Thoughts on Job Searching

Life: I had a wonderful time spending Memorial Day with two college friends who flew in from Texas.
– I had told my parents that I was studying for interviews back in February, I told them I was looking for a job at the beginning of May, and today I told them that I quit my job because I was having trouble meeting deadlines at work after I made my mind up to find a new job. My mother is a big worrier and gets anxious if bad things happen that are out of her control. I’m grateful that my father works in tech and he helped reassure my mom that the job market is hot and I won’t have any trouble finding a new job. I feel justified in waiting a few weeks to tell her because having options like an offer in hand if I wanted to accept as well as multiple onsite interview request all helped reassure her. At first she was very hesitant and I could feel her apprehension and worry over the phone but 30 mins later I felt like she was smiling and my parents both wished me good luck in my job search. This was THE MOST NERVERACKING conversation I had in the past month but I’m glad that I could walk my parents through my thought process and that they trust I’ll be okay.
– My boyfriend booked flights for his family to fly out to meet my family around Fourth of July. Because I’m anonymous I can share this early, we’re getting engaged!

Health & wellness: As expected, I only worked out 6 times in May. Even though I’ve stopped exercising, I’m also eating less so I weigh the same.
– I have health, dental, and vision insurance till the end of June, I will have to explore COBRA or some alternatives for health insurance by then. I’m considering going without health insurance till I find a job if there is no tax penalty for going without insurance anymore.

Financial:
– I turbocharged my 401K in the last month I was employed and have thus contributed over $14K and got $7K in employer contributions for 2019.
– I currently have sufficient cash for my needs and am still holding $6K cash in my brokerage account
– My portfolio is only about 20% international stocks now. I’ve tried to maintain a 30/70 split between international/domestic for over a year so it’s time to rebalance.

Career:
– I’ve never felt in a position of power in my career so I often opted to please others in my job even if it happened at the detriment of completing my tasks. This is my main learning from my previous job, to be selfish and not care so much about helping others. I won’t make the same mistake in my next one.
– Job searching is emotionally draining in a different way than working full time. Working involves a lot of monotony and grinding while job searching is an emotional rollercoaster of social interactions, acceptances, and rejects on both mine and the company’s parts. Job searching plays to my strengths of people pleasing and test taking/being book smart so I’m not worried.
– The current difficulty in my job search is making sure I schedule onsites close enough together that I can get multiple offers and pit competing offers against each other.

Looking for a Job

Life: I took a weekend roadtrip with my bf a few weeks ago and flew to Texas last weekend. I’m also looking forward to two friends flying in from Texas over Memorial Day weekend! 😀
– I flew to Texas to celebrate my best friend graduating with a Masters this past weekend. A mutual friend from our college also attended and it was really nice catching up with them.
– My boyfriend’s parents are visiting for a couple months so I hardly get to see him once a week. Needless to say I really miss him and it’s highlighted the need for me to move and be geographically closer to him. The San Francisco Bay Area is a huge metropolitan region spanning 9 counties and maybe 100 miles north to south depending on how you’re measuring. My boyfriend and I live 45 miles and 2 counties away so it’s definitely a trek to see each other. It’s time to change this.
– I’m reaching out to a lot of friends, classmates and colleagues asking them to refer me to the companies where they work. It’s at this point that I’m thankful that I’m on good terms with so many people in my industry and area. I referred quite a few of them to my company when they were looking for a job and they are giving me lots of advice and resources going into my job search. The most valuable advice is coming from friends who attended interviewing bootcamps as these friends know how to structure and manage time and companies.

Health & wellness: I worked out 13 times in April, so actually stayed pretty even with March numbers. But definitely dropping drastically in May.

