Sports Stories, Uncategorized 2 comments on My sexy assist

My sexy assist

I had a really pretty assist today.

We have an 8-on-8 league, and last week our game was quite embarrassing. We didn’t show up to play mentally at all, and ended up losing 2-7, and I broke my nose in the process. There were a million and one excuses, but it really came down to the fact that we sucked. I broke my nose on a header that I won against a guy who was a bit taller than me, and was going full bore into my face. It hurt like hell, and it bled about as bad.

One week later, and we come to tonight. The team we played against was a lot better, but they were down a man, and that really helped us out. The field opened up, we had these really fantastic moments of brilliant passing. It was raining a bit, but it didn’t really affect the game I would argue. It was a night that reminds you why you play the game. On to my assist…

We were tied 2-2, and I got a throw-in from Michael Hack. I was at the right edge of the 18-yard box about mid-way up (so approximately at the penalty spot). I thigh trapped it, and heard “Just turn and shoot” out of the background. So, before letting the ball hit the ground, I pivoted, and shot far side upper 90. The goalie probably had a pretty good chance to get a hand on my shot, but a teammate knocked the ball in off of his head just high enough that the goalie had no chance.

It was sexy…

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 2 comments on Smarter interviewing for college students

Smarter interviewing for college students

I didn’t know what to ask when I was coming out of school of potential employers. Having been in the job world for a few years now (going on three which is one part amazing, one part soul destroying), I think I’ve got a set of questions that I think college students need to ask. As my younger brother is on the verge of graduating, these might be useful to him, but hopefully they are useful in general to anyone who runs into them.

The questions are:

  1. What is the company culture like?
  2. Who will my mentor(s) be?
  3. How will this company make me better in 3 years? in 5 years?
  4. What motivates you to stay at the company?
  5. How much time is dedicated to experimentation, execution and process?

The questions serve the following roles:

  1. What is the company culture like?
    As far as I can tell, culture is the single biggest prohibiting factor at a company. Having a great culture can’t make a company, but having a poor culture will sink a company. I don’t know if anyone will openly admit that things are wonderful or horrible in an interview, but deep dive into their answer. Are people motivated to work? Do people go above and beyond the call of duty? I think what the college student wants to find out is if they are around a group of people who are motivated by the same things that they are. The company should also be trying to figure this out about the student, but not all companies put in the effort to have culture be part of the interview process.
  2. Who will my mentor(s) be?
    I think that this question is the biggest one that I missed. In the formative years of one’s career, don’t go through and try to figure it all out on your own. It only leads to failure and frustration.Having a strong mentor figure early in one’s career can really help establish how successful years 5 – 10 will be, and those years can only be successful if the foundations for success have been set in years 1 – 4.The thing to ├é┬áreally learn here is how cross-functional a group of individuals there are for one to learn from. Don’t just expect that your boss will be your mentor. Ask someone from marketing, product or sales to be your mentor when your job function is in fact an engineer. Understand where you want to be, and find someone in that role to help you understand the path between you and them. In fact, it’s probably better if your boss isn’t your mentor because it’s scary to be honest with your boss about your relationship with them. I got really lucky in that I felt that, after a hurdle or two of the opposite, Yang and I could really be honest with each other about everything, and it led to a really great relationship. That said, I would say that I look to Yang as a mentor more now than I did when he was my boss, as an example.
  3. How will this company make me better in 3 years? in 5 years?
    I actually think that this one is more important for the applicant than for the answer. The applicant should sit down and think about where they want to be in 3-5 years, and understand what it takes to get there. If they don’t know, then ask. I think introspection is a big part of having a successful interview. If you don’t know what you want, then you can’t gauge if you’re succeeding in getting it or not.
  4. What motivates you to stay at the company?
    I’m curious to understand why the person that I’m interviewing is still at the company. In the Valley especially, anyone who has a modicum of skill can jump ship, and find a new job pretty immediately. Especially at the junior engineer level, where folks are probably underpaying you, and just throwing some stock at you to make you feel better about yourself.

    So find out why this person hasn’t jumped ship, and found the next big thing. What about the current company inspires them to stick it out, and make this the basket in which they put their proverbial eggs? If the answer is that it’s a job, then you’re probably in trouble.

  5. How much time is dedicated to experimentation, execution and process?
    This is a big one for me, because I really feel as if I burned myself badly here. If you’re a hacker, or you just like building things, and there’s no room for experimentation, then it’s the wrong company for you. If you’re unorganized, and you can’t find your elbow from your shoulder, and there’s no process, then this is the wrong company for you.

    Again, introspection comes into play, as you have to really understand what makes you tick, but if you’re confident that what makes you tick is someone giving you a spec, and you drilling the hell out of it, then find a company where execution and process are more highly valued than experimentation. It just makes everything easier from getting motivated to being the person who is excited about what they do, selling the company and being a good advocate.

Those are my five questions that I wish I had known to ask before starting a job out of school. They may not be immediately relevant to everyone, but I do think that some piece of each one is relevant to understanding whether a job that you’re interviewing for is really one that you want. It’s the rest of your life, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week… do something you love.