Categories
Career Humor

The best one-on-one meeting story ever (or: Blind is WEIRD, man.)

I don’t care if it’s not real. I want it to be real!

I found the above post not on LinkedIn, but on Blind, the anonymous discussion board app for white-collar workers. Think of LinkedIn, but make it anonymous, angry, toxic, and total-compensation-obsessed.

The Blind app will kill your soul if you use it too often. It’s an ugly agglomeration of late-stage capitalist cynicism, career despair, envy-inducing discussions of total compensation, and occasionally a place for sexually frustrated tech bros to vent.

But like that lemonade they’ve been serving at Panera, while it’s toxic if you consume the full serving, Blind is useful for keeping you awake and aware if you keep your dosage small. As nasty as its content can get, if you:

  • Really want to get a sense of what’s going on in the business world,
  • Get the inside scoop on what it’s like inside a given company, or
  • Read some really unhinged stuff for poops and giggles…

…then you should download Blind and peruse it — very occasionally.

Here’s the text of the post:

Had an in-person 1-1 with my boss today. Was dreading this bc I hadn’t completed a task that was supposed to be done by the 1-1. —————————————————————-

I burst out in tears, and then boss comes over and gives me masculine pats on my shoulder. I don’t know why but I felt compelled to give him a hug, and HE RECIPROCATED!! Very warmly, in fact. We became locked in a double-man bear embrace, lol. Seems straight out of a bad tv drama, but it’s reality. We’re both guys too. (btw he’s really tall and muscular and manly)

He starts caressing my hair and rubbing the skin on my face, and at that moment, I felt something I’ve never had for any of my previous bosses. I’m in my early 30s; he’s in his late 30s, so age-wise, we’re not that far apart.

After about 5 minutes of being locked in this bear embrace, we both stand up and separate. He looks at me with a tenderness I’ve never seen before in his eyes.There was a spark

At that moment, I knew that everything was gonna be alright.

Categories
Career What I’m Up To

I’m Unified API’s developer advocate!

And hey, I work for a company with an octopus mascot!
I knew that office art would come in handy.

Long story short: I’m joining Unified API — or “Unified” for short, online at unified.to —as their Supreme Leader of All Things Developer Relations. That’s not my official title, but it’s the most accurate description of my role.

Unified’s product, like the best startup products, is something its founders needed but couldn’t find, so they made it: a unified API.

It’s a way to call all a whole lot of SaaS APIs from all sorts of categories — HR, ATS, CRM, marketing, authentication — from a single API.

Unified API’s founders, CEO Roy Pereira and CTO Alexey Adamsky.

If you’re going to join a startup, you had better believe in the founders, and I believe in Unified’s founders, CEO Roy Pereira and CTO Alexey Adamsky. I know them from when I live in Toronto — Roy from Toronto’s strong startup scene and its then-monthly DemoCamp gatherings…

…and Alexey, who developed one of the apps that I regularly showcased when I was Microsoft Canada’s breadth developer advocate for Windows Phone 7:

I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting and being vetted by Unified’s Head of Marketing, Kailah Bharath and Head of Sales Michelle Tomicic:

Unified’s Head of Marketing Kailah Bharath and Head of Sales Michelle Tomicic.

And yes, with the addition of Yours Truly, that’s the entire company. I’m back in startup mode!

The Pragmatic Engineer’s chart comparing working at a startup
vs. working in big tech. Tap to view the source.

It’s going to be an interesting change of pace, moving from a big tech company to a small and scrappy startup, but part of the allure is the adventure. As Gergely “Pragmatic Engineer” Orosz puts it, the good part about startups is that they’re are amazing places to learn in, and you can make a large impact and directly influence the company.

Of course, adventure doesn’t come without a “risk tax.” Being in a startup can be unsettling: there’s less financial stability, you can’t “coast,” and you’re always looking over your shoulder for the ever-present spectre of potential failure. But I prefer to live by this Venn diagram:

Unified is based in Toronto, but I will remain based here in “The Other Bay Area,” Tampa Bay, operating from my home office, pictured below…

My home office, where the developer relations magic happens!

I’m going to spend a lot of time going over Unified’s documentation, SDKs, blog, white papers, dashboard, and every other part of the developer experience and do what I can to make a great developer tool even better!

I’m looking forward to the adventure with Unified!

Categories
Career Humor

What researching a company on the “Blind” app feels like

“Noodles, this was Mr. Whiskers, our previous cat. Mr. Whiskers was very bad.
You’re a GOOD cat, aren’t you, Noodles?”

While you do your job search, you may want to get a sense of what it’s really like at a given company by looking them up in the Blind app. It’s not a bad idea, but remember that Blind’s users tend towards negativity. A lot of negativity.

As I wrote in an earlier post:

The Blind app will kill your soul if you use it too often. It’s an ugly agglomeration of late-stage capitalist cynicism, career despair, envy-inducing discussions of total compensation, and occasionally a place for sexually frustrated tech bros to vent.

But like that lemonade they’ve been serving at Panera, while it’s toxic if you consume the full serving, Blind is useful for keeping you awake and aware if you keep your dosage small. As nasty as its content can get, if you really want to get a sense of what’s going on in the business world or get the inside scoop on what it’s like inside a given company, you should download Blind and peruse it occasionally.

Categories
Career What I’m Up To

Laid off in 2024, part 20: One of the upsides of being laid off (electronics and IoT)

Joey de Villa’s “IoT box” — a clear plastic storage container containing Pimoroni Badger 2040W, Elegoo UNO R3 Super Starter Kit, Rasberry Pi 3 Model B, Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, 2 Raspberry Pi 4 Model Bs, Elecrow 5" HDMI screen, Elegoo 37 sensor module kit, and Raspberry Pi Pico.

