The unsolicited dick pick

I remember the early days of the internet and first getting into chat rooms.

Guy: Hi, How are you? ASL?

Me: Fine, 16/f/Australia. Yourself?

Guy: Horny AF *Sends unsolicited dick picture*

Me: *Facepalm and leaves chat*

Who else remembers having conversations like these? I actually just had one come up today, but this time it was from a wrong number text message. This is not the first time or last time I will experience this, however after the recent #MeToo movement I want to make that guy aware that his behavior is just not kosher.

Now from a guys point of view I can understand the idea “I’m horny, what’s the worse that can happen? They’ll just say no and move on”, the potential for reward out weighs the consequences. And as a stranger on the internet no one is held accountable for their actions.

However from a receivers point of view it is an upright consent violation, you did not get my permission before sending me that picture and I was not prepared mentally to receive that type of stuff. It is sexual harassment. Period. Now before you respond with #notAllMen just because you would never do anything like that please just be aware that as a women I’m exposed to this type of behavior on a regular enough occurrence and for the better part of over 12 years now to just feel use to it.

So, have you experienced this before? How did you respond? Should I just send this blog post to the guy who sent me the unsolicited dick pick? How do I address this behavior in meaningful way to make the future a better place?

What is software testing?

A quick google of ‘What is software testing’ will give you 75,300,000 results but not much of an answer. On the surface level, we can surmise that it is about testing software but in reality; it’s more than that.

Software testing is an activity that everyone does on some level. E.g. when you interact with a product like Facebook you are helping to test it. You have certain expectations of how the scrolling behaves and what type of content comes up in your feed. You are probably a part of several on going experiments that Facebook conducts and you’re scrolling habits are also helping shape their performance testing approach.

Q. Hang on, if everyone does it, why do we need dedicated software testers?

A. Justifying the value I add to a project can be challenging sometimes but let me try to go into more detail. There are some very successful companies out there that don’t hire dedicated testers but their context and software development practices can help mitigate some of the risks associated with their products.

Software testing is about reducing the risks associated with software development. Software development is, at its core, a business venture. The software is created to solve an issue that the end user is willing to pay money for. Each element within the development lifecycle is working towards providing a marketable solution to that original problem. Software testing serves to highlight any risks that might impact on the value of the product.

The software development cycle is a continuous iteration of identifying the customer’s problems, developing the solution, ensuring the solution works, and selling the solution. Software testing ensures that our apps, websites and software does what it’s supposed to do whilst not doing what it shouldn’t. It is an integral part of any successful software project.

Planning

Good testing can be completed with very little “formal” planning procedures if a skilled tester is involved. You can see an example test report generated from 1 day of testing from James Bach for testing a medical device.

Often the waterfall model of software development is associated with exhaustive requirement gathering and testing planning even before the software is designed. On the contrary, the agile manifesto focuses on providing working software over comprehensive documentation. The whole Agile vs Waterfall is a conversation for another blog.

When working within the agile methodology we can move away from explicit and highly specific planning and into the rapid software testing realm. James Bach and Michael Bolton are pioneers in the Rapid Software Testing space. This is a context-driven software testing methodology that works on the premise that the testing team will have an understanding of the business problem that the product is solving.

This Rapid Software Testing method allows the testing team to conduct a more informal, risk-based approach to planning the testing of software. Sam explains how to take a risked-based approach to planning UI tests in her /dev/world presentation.

Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing* is where a tester interacts with software to compare it with their mental models of expected outcomes.

Exploratory testing is a part of all testing regimes because it focuses on human-based feedback. Having people run through the software with intention of finding brokenness helps to highlight any design, UI or experience elements that are confusing or hard to use. This is something that automated testing scripts aren’t able to handle.

Exploratory testers will explore how well the software solves the end-users problem. They will highlight any high-risk issues that will impact the value of the product. Skilled exploratory testers will work on a continuously iterative testing approach where the exploration can help form a plan that guides the direction of future testing efforts. This continuous feedback loop allows testers to improve the quality of their testing rather than just the quantity.

Exploratory testing is based on human observations. This is incredibly useful for user experience focussed testing but less practical for testing that needs to be repeated over time or scaled up to assess performance.

