INACTIVE POST – For a Limited Time Only: Looking for Work (2020 edition)

date2020-06-30
11 min read
tags

This is no longer an active post. I accepted a job offer and am no longer looking for work. I am leaving the post up for archival purposes

For a limited time only, I am on the market for a new job. Last time I was looking for work, I wrote a sort of reverse job posting that helped me reflect on what I was looking for and communicate it to people who might want to work with me. It was pretty successful, so I am trying it again. Please take a look and get in touch if you think I would be a good fit for your organization and vice versa.

P.S. I can’t believe it’s been five years since the last time I did this. Time is an illusion!

Last updated on 2020-07-05.

When

Soon! I am happy to start conversations and interviews now. I am giving myself a little time off to recharge, so I am aiming for a start date in August or September.

Where

I am currently based in Portland, OR and plan to stay. I am exclusively looking for jobs that will allow me to work remotely with zero travel for the foreseeable future. I will consider going into an office or occasionally traveling for work again when the global health situation is dramatically improved (timeline unknown).

Real talk: why are so many companies still requiring people to relocate right now? Make the best of this bad situation and learn to support remote work!

About me

Check out my LinkedIn or resume for an overview of my work experience, education, and more.

I am a software engineer with over 13 years of experience that specializes in frontend web development. My depth in frontend is complemented by a breadth of experience throughout the stack and non-technical skills that multiply my impact through communication, collaboration, and leveling up the people around me.

Frontend web development excites me because I get to consider a lot of different problems (design, UX, performance, accessibility, and so much more) while getting to write code and fight for a great experience for users. I am comfortable diving deeper into the stack as part of my job, but frontend is my happy place. My next job does not need to be 100% frontend, but I want it to be something I regularly work on.

I spent the last five years focused on React development in ES6, but I am very open to learning and working with other frontend technologies. My backend experience includes a smattering of Node, Ruby on Rails, and Java. I have many years of experience shipping large, complex, cross-team projects. I am known for my pragmatism, and people that work with me trust me to make good decisions that balance technical quality and business needs.

In addition to my strong technical skills, I bring a wealth of non-technical skills to the table that I developed over my years as an architect, tech lead, mentor, and contributor to the tech community. I am known for my writing and public speaking. I spearheaded mentoring, coaching, and training in my workplaces and tech communities.

My most recent role was as a principal engineer and architect. While I enjoyed my time as an architect helping teams make good technical choices and succeed, I am hoping for my next role to take me closer to writing code and delivering features to users again.

What I'm looking for

The main things I am looking for right now are:

  • Good people — The people you work with and the culture of the organization are critical. None of the other things matter without them.
  • Interesting problems — I enjoy a challenge, so I can continue to learn and grow. These could be interesting customer needs, technical problems, engineering practices, or some combination thereof.
  • Work/life balance — We are all living in unprecedented times that are putting an additional strain on our lives. I want to work somewhere that is understanding of this and helping employees find a sustainable balance.

Location

I am primarily looking for organizations within three time zones of my location in Portland, OR (Pacific time) for reasonable work hour overlap. You do not have to be based in the US, but you do have to be set up to support remote employees based there (e.g. health insurance).

Size

I am primarily looking for a small to midsize organization. I've found that the extremes of giant corporations (e.g. IBM, Google) and tiny, early stage startups are less likely to be a good fit for me. That said, I'm open to hearing from you if you think your giant/tiny workplace is an exception that fits what I'm looking for.

Type of work

Section added on 2020-07-05 to clarify a bunch of questions I was getting in emails.

As noted in the “about me” section, I am looking for more of a hands-on individual contributor engineering role right now. I am happy for this to include some leadership responsibilities (e.g. tech lead, organizing frontend-focused communities of practice), as long as I am still spending a reasonable amount of time coding. I am very interested in helping mentor, coach, and otherwise level up those around me. However, I am not interested in formal people management responsilities at this time.

Teams that build product for users tend to be the best fit for my experience, skills, and passion. A team that works on internal tools or other internal-facing projects may excite me if they are solving some interesting problems and engage with their internal users to build solid experiences.

Culture

The following are some of the things that are important to me in the culture where I work.
  • Communication & collaboration — People work together to solve problems. They share knowledge and collaborate with people from other roles to build the best solutions for users. People err on the side of writing things down to share information with others, which is critical for remote workplaces.
  • Emotional intelligence — People are encouraged to identify, evaluate, control, and express emotions in a healthy way at work and bring empathy to how they interact with others. This is reflected in how people treat one another. Yelling at or belittling others would be out of place and a cause for concern.
  • Work/life balance — You prefer to work smart at a sustainable pace, so you are successful with a low risk of burnout. People work about ~40 hours a week or less and accomplish a lot because of focus and alignment. Working on weekends only happens in extreme situations. When people leave work at the end of the day or go on vacation, they are able to disconnect.
  • Continuous delivery — Teams deploy code and ship features to users regularly. They prefer to deliver value to users in smaller chunks and then iterate (instead of delivering huge features rarely).