One of the upsides of being laid off is that you get a couple extra hours a day — and only a couple, because getting a new job is your new job — to pick up some things that have fallen by the wayside. For me, one of those things was playing around with electronics and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and I’d been waiting for a chance to pull out my “IoT box,” pictured above.

Clockwise from the top:

I also have a basic electrical/electronics kit:

Joey de Villa’s electronic kit, a plastic container containing soldering iron, digital multimeter, and various electronics tools.

I’ve used it for all sorts of little repairs, including the time I fixed a manufacturing defect in one of our emergency lights.

Fix-It Felix: "I can fix it!"

There are big payoffs to being able to tinker with and fix physical things: it helps build a “can do” mindset that will serve you well, especially during a long post-layoff job search during a time when the jobs market is tough. It’ll take you far in work, life, and play.

I’ll write more about my IoT/electronics projects as I complete them.

Recommended reading/viewing

Additional notes for “Beyond the Circuit: The Everlasting Role of Hardware Skills”

This article features follow-up notes for Computer Coach’s LinkedIn audio event, Beyond the Circuit: The Everlasting Role of Hardware Skills, which took place on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Would you be able to perform this simple household repair?

One of our emergency battery-powered lights had a relatively simple defect that could be fixed with a relatively simple repair. Luckily, I had my soldering iron handy…

ℹ️ Oddly enough, this happened two layoffs ago.

Also in this series…

Categories
Career What I’m Up To

Laid off in 2024, part 19: Why I’m relying on connections and referrals

There are two main reasons why I’m relying on connections and referrals to land my next job:

  1. With one notable exception*, every job I’ve ever had came via a connection or referral, and
  2. Applying “cold” means filling out asinine applications like the one pictured above — and hoping to get noticed among the hundreds of others filling out the same form.

At the very least, they could’ve posed the question in a cool way…

🚨 Content warning: Samuel L. Mother-effing Jackson!

The “years of experience” field for English is probably the result of the application form software or the person who set up the form. They probably wanted a fluent English speaker and entered “English” into the “required skills” section. The software simply asks for years of experience for any required skill.

It should be noted that if your primary language is English, filling out the “years of experience” field for it gives away your age.

✳️ That exception? Auth0, which was later acquired by Okta. I saw the job on LinkedIn and filled out the application form.

In case you haven’t read it, here’s how I landed that job.

Also in this series…

Categories
Career Humor

Laid off in 2024, part 17: The only social network that matters

Tuesday’s Facebook outage didn’t bother me in the slightest — in fact, I hadn’t visited it for most of that day. However, as someone who’s been recently laid off and looking for their next gig and as the force behind Tampa Bay’s tech blog, I most certainly was concerned by LinkedIn’s outage.

Also in this series…

Categories
Artificial Intelligence Career

OpenAI needs bodyguards…er, “Executive Protection Operators”

While perusing OpenAI’s “Careers” page, I noticed that the drop-down menu that lets you filter jobs by department included Corporate Security, and that doesn’t mean cybersecurity, but security of much rougher, tougher, old-fashioned sort.

At the time of writing, this department has just one job listing, and it’s not one you’d expect to see for a software company:

Executive Protection Operator

About the team
The Corporate Security (CorpSec) team at OpenAI is dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of our people and facilities. We are committed to maintaining a secure environment that enables our team to focus on advancing artificial intelligence in a responsible manner.

About the role
As an Executive Protection Operator, you will play a crucial role in safeguarding the well-being of OpenAI’s executives and key employees. Your responsibilities will encompass providing security support during travel, events, and, when necessary, day-to-day operations. You will need to have proficiency in firearms handling and the legal authority to carry a firearm in the United States. You are a seasoned, collaborative security professional with a deep understanding of executive protection principles and a proven ability to navigate complex, dynamic security situations with discretion and tact.

This position is based in our San Francisco HQ. We use a hybrid work model of 3 days in the office per week, though this role is expected to have a flexible schedule that aligns with the travel and operational needs of the executives you support. We offer relocation assistance to new employees.

In other words: they’re looking for bodyguards.

Clearly the folks at OpenAI — not normally the best at “reading the room” — understand that the “creative destruction” that their products will unleash upon the world over the next few years will make them deeply unpopular in certain circles. It appears that they’re taking precautions (and hey, it might have been a suggestion from ChatGPT!).

My favorite part of the posting is the “desired qualities” list, especially the last item:

You might thrive in this role if you: 

  • Hold a current and valid Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) card for concealed carry in all 50 states, with 10+ years of related work experience or at least 5 years with an advanced degree.
  • Maintain the highest level of confidentiality and discretion, with a proven ability to stay composed in urgent and high-pressure situations.
  • Have experience in executive protection for top-level leaders in diverse environments and have completed recognized Executive Protection and driving courses.
  • Possess leadership experience coordinating with domestic and international law enforcement, military, intelligence, and corporate partners.
  • Are trained in tactical medical procedures and have a strong understanding of Google Workspace applications.

That last bullet point might be the first time the qualifications of tactical medical procedures and strong understanding of Google Workspace applications have been combined in a job requirement. Applicants might do well to write this in their cover letter:

I’m a medic in the streets, and a beast on Google Sheets!

No need to credit me with this line.

Are you qualified? Are you willing to take a bullet for Sam Altman or an equally machiavellian AI bro? Apply here.

And because the song from The Bodyguard is now stuck in my head, I’m sticking it in yours, too: