Monthly-ish Personal Update (Jan 2022)
Hi, this is my monthly-ish personal update to my most valued friends and allies. More info here. Guilt-free unsubscribe link at the bottom.
Here’s what’s been happening since the last 'monthly-ish' update in July, six months ago (925 words, 5m46s reading time):
I joined Craft Docs, the company that builds what was then my favorite product.
I had been thinking of leaving Giant Swarm. I felt bad. Giant Swarm is the most people-centric company I've ever encountered, I feel tremendous gratitude to them for helping me move to Germany, and in so many ways, they are a dream employer. But the Kubernetes thing just wasn't for me.
I wasn't even actively applying to jobs yet. It started with me messaging a PM I knew at Craft, saying, "It's probably not possible because Craft is based in Budapest and I need to work for a German company (because of my visa). But just in case, I am now open to new opportunities..." He replied with a screenshot of his todo list. He had been meaning to ask me if I would be willing to join Craft!
Turns out, it is possible. I did get an offer. And so, I joined Craft.
But then, it didn't work out at Craft.
I wrote five paragraphs about what happened, but decided that I’m not comfortable writing not great stuff about a former employer.
I'm joining Forto as a Senior Product Operations Manager!
January 2022 was difficult. My employment with Craft ended in December and I was job hunting. In order to stay in Germany and keep my Blue Card, I needed to find new work within three months.
It took 5.5 weeks, 19 applications, 48 interviews and coffee chats (34h30m talk time), 37.5 hours of preparing for them, many walks, a few burgers and fries, and a lot of playing-Tetris-for-stress-relief 😅
(And for the nerdy ones, I share my job search stats below.)
In retrospect, it was probably on the short and easy side of things. I was getting interviews. The rejections I was getting were reasonable. For example, the candidate hired was someone who's done exactly what an employer is hiring for. I was even withdrawing applications at almost the same rate (42.11%) than I was getting rejected (47.37%). Reasons: I don't like the product (backend, against personal ethics, etc.). I didn't like the team. Toxic culture. Too much homework too early in the process, and the company didn't reciprocate candidate's time investment. etc.
Still, it was already the 28th of January when I accepted an offer. I had only 1.5 months left in my 3-month deadline.
In the end, it worked out way better than I hoped for. For the first time ever, I am accepting an offer with no compromises. I got everything I wanted: the team, the role, the company, the salary, the product, the work setup, and even the location, which is 5mins away from my apartment! Of course, no job is perfect. But this is a pretty dang good start.
Here's what I wrote in my journal on January 30:
Oh man, I’m so excited to be starting with Forto! I’m joining a great team and a great company and a great role with a great salary in a great location. How lucky could I be??? And they even said I am their dream hire!
On top of all that, I'm really excited for Product Operations. It's a pretty new role in tech, probably only 3-5 years old. I'm excited to help shape this role not only in Forto, but also in the industry. I've already met many of the product operations people in Berlin and already helped organized our first meetup.
As I tell my Gen Propel students, job hunting can be one of the most lonely and demoralizing of endeavors. Talking to people helps a lot.
I want to thank the following people who helped me on this journey: Amir Baruch, Bruno Boeger, Armin Bognar, Chris Butler, Clea Cheng, Therese Chua, Gustaf Dahlbäck, Ayra Dimaapi, Karin Elsner, Donna Embodo, Jenny Herbison, Nikki Kalagayan, Aybala Coskun Karadayilar, Antonia Landi, Larissa Lanz, Christina Lopez-Tan, Omega Machimbira, Leslie Octaviano, Christopher Osborne, Oliver Ponder, Colin Roper, Hendrik Schlange, Joefree Semilla, Raj Singh, Ishaan Srivastava, and Marta Wozniak.
You have been so generous with your time, information, and encouragement, and they have been tremendously helpful. Thank you.
On the personal front, Gen Propel is on pause (for how long, TBD 😅), I completed my first half marathon in Lisbon (2h48m), and visited Greece, Paris, Budapest, Lisbon, and Vienna.
So that's what life has been in the last six months.
Your turn: What are you most looking forward to these days / this year? Hit reply. I'd love to hear from you.
2022 Berlin Job Search Stats
Total time: 5.5 weeks (1.5 weeks Christmas holidays in between)
Start: 13. Dec 2021
Accepted Offer: 28. Jan 2022
I applied to 19 positions. 14 product management and 5 product ops (there are not many open product ops positions yet). 4 cold applications, 8 friend referrals, 3 recruiter reached out, 4 LinkedIn outreach.
Aside from behavioral and 'on the spot' case study / problem solving interviews, I did 1 cognitive test and 2 case study / presentations (each of which I spent at least 5-10 hours on).
7 (36.84%) - No Interview / Up to HR Interview
5 (26.32%) - I dropped out after 1-2 interviews
2 (10.53%) - Reached final stage, no offer
2 (10.53%) - Offer
3 (15.79%) - I dropped out after accepting Forto's offer