Whilst the benefits of having human based feedback far outweigh the cons it is important to note that human error will always occur. Hopefully using a risked-based approach with an experienced exploratory tester will negate some of these issues before your users find them.

Automated testing

Automated testing (sometimes called checking) involves using software tools or scripts to compare the expected results for how a program should run with actual outcomes. It leverages the computational power available today to automate testing that would have to have previously been conducted manually.

definition of automated testing; involves using tools or scripts to help asses expected behaviour of software

For example, an automated testing suite may be used to check that ‘a + b = c’. To test this we could run a sample of known numbers through the function and ensure that the outcomes were as expected.sudo code for 3 unit tests

This is an extremely simplified example of automated testing but this idea can be expanded to include all of the predefined actions within a software.

Automated testing has numerous benefits including increasing the amount of test coverage available within a budget or timeframe, automating basic or low-level tasks, reducing human error when checking outcomes, reusable tests and leveraging the computational power of machines.

If automated testing suites aren’t maintained in line with the development cycle it can lead to outdated tests that return incorrect outcomes. This can lead to less secure testing coverage and a loss of team morale and trust in the testing cycle.  Additionally, automating poorly designed tests only increases the rate that these misaligned tests are run.

Automated testing has been hailed as the holy grail of the software development world of late. It fits in well with the continuous integration methodology and allows for quick iterations of products. However, it’s important to keep in mind that automated testing isn’t a magic bullet. Instead, automated testing should be used in conjunction with other tools to gain more time for your testers to focus on high-value tasks that are outside the scope of automation.

Unit Testing

Unit testing is about isolating the components in your software and testing them individually.

definition of unit testing, isolating components to test individually

Unit testing is a powerful tool when used early in the development cycle. This is a tool often employed by developers to ensure that the code they’re writing works.

Like all of the tools that we have explored today unit testing in only one option that a development team will employ during as part of their testing process.

Conclusion

Anyone doing testing has a plethora of tools available to them when conducting a thorough testing cycle. Often we get caught up in the discussion of Exploratory Testing vs Automated Testing but we need to bring this back to what is the tool that will best fit this testing scenario. I’ve only scratched the surface here of what can be involved with software testing.

Software testing is a continuous feedback loop. Everyone does testing on some level, and one of the goals of testing is to highlight any issues or risks that might impact the perceived value of the product. Ultimately we want to help deliver quality products on time and on budget.


*The intricacies about whether exploratory testing should be referred to as ‘testing’ has been discussed extensively within the software testing industry. Please note: for ease of understanding Sam will be referring to all testing without scripting as ‘exploratory testing’ within this article.

**Sam commissioned Stefanie C. from upwork to help write this article, there might be a follow up blog on Sam’s experiences using freelancers to help outsource work later and why she would do this

goal setting for 2018

I’m generally not one to set new year resolutions but it’s a time of year for reflection. At the beginning of this year I set myself 3 main goals;

  1. Beat obesity (have a BMI of less than 30)
  2. Cut my credit card debt in half
  3. Maintain an average daily step count of above 10,000 for the year

I realistically only achieved the first one which I managed to do by June. I made progress towards the other two but I didn’t fully achieve them. As a career goal later on in the year I told myself that I wanted to speak at 1 international conference and I got to 2 which I’m happy with achieving. For 2018 maintaining a healthy lifestyle and looking after my debt should remain my focuses. Recovering from a broken ankle is going to introduce it’s own challenges. So I need to come up with ways to make these measurable.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle; failure here for me would be falling back into an obese category so at least that will be easy to measure and monitor for when I might be coming off track. Success is pretty flexible though. I would like to get back into weight training and I’ll need to experiment with finding exercise that works for me while I recover. Maybe my goal should be to find a new exercise activity and stick to it for 3 months?

Managing my debt; I’m already managing this a lot better than I have been historically and even if I do nothing progress will be made. I think the goal I’ll give myself is; make an extra payment towards my debt for 10 out of 12 months. I have automatic payments that cover my minimum contributions but I’d like to make extra payments to get this debt paid off quicker. I won’t completely clear out my debt in 2018, that’s too unrealistic of a goal but making extra contributions is achievable. Maybe reducing my debt by half.

Should I set any career goals? I’ve already been invited to speak at 1 international conference and I don’t want to overload myself with too much travel this year. How about community goals? How do I want my involvement with Sydney Testers to grow/develop? How about mental health goals? Maybe actually finish an online tutorial or read a particular technical book? I was thinking of starting a masters in Data Science but probably not for 2018, my recovery from a broken ankle and maintaining my health are more important for now. There’s also an interesting TED post on creative New Year resolutions which is good for inspiration. How do you make your goals measurable and accountable?

Broken ankle’s impact on a broken mind

Nearly two weeks ago I broke my ankle. I had a fall while indoor rock climbing (bouldering). There are no harnesses; bouldering is just climbing up to about 2 metres and there’s lots of soft mats to fall onto. I was climbing over a corner, reaching for the last hold and I didn’t quite have the reach. I feel on top of the cover between the soft mats and wall and my ankle slipped under the wall. I dislocated and shattered my ankle into 4 pieces. ouch.

broken ankle, x-ray and cast

I spent a week in hospital, had 2 surgeries, there’s now a plate and about a dozen bolts now in my leg. It now looks like there’s a tooth brush in there. I’ll be in a cast for 12 weeks and I’ll need to have day surgery again to remove the big giant bolt running through my ankle before I can bear weight on it again. I have to figure out if my super hero name should be cyborg sam or titanium sam?

xray of plate and bolts after the first surgery

I’m now mostly getting around on crutches and a knee walker.

sammy on a knee walker in a red lady bug dress from review

Now that I’ve told you the story of how I broke my ankle, I also want to tell you how it’s impacted my broken mind. This has been stressful. If you’ve read my other posts you would know that I’m also looking for a job and I haven’t had much luck there yet (another stressor). I have at least 3 stories about my mental health to share with you.

My first story; So I was rushed through emergency and had surgery within 24 hours of the accident. The accident occurred on a Saturday. The first day in hospital was hard, I couldn’t sleep well after the surgery and I broke down into tears a few times. Hospitals are noisy and the pain/discomfort makes it really hard to sleep. Nothing out of the ordinary and it’s to be expected. The physio had cleared me to leave on Tuesday but no doctor came to give me the all clear. Turns out the doctor wanted to do a second surgery on Thursday. Coming out of Surgery Thursday evening was hard, probably my hardest day. I couldn’t sleep. I was just starting to get use to sleeping with it before the second surgery, I didn’t realize how much healing had occurred in just a few days. And then I was back to square one. I had a lack of sleep induced depressive episode Friday night. It was the worse episode I’ve had in a long time. One of my triggers; from about 5-6 pm Friday evening I was trying to request a sleeping pill to help that night. The nurses changed shifts and at around 10:30 pm the nurse told me the doctor couldn’t be bothered filling in a script for 1 night. That rejection hit me like a brick wall, it was the last straw that put me over the edge and I fell into a downward spiral of depression. I was probably in this state for around 30 minutes, tears rolling down my face and thoughts of, “I’m broken, I’m just so tired, etc” rolling through my mind. One of the thoughts that kept me in this spiral was just realizing the fact I was having a depressive episode. Go figure. It was actually an interesting experience from a mindfulness point of view. What got me out of it was realizing that I needed to call the nurse and try to push for that sleeping pill again. That thought had to come along a few times before it helped me get out of that cycle. I didn’t actually call the nurse a second time but had managed to fall asleep for a few hours before someone’s machine started beeping at 1:30am, I asked the nurse for some endone and the warn fuzzies from that was enough to help me sleep until the early morning.

My second story involves my job hunting efforts. While in hospital I had to cancel/postpone a few leads in regards to job hunting. I had 3 interviews scheduled for that week. 1 I withdrew my interest because I wasn’t that excited about the company. 1 I was able to move to a skype interview. I had a skype interview on Wednesday in my hospital gown while laying in bed; hospital equipment in the background. I even put on my suit jacket to smarten up the hospital gown. Unfortunately I found out I was unsuccessful with this interview, I mentioned my perfect role would be more like a quality coach role and apparently that turned them off. I rescheduled one interview for today at 1pm. Fingers crossed this goes well because it’s the last interview I have booked with 13 companies so far. Nothing else has turned up a promising job offer yet. So on top of feeling broken physically I feel constantly bombarded with these messages of rejection due to job hunting efforts. It’s taking a toll on me.

