As an engineer I love to work and talk about software and software development. Looking for a new opportunity is not an easy task. There is a story behind every choice people make, and in this article I will explain my vision and situation. This is certainly not an employer review, but rather a reflection on past and maybe future choices.
Just too often I have to explain why my resume looks like I have been hopping between jobs. Part of this is true and the other has a story behind it. I love a challenge and also do not mind when a company hires me for my knowledge, but I also prefer to be employed for a longer period and be able to work on the stuff that matters. Work needs to be meaningful and satisfying...
In the Netherlands I worked for an employer which provides consultancy. This often involved on-site work. These clients, and consultants, like to work as close as possible, as if you are employed by them. However, they keep the flexibility to end a contract when the project you are assigned on ends or has no budget. These assignments are usually short-term as they need hands or knowledge to finish it. If you know 'the Mythical Man-month', you know that introducing engineers late in a project often does not work as expected. Although, wome of my assignments have dealt with longer term solutions, such as software rewrite, knowledge hiring, etc. I loved my work as certainly felt very appreciated.
After this, due to circumstances and a 'lost bet' with my wife, we moved to China. Being employed in a foreign country involves sometimes with work of an imperfect nature.
One of those is of having project based assignments, but unlike before I would be directly hired by the employer. Which means that the contract will not last longer than the allotted budget for the project. These project are challenging as they often deal with a new technology or a changed environment for the employer. I have been on at least two projects here in China and have learned a lot from dealing with an inter-cultural environment and how to assist with adopting a more 'Western' approach to management (agile methodology). Re-assignments were discussed, but often involved a big change in work or other less than ideal propositions. If in that case there is no fit anymore, it is best to move on. This choice would be in the best of interest of both the employer and employee.
The other situation is when dealing with startups. Startups often require an employee that is able to be all-round, as this allows to keep a minimal headcount. Again, the work is mostly challenging and benefits a lot from multi-disciplined engineers. I have worked for several startups, and most of the cases it is very enjoyable work. The experience has led to some good success stories, although some of them have also disappeared. The work includes a lot of uncertainty. While some startups might look like they have matured, they can still hide unpleasant surprises when dealing with management or decision-making. This can have an affect on how the atmosphere will be at work. It can be a happy place one-day... and a poisonous one the other day.
I understand an assessment of a possible match is difficult. There are probably many applicants, long resumes to wade through. Automated system exist to deal with analysing a 'match' based on the resume provided. And often, theese systems fail to understand what people really meant to say or provide a picture of the working history. And I understand this is somehow needed.
In my situation, the resume often happens to be sent to the local Chinese branch. And here, my resume or application, disappears into an abyss; often the recruiter does not reach out.
If you want to be employed into a group you like to work with, get noticed. Work with them, and show your passion. This is why I work on Open Source projects. It is what I like most, as it involves technology, but also an essential soft skill (or perhaps a thick skin). Hopefully this can lead to a recommendation. As this is still the best way to get hired.
What I want
At the moment I am looking for a new opportunity. As you have read, I am a software engineer, but have worked in several different roles related to it. Multi-disciplinary and professional. Knows a lot about Linux, Open Source and China. If you want to know more about me, please have a look at:
What I want is a great and challenging environment. This means that work is meaningful and provides satisfaction. It should provide growth potential and understand that people need to focus on continuous improvement. Agile taught me one thing, we’re never really good enough. And third, and most important is trust. Trust in colleagues, fairness and respect... without trust you can not have a great work environment. But you also need trust that people dare to admit when they are not experts at something yet, but you allow them to develop themselves.
Hope to hear from you. If you have a comment, please do not hesitate and leave one below.