Job search

By Indradhanush Gupta Comment

The story so far

It has been a little longer than two months since I finished my batch at the Recurse Center. Going back to school for a Masters degree has never been on my mind which meant that working full time once again was on the agenda. Naturally most of my time has been spent searching for a job. The last time I had to look for a job was back in 2014 which was also the first time. Instamojo was the only company I interviewed with. The process started with a technical phone call, followed by a take home task and another technical phone call. All this was completed in two weeks including the final offer being rolled out.

This time around, with my limited experience with interviewing for a full time position I was expecting the job search to maybe take a month at best, but I was in for a rude awakening. It turns out that my experience with Instamojo was a one off. When I started searching for possible opportunities finding roles that interested me were hard. And when I actually found something of interest, most of the places I applied to never replied back. A lot has already been said and written on how recruiting is broken and I will not expand on that here.

By the beginning of September I had begun talking to quite a few companies and as I found out, this is a very exhausting process. My first calls were to get to know the company better and see if I had any interest in the potential role being offered. This often expanded to a second follow up call and all this even before I had formally started interviewing for the company.

The places where I started interviewing ended up in either me botching up the interview (the very first few) or me progressing through multiple rounds in the end to hit a dead end. While one such company changed their mind about the time not being right after I had been through multiple technical phone interviews and a take home challenge, another changed their mind after telling me they wanted me on the team in what was the final call after three technical rounds. I am sure all of them had valid reasons and were only doing their job but this was fast becoming a very frustrating experience for me overall. Confidence levels were going down and I was beginning to feel that the job search was dragging on longer than what was comfortable for me. I have to thank my family and friends for understanding me all this time and hearing out my often unbearable rants.

All this has become a valuable life lesson teaching me more about the importance of patience and humility and the randomness introduced by timing factors which is also known as luck and something we really don’t have much control over.

Double your initial estimate for the entire job search. If your target is to get a job withing six weeks, make that twelve. It is important to realize that things don’t pan out exactly as planned. Your point of contact in the company can go on a vacation (this actually happened). The company may be waiting for the financial quarter to end to reevaluate their hiring strategy for the forthcoming one.

And most importantly ensure that you have money in the bank to be able to provide for yourself and your family during that time. Knowing that you can still keep paying the bills for another month or two is a huge relief and goes a long way in contributing positively towards your job search. Have people on whom you can fallback when you are feeling vulnerable and low on confidence. Having someone to discuss about your problems makes the fight easier. It helps you to regain composure. Find some time out for a different activity.

What next?

I am joining Kinvolk from Monday, October 16th and I will be building and improving existing tooling around Kubernetes. The interview process did not involve any whiteboarding around programming puzzles. Instead, I was given the task to work on an open issue of rkt, a container engine. It was exciting to be able to dig into a new project and also get a feel for the kind of work I’d be doing at Kinvolk. I sent a PR containing the fix and made changes as per feedback from the project’s maintainers. And I was given an offer very soon after that. I couldn’t think of a better way to interview a candidate myself.

I have been looking for work around systems programming and infrastructure tooling and being able to work on exactly that going forward brings in a very familiar feeling of excitement back to me. I’ll be working with Golang and potentially write some C and Rust as well. I’ve met the team and they are a very happy and fun to work with group of people. The team is based out of Berlin, Germany while I will be working remotely from India. Oh, and the best part of this all? I’ll be writing Open Source code!

Here’s looking forward to Monday!

comments powered by Disqus