My third story happened just this morning. Since I got out of hospital I had been hanging out at my partner’s parents place. They offered me their spare room while I recover and my partner’s mum is a nurse. It seemed convenient and I took them up on their offer. Last night I went to my uncle’s for the first time since getting out of hospital. I couldn’t really sleep very well last night because I’m starting to get stressed about my job hunting efforts. My uncle’s live in Edgecliff so it appears more convenient than Gladesville where my partner’s parents live. However Edgecliff is hillier; it was a challenge getting down the driveway this morning on my walker. It’s not something I want to do every day. So I get to Edgecliff shopping centre and wait around to get some blood tests done for my weight loss surgery catch up next week. After this I go to head down to the station platform. Turns out Edgecliff doesn’t have a lift down to the platform. This hit me more than I expected. I needed to go to the toilet to have a little teary. I think I’m over it now and it wasn’t a full on depressive episode but that little reminder of how broken I feel hurt. I couldn’t even get up to the buses to get into the city. I ended up getting an uber. So I probably won’t be staying at my uncle’s while I recover which is a shame. It’s just too hard.

I have some other stories; adventures with wheel chair accessible buses, financial stresses due to this accident, healing and fatigues impact on my mental health and the differences between having a physical injury vs mental injury but I’ll leave these for another time as I have to leave this cafe soon.

Have you ever had an injury that impacted your mental health? My sciatic nerve injury 2 years ago had a similar impact on my mental state too.

Strategy Vs Tactics – a job hunting example

One of my pet peeves is when people use the word strategy when they are talking about tactics. According to “I have a strategy (no you don’t)” a visual guide on understanding strategy; a strategy is a planned/doable sequence of actions/tactics designed to achieve a distinct, measurable goal. Strategy is an idea in my head, I have ideas on what tactics I can implement that will help me achieve a particular goal.

book cover for I have a strategy no you don't

I have a strategy to find a job I’m happy with. Now my success metrics will look different to yours even thought it may sound like we have the same strategy. My success metrics look like; find a good team that is passionate about the products they are building, they have a respect for software engineering quality practices and to receive support for public speaking at technical conferences. Ideally I’d like to have a small gap as possible between my current employment and the new job. I would also like a 10-20% pay increase from my current salary. Through going through a few interviews/having conversations with my partner I have discovered that I want a role based in Sydney so I have adapted my success criteria. A strategy is an evolving thing, the words I write today are an attempt to formalize that strategy but it is just a snapshot. I’m leaning towards a software tester role too because it is my most marketable skill/expertise.

The tactics I’ve used thus far to help support my job hunting efforts have been:
Enable the “open to new jobs” label on my LinkedIn
Reaching out to recruiters who’ve I’ve had good experiences with before
Reaching out to old colleagues
Reaching out to people who I’ve met through the tech/meetup scene
Applying for roles on LinkedIn
Browsing the careers pages of some known companies and applying that way

I’ve had different levels of success in scoring interviews with these different tactics. So hopefully you can see I’ve employed a diversity of tactics that are meant to help support me in finding a new job that fits me

I’ve also been constantly reiterating on my CV. Other tactics that people could use are; create a custom CV per role you are applying for, seek feedback on CV, practice mock interviews for a particular role, build up connections with the company you are looking to get hired at

But all of these tactics are just that, they are actions that help support the strategy,they aren’t “a strategy” on their own. Strategy is steeped in battle, I’ll leave you a quote from Sun Tzu about strategy.

strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat - Sun Tzu

job hunting diaries

I’ve been job hunting now for nearly 4 weeks. I’ve had face to face interviews with 6 companies, done 3 technical tasks, have 2 more interviews scheduled, have 3 more technical tasks to do and 3 more leads I’m chasing up. And I’m exhausted. I’ve been rejected by 3 of those interviews, I turned down progressing further for 1. All of this on top of attempting to work a full time job, speaking at EuroSTAR in Copenhagen and having a life. It’s getting to me mentally. I really struggled to get out of bed this morning. I even sat in front of this computer for 10 minutes struggling to start this blog post. But I’m doing this for my own therapy.

