, performance stress, preferred working hours (I know people who work best at 7am, and some who start around noon and do best work around midnight.) Unfortunately a lot of that is not surfaced in job ads. I wonder why - it would make it possible for companies to stand out on quality of life (because different characteristics make up “quality of life” for different people).

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:29:52.152200Z

> (I’m the kind of person who picks up essential things others ignore, for the good of the team… with predictable results.) yep, & then you burn out and leave (well, I did anyway, haha) > re pairing, i’d say this is one of those things where you have to make sure a position is appropriate for the employee personality 👍 💯 so much this watching somebody with anxiety or extreme introversion having to pair with the wrong person is like cruel and unusual punishment > Things like extraversion… I often wonder if companies have literally never thought of this, although obv some movement in our sector on working hours

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:31:06.153200Z

sometimes I’ve found senior people who manage others that have literally not ever understood the meaning of the terms ‘introvert’ and extrovert’

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:31:20.153700Z

& you explain it and they go ‘whoa okay’

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:31:24.154Z

cue 🤦

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:32:29.155200Z

I mean… people that I know who know about these things fall into these categories: 1) studied psychology 2) have been in therapy / counselling 3) are married to a therapist / counsellor 4) have been to manager training 5) very sharp HR people, but zero tech training, so kept out of tech recruitment

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:32:35.155600Z

so what do you expect?

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:34:41.157400Z

Managers at small companies that I know have been promoted and are evaluated based on project management.

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:37:15.160Z

I know one manager at a huge company that’s been sent to managerial training, and who has a degree that included psychology and sociology, and he’s knowledgeable, but culturally, this is neither common knowledge, nor, I think, even perceived as a necessary thing in companies. Having people fill out Myers-Briggs (basically a horoscope in terms of scientific reliability) is as far as it goes.

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:37:53.160400Z

> (basically a horoscope in terms of scientific reliability) 😂

chrstphrhrt 2019-05-15T14:39:15.161800Z

just wanna say this is a sweet community, having just joined and read in this channel a bit.. people seem pretty down to earth compared to e.g. HN machismo

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:40:07.162200Z

welcome! (also whispers love your cat 😄 )

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3Jane 2019-05-15T14:41:24.163400Z

come for the brackets, stay for the ( community )

chrstphrhrt 2019-05-15T14:41:43.164200Z

on the topic of being glue, how does one avoid falling hard into a funk of "I TOLD YOU SO" and resentment? has anyone ever recovered from glue-based burnout and stayed at the same co?

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:42:31.166200Z

She’s got some advice at the end of the presentation. I’ve personally seen people negotiate their own title/position (successfully, but sponsorship was required), people converting glue work into a lead position (again, sponsorship was required), and also people plain stopping glue work.

orestis 2019-05-15T14:44:48.170300Z

Love the term glue work

orestis 2019-05-15T14:45:49.174400Z

Thankfully my org values it when I do it but I’m not sure what would happen if a less technical or junior member would do the same

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:45:55.174900Z

tldr my opinion on glue work is, if you don’t have support of someone with more pull who recognises the value of the work you’ve done, you’re screwed. Even if you learn to advocate for yourself, if you don’t fit into what your company rewards, they will not be able to justify rewarding you.

2019-05-15T14:46:33.176700Z

on similar topic but from different perspective I’ve found this very useful/interesting: https://medium.com/@skamille/opp-other-peoples-problems-d7eb174724ee

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orestis 2019-05-15T14:46:59.177800Z

I’ve found that small tech companies can really struggle with culture, just because management and culture can be very adhoc and de facto.

3Jane 2019-05-15T14:47:56.179500Z

that is an excellent description of why all companies are somewhat broken 😄

orestis 2019-05-15T14:48:12.180500Z

And even trying to make it explicit is hard if you don’t have budget to hire a manager in the first place...

