👩‍💻 chrismanbrown.gitlab.io

summary of my recent job search

most places will not hire you but at least one will and ghosting is way more common than it ought to be

2024-03-02

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Every application and its outcome
  3. Tools, Process, and Tips
  4. Conclusion

Introduction

I lost my job in December 2023. I started looking for a new job on December 18. (At least, that’s when I started taking notes on my search.) And 71 days later I accepted an offer on February 27.

I had a few advantages while looking. I am very lucky that my partner’s income can support us both with very little change in lifestyle. I also got three months of severance pay from my former employer. This security was a huge help for my mental health during this process, because I never felt any high pressure or any rush.

Nonetheless, I took most of Christmas and New Years to feel sorry for myself and to dread starting the job search process in earnest. It is difficult for me not to take rejections personally. And I get really nervous during coding interviews. And I find it draining to meet tons of new people and be super charming and super knowledgable and talk about myself.

But I resolved to do at least one thing a day in service of finding a new job. And for the most part I was able to do that! It’s not that high of a bar. And once I got started, I was somehow able to convince myself that I actually enjoyed the whole process.

I was able to do this because yoga.

One of the teachings of yoga is non-attachment to outcome. Everybody comes to the practice with different bodies and different abilities. And it’s okay if you have a goal to be able to touch your toes or to do a handstand. But the best thing you can do it to forget your goal and just do the work. Every day. And maybe eventually you’ll attain your goal. But maybe you won’t.

This idea is straight from the Bhagavad Gita:

You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2, Verse 47

So after meditating on this I was able to shift my focus from “finding a job” to meeting lots of smart people and learning about what they’re working on and talking about code and my experiences and what I want to be doing next. This was very liberating!

I sent out a lot of resumes and filled out a lot of applications even though I have never gotten a job by doing this. I have only ever gotten a job by knowing somebody at the company, or by being recruited directly. Or, when I was contracting, by working with a recruiting agency that placed me.

See:

Previous Job How I Got That Job
1 🤗 Knew someone
2 🤗 Knew someone
3 🫵 Recruited
4 🫵 Recruited
5 🤗 Knew someone
Figure: Previous Jobs and How I Got Them

Every application and its outcome

First some vocabulary:

🤗 know somebody:
Knowing somebody there, having a referral, or even having worked there myself.
⛄️ cold call:
In which I filled out an appication or sent out a resume without knowing anybody there
🤖 auto-decline:
I can’t be sure whether I was rejected by software or by a human. Either way, I didn’t get to talk to a person.
💻 tech screen:
A pairing interview, an algorithmic interview, or some other kind of technical interview

Everything else I think should be self explanatory.

Now then:

company 🤗 Know Somebody?
🫵 Recruited?
⛄️ Cold Call?
🤖 Autodeclined? ☎️ Phone Screen?
💻 Tech Screen?
💞 Culture Interview?
👻 Ghosted?
👎 Declined?
🎉 Offer?
1 🤗 🤖
2 🤗 🤖
3 🤗 🤖
4 🤗 🤖
5 🤗 🤖
6 🤗 🤖
7 ⛄️ 🤖
8 ⛄️ 🤖
9 ⛄️ 🤖
10 ⛄️ 🤖
11 ⛄️ 🤖
12 ⛄️ 🤖
13 ⛄️ 🤖
14 ⛄️ 🤖
15 🤗 👻
16 🤗 👻
17 🤗 👻
18 🤗 👻
19 🤗 👻
20 ⛄️ 👻
21 ⛄️ 👻
22 ⛄️ 👻
23 ⛄️ 👻
24 ⛄️ 👻
25 ⛄️ 👻
26 ⛄️ 👻
27 ⛄️ 👻
28 ⛄️ 👻
29 ⛄️ 👻
30 ⛄️ 👻
31 🤗 ☎️💻💞 👻
32 🤗 ☎️ 👎
33 🫵 ☎️ 👎
34 🫵 ☎️💻💞💻💻💞 👎
35 🫵 ☎️ 👎
36 🤗 ☎️ 👎
37 🤗 ☎️💻💞 🎉
Figure: Every application and its outcome

Observations:

  1. Cold calls: applying somewhere when you don’t know anybody there gets you nowhere. I didn’t get a single call back from anywhere I didn’t already have an in. Firing off resumes may feel productive. It did to me! And it felt really good to apply to moonshot places, or to a company you admire, or whose product you use and enjoy. But it doesn’t do anything for you. Keep building your network! Because that’s the only thing that works.

  2. But not always! A lot of places where I have a good referral and even places where I used to work and left on good terms ended up auto-declining me or even ghosting me. This was very surprising!

  3. That one place that took me all the way through the entire interview process to final rounds and then ghosted me? Totally not cool.

  4. The interview process is remote. I never did one in-person interview. (And the position I accepted is hybrid on-site!)

Tools, Process, and Tips

Conclusion

Interviewing is kind of weird because you get to meet a lot of people but also it is kind of a lonely experience because you get rejected a lot.

When somebody is into you, you’ll know it because they won’t ghost you. In fact they’ll do the opposite of ghost you. They’ll alive you and keep in touch and let you know how things are going.

Hopefuly I won’t have to do this again for a long time. And if you’re going through a job search of your own right now, let me know if I can introduce you to anybody on linkedin or if you want me to review your resume!