This week’s cultural reflection piece is about asking good questions. Here’s what I know about questions:
- Asking for help is about connection. It makes the asker vulnerable to their audience.
- The asker needs to trust that the askee (or group at large) will want to help them.
- Without trust and the willingness to be vulnerable, questions will not be as effective.
- Some of the most important questions are the ones we ask ourselves.
This weekend I go to NYC to begin the onsite portion of Dev Bootcamp. In 9 short weeks, I’ll begin job hunting. If I can be honest for a moment, I care deeply that I have a purpose in life. Too often, I shy away from asking myself the tough questions. I would like to take this opportunity to do that, so in 9 weeks I won’t be swayed by all that glitters. I will be able to look back and reaffirm my reasons for choosing this path and make decisions about my future with confidence.
How to Determine Your Life’s Purpose (in under 5 minutes)
It’s surprisingly simple, just answer the following 5 questions:
- Who are you? (just your name)
- What do you love to do? (only one word!) (Alternatively - What is the one thing you feel supremely qualified to teach other people, right now?)
- Who do you do it for?
- What do these people want or need that you provide? (one or two words)
- How do they change or transform as a result of what you give them?
For example, “My name is Kelly and I love to assemble solutions. I haven’t decided who I do it for yet, but I have faith that there is a need in the world that I will be called to fill. As a result of my efforts, I will make something better than it was before.”
What Do You Need from Your Work Environment?
My inlination, as ever, is to compromise what I actually want in favor of safety, security, or comfort. I want to answer these questions right now, out on the internet, to discourage my future self from making those kinds of compromises.
|Describe your ideal work environment / dream job situation.||Highly collaborative, fast-paced, TDD work environment, with effective teams and superb leadership. At this point in my education, I think that I will prefer work with Ruby or Python. I would like to work with happy people (wouldn’t everyone?), and the work culture should support people in making their own lives better. Location is important to me.|
|Do you want to work on a small or a large team?||In the past, I’ve enjoyed working as a pair that belonged to a team of 5 in a subset of a larger team of 20-30. Something similar to that would be preferable.|
|Do you excel when pair programming or do you prefer solo work?||I like both equally, and would prefer a role where I was required to do both.|
|Are you interested in having your own private office or cubicle, or do you like open floor plans?||I like open floor plans as long as there are quiet spaces I can go to recharge during the day. I’ve enjoyed having my own cubicle / office space in the past.|
|Do you want direct instruction and management or more independence and self-initiative?||I prefer direct management. In the past, I’ve been significantly more successful in my roles when I’ve had the opportunity to work with managers that have a more engaged managerial presence.|
|Do you prefer a more casual office or a more professional one?||I enjoy casual office spaces just as much as professional office spaces.|
|Do you want to dedicate a lot of your energy and time to a startup, or do you want a fixed 9 to 5 job?||I would be thrilled at the chance to completely throw myself into a project or role. That being said, I don’t necessarily want to work at a company that would regularly demand more than ~50 hours per week. Furthermore, I dislike working environments that prioritize facetime over productivity.|
|Will you be satisfied with a hacky solution or do you prefer highly tested code?||I would love to be on the far end of the “well-tested” spectrum.|
|Is having a diverse workplace important to you? How about mentorship or opportunities for professional development?||I prefer working on teams that have a well-balanced M:F ratio. Mentorship is very important to me and mentorship opportunities, especially female mentors, are a huge plus. I prefer working in an environment where continuous improvement is woven into the culture of the workplace.|
|How does the company display it’s mission statement in daily life?||They should live and breathe their mission statement. I prefer to play all-out.|