2019-05-15T14:53:56.185900Z

I worry the resulting actions from these types of polls put the horse before the cart. You should worry about the wellbeing of of your employees because for example, sleep loss had a well studied and proven significant effect as opposed to say, python vs Ruby. What I mean is, if your trying to hire you need to stick to what works and either educate or ignore what doesn't. Put another way, if you don't believe and understand the reasons why people want certain things it's unlikely that your culture will be able to adopt them correctly.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T14:53:57.186Z

I 100% agree with the pair programming sentiments above. Far far far too often I've seen people pair with others (in a sort of its-expected-of-you) that have completely different work patterns/personality etc...always ends in tears.

danm 2019-05-16T07:57:49.198900Z

We've mobbed before occasionally and had it work well, but generally we pair

danm 2019-05-16T07:58:48.199100Z

I almost left my last team when I had to pair with that one toxic person, that a lot of larger teams seem to have, for about a month and a half. Then I got moved away and managed to avoid pairing with them for over 2 years

danm 2019-05-16T07:58:58.199300Z

(Then I left the team for unrelated reasons)

danm 2019-05-16T07:59:32.199500Z

But my experience is that you pair for the duration of a sprint, or the duration of a ticket if working in a Kanban-y way

alexlynham 2019-05-16T08:29:32.199700Z

yeah that sounds about right

alexlynham 2019-05-15T14:59:49.186200Z

I saw somebody forced to pair with the same person for 7 weeks or something nuts, they didn’t gel and the more junior person burned out

dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:12:54.186400Z

ouch!

3Jane 2019-05-15T15:13:44.186600Z

😞

2019-05-15T15:14:57.186800Z

What would be the wrong way vs right way?

orestis 2019-05-15T15:17:21.187600Z

Same pair for seven weeks??? That’s rough. My experience was changing pairs every day.

orestis 2019-05-15T15:18:53.189800Z

We did mobbing this week and so far it’s working really well to spread knowledge and share culture. Also much less constraining as people have their own laptops and can do a mini spike or lookup things.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:23:31.190100Z

As this is Clojure, and taking a leaf out of RH's book:

dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:23:37.190400Z

mob:

dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:23:39.190700Z

a noun:

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dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:23:44.191100Z

a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:23:49.191400Z

a crowd bent on or engaged in lawless violence.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:23:50.191600Z

.

dharrigan 2019-05-15T15:24:10.192400Z

🙂

orestis 2019-05-15T15:24:35.193200Z

The issue is, just saying in a job post that you value employee well being is pretty vague. Asking about some specific practices makes things more concrete.

orestis 2019-05-15T15:26:10.194500Z

The name is terrible. But there is value in the practice, for certain contexts and needs.

alexlynham 2019-05-15T15:46:57.195300Z

@dev964 this bit from that article really rang true: > Going through this exercise of solving an unowned problem is fun once in a while, but it’s a real drag when you feel like you’re surrounded by such problems, you can’t ignore them, and you’re powerless to fix them. That is a good sign that it’s time to find a new job, preferably somewhere that is more in tune with your way of doing things. Life is so much more fun when you have people around you that you trust to solve problems, even the problems you have a lot of opinions about.

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orestis 2019-05-15T16:01:25.195700Z

I’ve also seen this: https://twitter.com/jasonlk/status/1121797184054153216

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alexlynham 2019-05-15T16:09:49.196Z

💯

3Jane 2019-05-15T16:11:48.196400Z

this exactly because of something else I’ve encountered recently

3Jane 2019-05-15T16:13:15.197100Z

TLDR: 1. Lack of control 2. Insufficient reward 3. Lack of community 4. Absence of fairness 5. Conflict in values 6. Work overload

alexlynham 2019-05-15T16:13:29.197300Z

wow, that’s p spot on

3Jane 2019-05-15T16:13:35.197500Z

the quote hits several of those

3Jane 2019-05-15T16:14:13.197700Z

I’ve always thought of burnout as “work overload” and couldn’t figure out why certain environments were such a bad fit despite a reasonable workload. Now I know what to point to.