Friday 1 June 2018

A reserved update

Well - the job application has finally updated to 'Application Reserved' - i.e. you have met the required standard and will be on a reserve list for 6 months.

So eventually (with hopefully more speed than the process so far...) I will be a (substantive - yippeeeeeeee!!) HEO, having successfully jumped over EO in the middle.

My favourite part was the interviewer's comments though which were very positive:

"She gained all the development experience she has got now by sheer determination and finding opportunities herself. She did lot of self-learning and very keen learner. She will definitely make a good junior software engineer."

I'm not usually much of a one for blowing my own trumpet, but having fought so many fights to get this far, and having to continually keep up that learning and add to it to stay afloat, I will admit to a teeny touch of pride there.

I'll keep you all posted about postings as soon as I know more - although we're all hoping to just be posted into our current jobs so there may really be no posting to post about teeheee...

What makes a Team?

Now this is one of those posts where I feel the need to acknowledge my own failings alongside my perceptions of other people at the same time - I'm naturally quite introverted and find certain cultures harder to break into than others.

I'm not going to break into historical nonsense here about teams in my distant past, as with some notable exceptions (my BFF and another couple of friends), I have consigned most of that to the land known as Before, they are the things and people and situations that made me who I am today, but they are not the experiences that I want to define my career going forwards.

So what I will natter about are the 2 project teams I've worked with since leaving training (the land of After).

My first team, from the outside, seemed like a bit of a dysfunctional family, we sometimes got on each other's nerves (thank goodness for the boss man's Headphone Rule to give us some personal space occasionally).  But when it came to working together, there was great communication, we sat close together and sought each other's opinion (I felt like even I was entitled to an opinion and that it would be listened to, in fact sometimes the benefit processing perspective was even useful in decision making).  We socialised occasionally or brought in food for the team 'sharing table'.  There appeared to be a common understanding of our shared goals, and on the rare occasions of misunderstanding we were able to address them quickly.

Moving forward to my new team.  Well - in the article here at Lifehacker, one of the 6 characteristics of a good team is 'a good blend of introverts and extroverts'.  Hmm.... well.... at the time of joining the team we had one extrovert (a contractor), and the remaining team of fairly introverted folks - conversation tended to be around football and not much else, which is hard for a new member of the team who neither knows nor enjoys football to comment on and find a wedge to join in team conversations.  The senior dev I was working with went off on the starting part of his shared parental leave, which left myself and the contractor to do the work.  What I felt like I needed, and asked for several times, was someone to walk me through how the system hung together.  This wasn't forthcoming, so a painful month or so was endured, trying to cobble together bits of code and not being too sure whether they were working or breaking something else along the way.  And I got to the point where I wondered whether there was actually any point in asking at all.

You know there are too many introverts on your team when.....
A trip to Blackpool for a wider team conference travelling with some of the team involved ME being the noisiest person in the car.  A three hour journey with zero conversation.....argh!!

Fast forward a little and we have settled into things somewhat, we talk about our children as a shared point of reference outside of work stuff, and the contractor has moved on to other things, which I think has helped the other senior to take more of a leadership position.

We still have issues with communication with the wider project team, as there's not the same connection that I experienced on my first project.  I'm not sure there's a good answer there, maybe more time will help with that too - our project has been in a state of limbo for quite some time which has been frustrating for us all - hopefully now that we are finally into a trial period at least, there may be changes that we can share communication on.

From terror to confidence - aka 'feel the fear and do it anyway'

It's weird how our brains work isn't it?

Just a week ago I was sitting in a state of panic (to the point of tearing up) at the thought of the impending parental leave of my senior developer (which will leave me in sole charge of development work on our team for 4 months).

As a Bank Holiday week, I've had only 2 days in the office, but for the first time in a long time, we sat down with the system in front of us and worked on some simple changes TOGETHER.  I'll come back more to that capitalisation in a later post, but I think that exercise, and addressing some of the main kinds of change that I would be expected to deal with in the next few months, made a massive difference in the confidence I have that I won't simply drown the second the senior goes on leave.  I have another 3 days left with him this week, so I am hoping for more of the same.

I also think that doing a mental 'brain dump' here on the blog is kind of cathartic, if it's out here on screen then it's not whirling in my brain so much.

So strangely, in the course of a week, I've managed to go from 'argh!' to 'bring it on!' - yeah I am still scared, it's a big unknown, but the actual worry is above my pay grade... more on that one soon too.