Hello blog friends! Our playable Music Sheep (beta, Windows only) is now up. If you have any vehement comments, please contact me in any way, shape, or form. Our future plans is to take our lessons learned and channel them into Music Bear, which will be a mobile phone game :)
Disclaimer: This post is a means to get myself to synthesize my scattered thoughts. I hesitated to make this public, but maybe someone out there will find this useful.
First, the good news: I am very excited to declare I officially signed on with the design team at Vast.com. I start this upcoming August, briefly after graduating with my Masters in HCI, in their San Francisco office which boasts ~20 brilliant people. What a relief.
Basically, after actively searching since last September, I got what I wanted:
People: small team, people I can learn from
Location: SF, bonus points for being within 5 blocks of everyone I know and love
Field: internet, forward-looking technologies
Options: opened more paths instead of narrowing future selections
Numbers Everyone loves numbers.
1 amazing offer 12 hard rejections
4 rejections were due to poor timing - though all these companies asked me to check-in upon graduation to see if things have changed! 3 rejections were due to not a “great fit” 3 rejections were due to not enough industry experience 1 deferral was due to being “second choice,” thus leading to rejection upon Vast’s offer 1 rejection was due to not enough skills
50+ resume drops (plenty of no responses!) / over the course of 6 months.
Goals What exactly did I want? Well, I want “Hooray!”
How? Our favorite process: Iterative.
My job search was largely iterative. As someone who’s naturally introverted, my biggest challenge was learning how to perceive cues and react accordingly. I usually like a few moments to process and then come up with an answer, but an awkward silence like that doesn’t blow over well during an interview. The whole experience has made me a better communicator.
The biggest takeway from this whole process was try not to take it personally. Still, it’s hard. After the initial screen, it’s hard not to feel safe. “They like me, they like me!” Well, at least, they see that you are competent. This is great. Halfway there. It’s when you fly in for an onsite, only to get rejected hard it hurts. I admit to needing that tub of icecream or pint of beer after each one of these.
Also, it’s actually a really humbling process. And motivating. After each rejection, I was motivated even more to both find the perfect match and to show them that, the company who chooses to invest in my growth, will surely reap the benefits. Some steps will inflate your ego, others will surely deflate it. But what kept me going was the light at the end of the tunnel, that at some point, I’ll find my match.
Another note, I survived a total of 5 coast-to-coast onsite interviews to get here. (Lots of lost manpower hours during semester crunchtimes!) Job seeking is not to be taken lightly. I’d equate it to a 18 unit course - seriously! If you really want to do it well, you really need to gun for it.
Finally, I learned firsthand about the power of the alumni network. Almost every first round I had, I spoke with a MHCI alum, or if not a MHCI alum, a CMU alum. The connection is just so powerful. These people have a soft spot for CMU, so don’t miss out on that edge. I’m sure if I ever conduct an interview, I will harbor a soft spot too.
What’s next? So, about this school thing…
I’m not sure yet whether it’ll be hard or easy to keep on trucking. On one hand, it’s like a vacation for me, a low key version of my future with a ton of flexibility. The nice thing about academic projects is that there’s less business risk. On the other hand, I could fly out to beautiful San Francisco and get paid to do the same thing. At any rate, my project team will just have to paste rasterbated skyline of the bridge to keep me here ;)
In other news, I need to revamp my portfolio since it’s a little embarrassing and dated. I have yet to experience this myself, but, despite securing an offer: Always be interviewing. I see this advice everywhere. With that, I expect to keep myself open to the possibilities and referring awesome people to the right places. At the same time, I’m really psyched for this, and expect to stick with Vast for a good while.