Financial:
– I got my state tax return, this definitely helps with my cash flow situation.
– I’m so glad for having cash on hand right now. I have $6K in my checking account on top of about $6K in cash I’m holding in my brokerage account. This amount is counted in “Stocks” but I’m currently thinking of it as an emergency fund I can transfer to checking if necessary. This will tide me through at least 3 months of unemployment, though I’m hoping for under 1 month without a salary. I’m also planning to sell recently vested RSUs as usual but I may keep the proceeds in cash until I find a new job rather than reinvesting them immediately.
– I cancelled my ESPP contribution and I’m doubling my 401K contribution for the remainder of my employment because I don’t think my new company will have such a generous matching policy as my current company.

Career:
– I am searching for a new job, both because I came to grips with reality in my current job as well as to move closer to my boyfriend. I feel like I’ve been walking a tightrope for the past 6 months. Either I do things with an eye for the long term and blow through deadlines or I hit deadlines and ignore any work that’s not absolutely essential to the task at hand. I prefer doing the former while my manager prefers me doing the latter. Both of us finally lost patience with the ensuing disappointment, and I officially resigned yesterday. My last day is around mid-June so I have time to line up what I’m doing next.
– I’m giving a lot of thought to where I want to be next. There’s many aspects of my work that I enjoy like my teammates and the technologies, but engineering here is very much run by committee which gets frustrating. I work at a tech behemoth so I’m looking to join a small or mid-sized company now. I also want to keep making a similar amount of money which is hard because I’m very much stuck here with golden handcuffs. I think this is something I’ll figure out as I interview at more places and talk to more people.
– I’m in a good spot in terms of interview prep. Prepping for software engineering roles involves a lot of studying data structures, algorithms, and system design. I started practicing data structures and algorithms on leetcode.com in February and have solved 80 questions so far including a few hard ones. My interview prep on the side may even have correlated with my unintentionally slacking at work over the past few months, I’m not sure. I took a break from interview prep in April in a last ditch effort to salvage my job and I’m glad I did so, but it didn’t work so now I made a plan to get the most well-rounded practice from my prep time. The take-away here being: Trust my gut and dive in immediately and whole-heartedly when it says I need a change.

Finally Focusing on Work

Life: Still local since the last entry. Still planning on visiting a friend in mid-May. Still haven’t booked flights yet.
– Highlight of my month: I went to Women Who Code’s Connect 2019 conference in SF. I volunteered for WWC so I got to attend for free. I really enjoyed getting to learn about all the amazing women working in my industry.
– I went to San Francisco’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown last weekend. The weekend before I met a friend to walk in Golden Gate Park for an afternoon.
– I’m Konmarie’ing my boyfriend’s apartment to some extent by giving him closet and drawer organizers. I commute to and from his place so nowadays we spend most nights together. We also attended a friend’s engagement party together this past month and got invited to another friend’s wedding in July.

Health & wellness: I worked out 14 times in March. But I’m skipping the evening classes I usually attend at the company gym lately and working late instead. I won’t match this number in April.
– I got a DXA scan earlier this week and I’m composed of 36% body fat, which put’s me at 80th percentile for 20-somethings. I was at 36% one year ago, I plateaued. I need to start watching what I eat, especially sweets, in order to make progress getting a healthier body. -_-
– I tried out a few dance studios nearby and decided I like the fitness classes at my company’s gym the best.

Financial:
– I filed federal and state taxes. But I think I made a mistake entering the cost-basis of the stocks I bought through ESPP so I want to go back and check whether I need to file an amendment.
– Grove was really good in getting my boyfriend more comfortable thinking about and discussing questions around finances and goals as a couple. He learned the concept of having limited investment options in a 401K and is thinking about the pros and cons of rolling over his old 401K vs. keeping it as-is. I was surprised to learn that he knew what accredited investors were and had done some research about becoming one.
– My boyfriend and I also discussed goals we wanted to reach before and after meeting with the Grove financial advisor. It’s made the future seem a lot more concrete and close-at-hand.