My tactics for job hunting have been;

  1. Enable the “open to new jobs” label on my LinkedIn
  2. Reaching out to recruiters who’ve I’ve had good experiences with before
  3. Reaching out to old colleagues
  4. Reaching out to people who I’ve met through the tech/meetup scene
  5. Applying for roles on LinkedIn
  6. Browsing the careers pages of some known companies and applying that way

In terms of tactic number 1, I was concerned that I would be swamped with recruiters. I’m glad I wasn’t, in fact I’ve only had 1 lead get generated this way. Tactic 2 has been the most successful in generating leads, it makes sense because these are guys who are literally in the business of recruiting tech talent. Every other tactic has generated a lead or two, tactic 5 has had the lowest lead generation rates.

The feedback I get is that I interview very well, I pride myself on my skill in testing and I enjoy talking to people about it. This passion comes off in my interview and often my interviewers walk away saying they actually enjoyed the experience. One role I was rejected for was because they thought I would actually get bored in the role, that’s a far call to make and if they aren’t willing to be flexible to accommodate my skill set that is the best call to make. On a side note this is actually the third interview I’ve had in my lifetime of testing interviews to come back with that feedback. I have huge respect for companies who can be open enough to make this call.

One role I didn’t do so well with the technical task, basically they asked me to automate some tests using visual studio, c# and Selenium. I said automation is not my strong point, I haven’t touched windows in over 2 years but give me enough time with google and stack overflow I can work something out. After tackling with the tools for 3 hours I submitted the task, I hadn’t completed it 100% but I thought it would be enough to help them assess my coding styles and thought processes. I wasn’t successful and there weren’t any surprises there. I interviewed well but I was being tested on tools I had barely touched. I can code, it just takes me a ridiculously long time to do so because it’s not a skill I practice every day and I’m not going to mislead anyone about my skills here. I could have sunk more time into the technical task but for my mental well being I drew the line at 11:30PM. Lack of sleep is one of the easiest things I can do if I want to experience a relapse of depression. I got to the point where in the workplace I would ask a fellow colleague for some assistance or looked at similar tests to get inspiration but I didn’t have access to those types of resources. In terms of assessing my technical chops, I think a pair programming exercise is better suited for me.

I’m a little annoyed at what feels like wasted mental energy but I should try not to dwell on the past too much. I have a few more leads that I’m more excited about so I hope they turn up more promising results. An example role that gets me excited to apply for is Quality Coach, an example job ad can be seen here. Anything that has an emphasis on automation testing over people skills is a little bit of a red flag for me because I’ve been burnt a few too many times now. How do you handle rejection in the job hunting process?

Response to “the end of manual testing”

This blog is a response to this blog by Michael Bolton titled “the end of manual testing”. While attending EuroSTAR in Copenhagen in 2017 I had the joy of having a good chat to Michael about this topic.

Let me speak from my experiences; I’m bored in my current role and I’m looking for a new job. I have recent experience in observing what the Sydney market is demanding vs how I view myself. If I could choose my own label I would call myself a product risk investigator because it reflects my views in the value of what a tester brings to the table. Now I personally don’t refer to myself as a “manual tester” even though most of my work has fallen under what the market would call “manual testing”.

So how do I market myself for new job prospects? You can check out one of my recent software testing resume’s here. Did you notice that I never refer to myself as a “manual tester”? I try to highlight my technical skills in roles that the market would call “manual testing” because of the negative conations associated with the label of “manual tester”.

