An unusual thing happened to me this week.
A startup CEO reached out to me about a job opportunity, which isn’t unusual. I turned down the offer like I usually do. Then, he responded with “we will still be hiring in 10 years” and forwarded his investor letter and the most recent all-hands recording. I could see the company’s strategies, challenges, and even updated financials. I’ve never seen this level of transparency to an outsider and am deeply impressed. I still don’t think the opportunity is right for me, but I am now rooting for them.
Software Engineering ⚙️
There are no “best practices.”
For most important questions at work and in life, the answer is “it depends.” Because our personalities and circumstances are different, a single answer will not work for all of us. How Stack Overflow optimized for speed and forwent the “best practices” like unit testing is one example. Link
The hidden cost of responsiveness
A common compliment I give to my colleagues is that they are responsive to my questions or feedback. I enjoy their prompt responses and try to return the favor; I always have Slack in the foreground and keep an eye out for DMs and mentions. The result is that I don’t get to do anything meaningful during normal business hours (interestingly, many colleagues said the same). This HBR article made me see that painful truth. Link
Uniform compensation across a company
A company decided to pay everyone the same amount of cash salary across different seniorities, locations, and even roles. “That can’t work” was my first reaction. But as I gnawed on the idea, I realized that all compensation structure precludes some of the candidates. If transparency from this uniform structure is important to its employees, why not? I wonder if they are as transparent with the employee performance. Link
I’ve been against asking questions anonymously and believed that I should take responsibility for my words. But after reading this article, I remember several occasions where I chose not to ask a question because I did not feel safe to do so. The ideal would be for the leadership to create a safe enough environment and for the employees would choose to ask questions under their names.
It’s now been more than a year I’ve been working from home. The working from home part hasn’t been too difficult for me. But I am tired of being constantly in crisis mode. I feel burnt out.
There is not just a staff engineer, but also a staff designer. The project interviews industry veterans about how they got where they are.