Pros

The following things will excite me about your organization. Think of them as bonus points!

  • Flexible work schedule. I tend to work 9:30am-5:30pm PT, but appreciate flexibility when I need to adjust.
  • 20+ days of paid vacation.

    • If you have unlimited vacation, expect to “show your work.” I suggest information about recommended minimums and the average amount of time off employees take in a year.
  • Unlimited sick leave.
  • 401k match.
  • Support for employees using company time for things like professional development, open source contributions, and community outreach.
  • No on call outside work hours. I know this is relatively rare these days, but I can dream!
  • Budget for home office setup and recurring home office costs (e.g. internet).
  • Your organization actively helps people or otherwise does good in the world.

Cons

The following things will make me less excited about your organization. They’re not dealbreakers, but I will expect to be paid more if some of these practices are present at your company.

  • Combined vacation & sick leave (unless you have a very large amount of leave). This tends to punish employees who get sick, which people rarely have control over.
  • Policies that limit what employees can do with their free time (e.g. banning open source contributions or side projects unrelated to the business).
  • On call outside work hours. I know this is very common for modern tech jobs, and I am ok with it as a job requirement at reasonable levels. I just expect to be paid more to do it.

    • Expect to let me know how often I will be on call (e.g. 1 week every 6 weeks) and how frequently your team tends to get paged outside of business hours.
  • Support for very old browsers. I can do it and have for many years, but it makes me sad.

Dealbreakers

The following are dealbreakers. Your organization is not going to be a good fit.

  • Required to work in the office. I’m not going in an office any time soon.
  • Required to travel. I’m not going in an airplane any time soon.
  • Heavy on call requirements outside work hours. For example:

    • On call more frequently than 1 week per month.
    • Very frequent after hour pages for a significant period of time (i.e. your team likely isn’t being allowed to fix underlying issues).
  • Your company has zero women employees. I don’t want to be a “first” right now.
  • Your company has zero people of color employees. Why?!
  • Your company sells to ICE and/or CBP.
  • Low quality or non-existent health care coverage.
  • Heavy drinking culture. None of us are getting together any time soon, but if this was a part of your culture before covid, it still worries me.
  • You don’t have HR. Exceptions may be made for early stage startups, but I will expect the founders to be able to demonstrate an ability to handle HR-related issues without them.

Contact me

See note at the top of the post. I am no longer considering any additional companies right now.

Does all of this sound interesting to you? Awesome! You should contact me if you meet all of the following criteria.

  • You work for the organization you are contacting me about. Ideally you are a hiring manager, software engineer, or someone who works closely with the team (e.g. designer, QA, PM).
  • You read the post and think your organization would be a good fit for me and vice versa.
  • Your organization is hiring now or in the near future.
  • You are hiring for a role that will be remote for the forseeable future.

Please contact me via email at julie.pagano+jobs@gmail.com and include the following:

  • The name of the organization you are contacting me about.
  • Where the organization is based.
  • What kind of organization it is (e.g. private/public company, non-profit, government).
  • Information about the organization’s remote work policies.
  • A brief description of why the organization would be a good fit for me and vice versa.
  • Information about the position(s) and/or a link to relevant job postings.
  • Any other information you think is useful. For example, I’d love to hear how you are handling working during covid.

FAQs

Why are you only looking for remote jobs?

I WANT TO LIVE! No, seriously, this whole covid thing is a lot. Until there is a clear light at the end of the tunnel (e.g. a vaccine that has been widely implemented), I will be prioritizing my health over a job that requires working in an office or traveling. Remote work can be awesome if you care about doing it right, and I am excited to work somewhere that is making that investment!

Why did you leave your last job?

Working at New Relic for over four years has been incredibly valuable for my growth as a software engineer and as a person. I learned a lot, expanded my skills, tried out architecture as a role, and finally earned the coveted “principal” title. I am grateful for the kind and talented people I worked with during my tenure there. The people and the culture were really what made New Relic such a great place.

Unfortunately, the culture has changed significantly, and it is no longer a good fit for me. They would not pass the rubric in this post. In particular, the work/life balance became incredibly challenging during covid with a regular pressure to work nights and weekends for months on end. I am hoping to find a more stable and sustainable workplace.