Ten Weeks In At Lookahead

10 weeks in at Lookahead and I’ve made my first placement! Super happy about it. I was kind of lucky that the timing worked perfectly: the right job came up for the right candidate. But that’s not to say I didn’t work hard in getting the candidate the offer.

Flowers from the candidate I placed
Flowers from the candidate I placed

If anyone says to me being a recruiter is easy, I may have to punch them. It’s a challenging job because people are hard. I’m really enjoying it though because I am learning SO much, like how to write good emails, how to ask the right questions, how to understand people, how to deal with difficult situations, how to multi-task etc. I find these are good life skills that I can use on a day-to-day basis. Even if one day I decide I want to do something else (not anytime soon!), I can still see myself using these skills in any jobs I take.

Although I’m not coding on a daily basis, I’ve really enjoyed meeting developers and chatting with them. Having that technical background definitely helps me in being able to understand what developers and companies are after. I’ve also spent a lot of time in giving people general advice on job search and resume writing. Some of them were really appreciative of that.

I’m slowly learning that a lot of things can go wrong in this job even if I put in 110%, because people are unpredictable. But when things do work out, it really is quite satisfying :) I’m happy that I can do what I’ve wanted to do when I joined Lookahead: helping others without compromising my beliefs and integrity.

2015 Reflection

2015 has treated me well. The year started off stable and ended with a big change. Overall, I’m really happy with how the year turned out.

Some highlights:

  • Andrew Clarke and Vitaly Friedman prsented at SydCSS
  • Saw one of my close friends got married
  • Roast piggy at Four In Hand
  • Farm stay at Back2Earth for my birthday
  • Learnt to knit and finished my first beanie (My second one still has a long way to go… why did I pick to knit the hardest thing!)
  • Visited Hong Kong with Binh, saw pandas in Chengdu, travelled to Jiuzhai Valley National Park and some of the most amazing sceneries.
  • Joined Lookahead Search as a Technical Recruiter
  • Celebrated 2nd wedding anniversary at Tetsuya’s
  • Got our first new old zoom zoom
  • Weekend trips in Melbourne and Sunshine Coast with Binh

Thank you 2015. I look forward to writing my end of year reflection in a year’s time.

Binh and I being silly

Afternoon tea in HK

Jiuzhai Valley National Park

Christmas

Bittersweet

Last Friday I resigned from my role as a front-end developer at Learnosity. I’ve decided to take a leap of faith and try my hands in something new. I’ll be joining Lookahead Search as a technical recruiter in November.

Surprised? Yeah me too. It’s a big change from being a developer. I’ll be coding less and spending more time working with people. So why the change? A few months ago, I’ve been given the opportunity to be a scrum master for my team, while still being a developer. I really enjoyed being able to “look after” the team. Challenging at times, but when I see the team is happy and working well together, it gives me a real sense of satisfaction. And that got me thinking, “Will I enjoy working closely with people on a day to day basis?”. I’ve known Lookahead for a while. They helped me look for work on one occassion, and I know a lot of friends who have worked with them. From what I can see, they genuinely want to connect good people with good companies. I really like that: a genuineness to help people and establish long-term relationships. Having a good job can make a big difference in someone’s life and I really want to help others to do that. I figured while the opportunity is there, I should give it a go.

Then came the time when I had to tell work about it. I first told my manager, my CTO then my scrum team. Each time I broke the news to people, I started welling up. I did not think I would be this emotional. In fact, I’ve never been this emotional about leaving somewhere. It was the most difficult “breakup” I’ve ever had. I really enjoy working with the teams, especially my scrum team. It makes me very sad that I’m leaving them. After I’ve told the team, I sent an email to the rest of the company about it. Then replies to my email started coming in. I was so touched reading every one of them. Everyone was saying how sorry they were to see me go, and how much they appreciated the contribution I’ve made to the product and to the team. I honestly didn’t realise I had that much of an impact on the company. I didn’t think people would care that much. I didn’t think I would leave much of a hole to fill. But the emails from everyone said the opposite. While they made me even more sad about leaving, I was really happy to know that I was able to make a difference to the front-end standards, the culture and diversity at work.

That afternoon I decided to put a tweet out to tell my friends about my new role. I was pretty nervous. What if people think I’m going to the “dark side” and start questioning me? What if people think differently of me? But the reactions were all super positive. Everyone congratulated me and were happy for me. I guess that’s thanks to Lookahead having a good reputation in the industry. My heart was soaring with happiness and pride. I feel proud to be joining a team that’s respected in the industry. I really cannot wait to contribute to this team.

It has been a very emotional week: a combination of tears, excitement, heartbreak and hopefulness. Very bittersweet.

Pay It Forward

I consider myself very lucky when it comes to meeting people I can seek advice from and people who encourage and believe in me. Giving talks is one of the things that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t have them around me. As I met more people in the community (thanks to SydCSS), I realised so many people (especially women) have the same fear as me, like “why would anyone want to listen to me”, “I don’t have anything worthwhile to talk about”. Having been in the same situation, I know that those thoughts aren’t true and I want to change that! I want to help them, like how other people have helped me. I want to pay it forward. I especially want to see more women up there on the stage, sharing their ideas and knowledge. I want young women to have more role models to look up to. A lot of people already have great ideas for talks. They just need a little encouragement and someone to tell them, “You can do this!”

At the end of August’s SydCSS, two of the attendees Connie and Georgie came up to me and said, “I’m interested in giving a talk, but I’m not sure what I can talk about”. I was so happy that they actually approached me, rather than the other way around! It takes a lot of courage to put your hand up for your first talk, so hats off to them.

We caught up for lunch and coffee separately to brainstorm some talk ideas. They both had great ideas already so I didn’t need to help them much. All they needed was a little encouragementand and some feedback around the ideas. Then a few weeks later, while chatting with Georgie, she said to me “I totally appreciate your support! You have given me confidence in this talking thing and I actually feel I have things that are worth talking about”. That’s exactly what I hoped to happen and I could not be happier when I received that message.

I’m really glad to know that I’ve been able to encourage someone, like what many others have done for me. I hope to do more of it because I know what a difference it makes when there’s someone who’s willing to help you and see you succeed. Marcy Sutton’s post sums it up the best: “Make time for those coming after you; you might inspire someone”.

My One Takeaway From A11y Camp

A coupe of weeks ago, I attended the first a11y Camp in Sydney - a full day of talks about all things accessibility. Accessibility is a subject that doesn’t get talked about enough so it was great that there was a whole day dedicated to it. The day was filled with LOTS of great information about how to create an accessible website, but for me the biggest takeaway was how the speakers presented. I noticed how they would describe verbally the images they had on their slides, or deliberately read out all the text that’s on their slides. That was really important to the visually impaired attendees on the day. It really struck me that I never considered this when I did my presentations. I’ll have to remember this next time I present somewhere and be more aware of the fact that there might be attendees who are different to me in the crowd.