As part of my job hunting efforts I reached out to the recruiter who placed me in my current role. He seems to have a good pulse on the Sydney job market for testers; I reached out to him on October the 31st and the next day he had scheduled me a job interview with a startup in Sydney. He then secured me 2 other interviews and I had 3 interviews in 3 days just before I came to Copenhagen for Eurostar this week. I’ve already received positive feedback from 1 of these interviews. However all 3 of these roles have had a focus on trying to find a technical tester who can help the company test API’s through some sort of coding efforts. No one appears to be hiring a pure “manual tester”. Some job descriptions that I’ve read have said stuff along the lines of, “some manual testing will be required but the focus of this role is definitely writing code”. These type of job descriptions trigger warnings in my head along the lines of, “maybe these guys don’t understand skilled testing?”. I almost feel like this phrase “manual testing” is a dirty word. Maybe I should just come out as a loud and proud Manual Tester? Next week I’m aiming to have 3 more interviews before assessing all of my options and moving forward. These next 3 interviews have been set up via applying to jobs via LinkedIn/Seek/Career portals, reaching out to an old colleague and reaching out to recruiters who are involved in the meetup space.

In Summary; I’m being pushed towards more technical testing because those skills are more marketable and I’m struggling to market myself as a skilled exploratory tester. I agree with Michael; “manual testing” doesn’t exist but finding a company who shares my understanding of testing is pretty hard. Now why is that?

Motorbike camping and rock climbing

This weekend I went rock climbing in the blue mountains and camped for one night to test out a new tent that I bought on Friday. You can see my photos here. This is my third camping trip from the back of a motorbike. I’ve tried to acquire some high quality hiking gear over a few years for this purpose.

The tent I bought on Friday is a montbell 1-2 person 3 season tent (link). I walked into montbell in the Sydney CBD on Friday to get an umbrella and they had this tent for half price; they were trying to clear out old stock. The tent was pretty easy to set up, it didn’t matter that the instructions were only in Japanese. I had a fair bit of room inside. My only issue with the tent is if the outside door is pegged down it can make the entrance a little narrow/awkward. It is a 1 person tent but there is plenty of room for 1 person + backpack/gear or a tight squeeze for 2 people who know each other pretty well. My previous tent was just the cheapest hiking tent I could buy (basically it was around the $100 mark) because I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy camping and didn’t want to invest alot then. I was looking for second hand tents off Gumtree but it wasn’t easy to find a 1 person hiking tent for less than $100. On Gumtree most people were selling larger tents or 4wd tents that take up more space/weight. My old tent’s poles snapped the second time I used the tent. I was pretty pissed off with this. Overall I’m pleased with my new tent and I’m looking forward to getting more use out of it.

My other gear includes a thermarest neoair Voyager hiking mattress with an R rating of 2.2, I bought this second hand from Gumtree. This roles up to an amazingly small space. My sleeping bag is a Denali 400 duck down cocoon sleeping bag rated down to 6 degrees that I bought half price at Anaconda a year ago.

Last night I slept in my motorbike gear because I couldn’t be bothered changing. It probably got down to about 6 degrees and I didn’t feel cold at all. Often with my sleeping bag I have a tendancy to overheat but I didn’t last night. The airmattress was pretty comfy, it does squeak a bit when I move around on it though. When I was a bit heavier I’d find my sleeping bag to be a bit too restrictive, I’m glad I don’t have that problem anymore.

I think my next camping gear purchase will be a pillow; I’ve just been using rolled up clothes and I wake up with a slightly sore neck. I don’t have any cooking equipment, someone on the camp site last night had a little gas stove with a multipurpose cup/bowl/mug thing and it seemed like a good light weight option to add to my camping equipment. I might also keep an eye out for some climbing rope and extra gear, I currently have a harness and indoor shoes. I need to get a helmet and maybe some outdoor shoes. I currently use a hiking backpack on the back of my bike whick seems to work well as long as I keep stuff light and to the minimum, I might look into some hard case side storage for the bike too. I ride in hiking boots, these will prevent my ankles from rolling if I fall off the bike but are still comfortable to walk around in when I get off the bike. Riding boots aren’t comfortable to walk around in and using shoes for dual purpose cuts down on space. My boots are a size too large so I might keep an eye out for a smaller pair.

Do you do any hiking/outdoor rock climbing/camping from a motorbike? Do you have any hints/tips for keeping things light?

