I had been looking for a new job now for just over two weeks and it is very different to the last time I looked. Previously, I had a role I enjoyed but not at a company I chose to work for. I had as much time as I needed to find something more suited.
This time, with my redundancy, I had a sword of Damocles (or unemployment as is it traditionally know) floating over my head swinging wildly like a pendulum of doubt. That was extremely hard to ignore but I tried to keep my focus on looking for what I want from a role and not just a job.
The testing community really had my back and I got floods of advice, applications to fill in and info on tonnes of roles. They gave me strength, reams of motivation and as always had perfect empathy for my situation. (Thanks guys)
The problem was my career is at a branching point. Testing itself has so many avenues to explore, ways to evolve and tools to tinker with. I had spent time doing automation and working on the more technical parts of my testing ability so I had more roles I could in theory apply for, so I did.
The format of interviewing changed as well. It was Zoom/Google/Teams 6 months ago, but there is more structure now and it feels more polished. Even though every one had the same sort of process, the conversation were completely different. You’d spend time inhaling the company website only to be told it all anyway. Other times the website wasn’t enough you’ll need to know much more. I just ended up extra confused, conflicted and who I was felt diluted like badly made Ribena.
I tried to find myself in the noise. Not only from constant interview prep and responding to recruiters, technical tasks and considering questions to ask potential new employers. I didn’t want to say no to anything in case it was what I was looking for. You think this amount of attention would have imbued me with confidence. Ha! Never underestimate impostor syndrome’s ability to swoop in, steal your lunch and make it complicated.
I was horrifically honest throughout with everyone I spoke to. I’ve had some really great, motivating conversations with recruiters / HR people/ Team Leads and some less so. In house technical recruiters are an amazing idea; the ones I’ve dealt with have been lovely, lovely people and are definitely my new heroes.
The people pleaser / appeasement parts of my personality were on overdrive and I agreed to conversations I didn’t want to be in and applied for companies that weren’t for me. At the beginning of week 2 I felt wrecked, exhausted and stressed beyond belief. Then I got an offer but didn’t even react to it – I was so entrenched in preparing for the next interviews. I wanted to just take it, step off the merry-go-round without thinking but I knew deep down that would be a mistake.
Something shattered in me and I got to the point where I’ve had to ask for more time, to chase people and for people to get back to me by this or that time. I made time to find my voice: reassemble and carve out courage. Amongst the chaos I reached a beautiful point of clarity and calm.
Underneath it all I felt a stronger, more confident creature emerging from the rubble. I did not expect any of what has happened over the last couple of weeks but, retrospectively, it has been a valuable, empowering and enriching experience.
I got 3 offers in total. All distinctive roles with great, unique opportunities and scope for me to be very different kinds of tester. It was an extremely hard decision, as I felt connected to these teams and people I had met and I didn’t want to leave anyone in the lurch.
In the end I went with my gut. I joked about dice and I had an extremely elaborate spreadsheet but I chose the one I had the biggest and strongest emotional reaction to. The one that will really challenge me both short and long term. It puts me on the biggest learning curve and I am so ready for that.
Thanks for reading!