In my triumphant return to blogging, I very briefly mentioned that I was made redundant, but that I'd also found a new job.
What was probably not obvious though, was that both of those things happened in a period of about two months, starting in late March 2021.
The redundancy is a quick story: Console is a great company filled with fantastic people, but I was starting to get fatigued with a variety of things, so when redundancies were placed on the table I volunteered as tribute.
The new job though? That's worth a blog post.
I Found A Dream That I Could Speak To
I'm constantly espousing to anyone that is willing to listen that you should always be job hunting, even if you're happy, content and productive where you are.
My reasoning for that stance is that you should be well enough informed that you want to stay with your current job, not feel like you are being forced to stay there just because you don't know any better.
But being well informed is only half the story. The set of skills you use during your day to day are probably very different to the ones that you use when you're looking for a job, so its rare that you get a chance to practice them.
A wise man once blogged that frequency reduces difficulty, so in my mind it makes sense to apply that approach to as many aspects of life as you possibly can.
Taking my own advice, I'd been looking around for new jobs while working at Console, but it was in a very lackadaisical fashion, because I was happy enough. The impending redundancy forced me to take the job seeking process a bit more seriously though, so I started dedicating a few hours of focused time each week to trawling my favorite websites for interesting opportunities and sending out applications.
But there was one opportunity that clearly stood out.
A Dream That I Could Call My Own
That link you probably didn't follow at the end of the last section? That was a posting for an Engineering Manager at Atlassian.
If you're doing software delivery in some way you've probably heard of Atlassian. They are responsible for Jira, Confluence and Bitbucket, along with a bunch of other stuff that I'm not going to get into here. All in all, some excellent tools that help get things done. Tools which I literally use every single day.
Ignoring their excellent products for a moment, as a company, they appear to really have their shit together. They are not only financially successful (wildly so), but culturally successful to boot. They blog about a variety of things and publicly share all sorts of information, including some really neat team playbooks.
So in summary, Atlassian looks pretty awesome.
So what did my annoying brain say when I finished reading through their job posting for an Engineering Manager? You are nowhere near good enough for Atlassian. Set your sights lower.
So I did.
I applied for a job over at Moggie and got it! They are making an Uber like service where you can crowdsource cats for pats. I'm pretty excited to work on their VB6 legacy platform and combine it with cat.js to make a real difference to tens of cat-less people across the world!
My Lonely Days Are Over
As great as Moggie sounds, it is, of course, entirely fictional.
As I reflected on the annoying voice in my head that told me I wasn't good enough, I realized there really wasn't much point in listening to it. There really is no downside to putting yourself out there, except for maybe a bit of ego loss if you get rejected. At worst, you can always say you tried and you might even learn something about yourself in the process.
To my utter surprise they got back to me and I had a screening interview with one of their recruiters. Things escalated from there.
It wasn't long before I was embedded in the Atlassian interview process, which was a pretty good experience, especially compared to some of the other companies I was interviewing with at the same time.
- It was clear who my primary contact was. Someone at Atlassian owned my application from start to finish. That person was Stephanie and she was great. Responsive to my (many) questions and just generally good at keeping me well informed and prepared for whatever was coming next
- It was very easy to understand where I was in the interview process. One of the first things Atlassian did was supply me with an interview guide, which explained all of the various stages that I would be going through. This was amazing, because I'm the sort of person that does a bunch of research and preparation
- Everyone I talked to was engaged and knowledgeable, shared information freely and was really easy to talk to. Clearly they had all prepared ahead of time and were interested in getting a good outcome for everyone involved
The only thing that was a bit weird for me was how Atlassian was more focused on evaluating me instead of evaluating me for a specific position in a particular team. The company is so large and is growing so quickly that they need Engineering Managers across many teams, but I didn't realize that at first, and thought that I was applying for something specific. I assumed they would tell me later what area the job was in, if I got that far.
In retrospect, it makes sense to flip the narrative of a typical candidate evaluation and focus on getting good people first and then deciding where they would be happiest/most effective. It was just different and unexpected.
I went through the entire interview process, and it went exactly as the interview guide specified, but right up to the final catchup with Stephanie I had no idea what the likely outcome was. I felt like I'd done well, but its always impossible to know for sure.
It didn't help that I was emotionally invested in working for Atlassian by that point, so I was somewhat anxious prior to the catchup.
And Life Is Like A Song
Turns out, it was good news and they offered me the job!
I start as an Engineering Manager in the Infrastructure team on the 31st of May (i.e. next Monday) and I couldn't be more excited/terrified. Excited because I feel like I can learn so many things at Atlassian and terrified because I'm still not entirely sure I'm good enough.
The best part is that I finished up at Console almost a month ago, so I've been using the intervening downtime to do some professional development and try to relax and recharge.
I've also started reaching out to my new team before I officially start, which my new boss (Luke Foxton) has been incredibly supportive of. Pretty light-touch stuff, mostly social, but just getting to meet some of the people I'll be responsible for before ahead of time has been awesome.
It took me all of a few seconds to introduce them to D&D, and I've already organized to run a session with them before I officially start :)