I don’t enjoy my job

I have a few issues with my current job:

  1. I feel insanely guilty for not finding my current role to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. I’m contracted out to a client, and I can’t officially say who the client is but there is just so much hype around this client for supposedly being the best tech company to work for and sometimes it doesn’t always match that hype. I find my work boring, a little repetitive and not exactly challenging me. However it’s meant to be the highlight of my career. And when anyone asks me, “how’s working at X?”, I feel like I should respond with, “it’s amazing…” and go on to list all of the amazing benefits.
  2. The scale of the Client makes it hard to feel like an essential part of a team.
  3. In my current position it would be nearly impossible for me to convert to a full time employee and I don’t even know if I want to pursue that path.
  4. My current employer isn’t as supportive of my conference speaking engagements as I’d like them to be.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I enjoy about the role;

  1. My favourite thing about my job is getting to tell people that I work on a product that nearly every one uses. I’ve always enjoyed working on tangible products.
  2. the free food/coffee barristers is pretty sweet too.
  3. Being surrounded by smart people who care about the products they are building.
  4. It’s an amazing thing for my personal brand

 

I also feel like I haven’t been in my current position long enough to really justify looking for a new job. I’ve only been on the Clients project for around 10 months. I know there’s a bit of a stigma for changing jobs too often. This thought also makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for wanting to change. I’ve experience some mental stress in my current role that’s not really founded in much; from bouts of imposter syndrome to not being motivated to work.

I think I’ve come to realise that the following things would be important for me when I do look for a new job:

  1. Feeling a part of a well gelled team, I know this takes work and I always go the extra mile to build a team culture. My energy for work comes from other people. I’m not that type of “highly motivated self starter” person who is satisfied with the sit in the corner on a computer all day doing work type of role.
  2. Being in an environment where I feel comfortable being vulnerable. E.g. I’ve had struggles with depression so being open about mental health is important to me.
  3. Getting supported for community engagement, e.g. having speaking at conferences as part of my role would be an ideal thing to have.
  4. Be in a learning environment, there are many companies that say “we are constantly learning” but often don’t put that into practice. There’s often a disconnect between what companies say they do and what they actually do.

 

I think I’m in a really good position to be very picky about my next role. I can see 2 potential and appealing paths forward. Either get more technical or get more people oriented.
By technical I mean I could start leaning towards mobile app development, growing my interest in Data Science, picking up some more DevOps skills, get into test automation etc.
By people orientated I mean moving towards product development, maybe picking up some user research skills, maybe looking for something with a support focus etc. It would be awesome to incorporate some sort of outreach/education efforts as part of my next role.

While going through highschool/uni I worked in supermarkets for 7 years. I actually think that work was more engaging than most of my work in tech has been. I’m missing that strong connection to people in my current role.

So I’ll be keeping my eyes open to any new positions and I have a good sense of what I’m looking for.

Hackathon Fatigue

I’m currently participating in GovHack 2017 at the Sydney location (add a 2017 year in review link like this 2016 one when available). It’s the first hackathon I’ve attended this year. When I first moved to Sydney 4 years ago I participated in 4-5 hackathons the first year and it’s slowly died down since then. Even though I love the atmosphere, the community and the collaboration during hackathons; I am suffering from hackathon fatigue.

Last year at GovHack 2016 I tried to participate. I turned up to the opening evening but was struggling mentally. I was going through a relapse of depression and I could not hold it together enough to participate. Reflecting on this, I’d always walk away from a hackathon mentally exhausted and last year I was overwhelmed with the thought of “I can’t handle this stimulation right now”. Going back to work on the Monday after a hackathon always felt hard and would trigger an existential crisis week that involved continuous thoughts of, “fuck I’m tired”. It’s the combination of socialising with all of these new people, trying to frantically work on an idea and eating food that I wouldn’t normally eat that really throws out my routine/mood. I often turn up to work on Monday after a hackathon not rested and with a complaining digestive system. This is my first hackathon since my weight loss surgery which has put a control on the amount of crap that I can eat but I’ve still turned up to last day of the hackathon feeling exhausted. I’m all hackathoned out and I do not have the motivation to submit a story.

Do you suffer from Hackathon fatigue? How do you overcome it?