Career:
– I got a warning from my manager that I -need- to show results at work so I’ve been really diligent in the office for the past month. I use Pomotodo every day to track when I work and what I work on. I also plan what to work on each day and Pomotodo makes me keep re-focusing on completing those tasks.
– My boyfriend cooks more and it’s done alot freeing up energy and willpower I expend for food. I used to pick up dinner from a restaurant for both of us on my way to his home. Lately I have dinner at work while he cooks himself chicken breasts or other frozen food. He packs tea in my water bottle in the morning for me to drink during my commute to work. And he keeps oatmeal or can make me eggs in the morning on the weekends. Spending the night with him makes me feel less guilty about going to work early and staying late because we still spend sufficient time together. So him leveling up in the kitchen is indirectly helping me focus on my career.

Making Space for Career

I’m trying out a new format. Let me know how you like it!

Life: I stayed local in February but I am considering making the trip to a friend’s graduation in May.
– Highlight of my month: Going to the Exploratorium on Valentine’s Day. It was open in the evening for adults-only, plus they had special chocolate-themed exhibits. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of their adults-only evenings.
– I went to a Cal Performances show in Berkeley with an old colleague. The show itself was overpriced; I’ll only go again if a show -really- intrigues me. But my friend and I chatted for hours afterwards over food and coffee. I super enjoyed catching up since I hadn’t seen her since last year!
– Finally, I made my boyfriend watch a couple episodes of Marie Kondo and he hated it. He couldn’t understand why she was so happy and squealed with joy whenever she entered the home. He understood why I felt vindicated by her philosophy of tidy tho. For years I’ve wanted him to assign a designated place for his household things. Haha!

Health & wellness: I worked out 12 times in February.
– I went to the optometrist and used up last and this years’ FSA funds for a year of contacts. I spent $70 on top of insurance and FSA: $10 in copay, $30 for a special test to check for blood flow, etc. which was healthy, $30 to express my Meibomian gland since the optometrist said it was clogged and causing the dryness in my right eye. Afterwards I watched videos about it and will use a warm towel on my eyes if I notice a clog going forward. Now that I’ve tried them, I won’t do the special test or gland expression again.
– I got a hair trim. Yay no more split ends!

Financial:
– I converted my Traditional IRA to Roth.
– I started taxes around President’s Day and plan to file by next week. I’ll need to pay a lot in federal taxes since I didn’t have enough withheld and I’ll get a state tax refund. I’m pooling together extra cash to pay the IRS next month.
– I scheduled an appointment with a Grove financial planner in mid-March for me and my boyfriend. It cost me the early bird price of $600 since I got on the wait list last year; their regular price is $900 annually. We connected all our accounts before scheduling the appointment and the planner asked me to fill out a spreadsheet with our cash flow, earnings, etc. before our appointment.

Career:
– I think I spend less time keeping up with media now. I worry less about coordinating my schedule with my boyfriend’s too. I’m spending that time doing Leetcode a few hours a week instead. I’ve solved 21 questions so far.
– At my boyfriend’s recommendation, I’m trying out Pomotodo to track my time at work. I like it so far but often forget to start tracking when I start working on something.

After Health? Career.

Happy New Year! I booked flights last minute and arrived at my parent’s house on Christmas Eve, I flew back to the west coast on New Years Day. I spent a lot of time with my family and had an amazing time. I’d worked from home the last time I visited and hadn’t gotten much time with family then. This time I was on vacation all week so I went on a walk with my mom, helped her start a 30-day exercise program and configure her phone settings, and bought my dad some badly needed new pants. I also read Anthem by Ayn Rand, The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, and Little Moments of Love Catana Comics by Catana Chetwynd, among others. Our family went to an amusement center where my mom played laser tag for the first time. I had a lot of fun on the ropes course they had hung from the ceiling too!

I’ve taught my boyfriend about personal finance for the past year and helped him fund a backdoor roth IRA for 2018. I’m getting fairly advanced with my own financial life as well. I took advantage of the downturn in December to tax loss harvest and move money from a fund with a 0.17% fee to one with a 0.03% fee. Since I closed my rollover IRA in 2018, I’m funding a backdoor roth IRA for 2019 now.

I was a health beast in December; I worked out 22 times, including 13 days in a row at the beginning of the month! This means I’m starting 2019 feeling caught up on exercise and I’ll be happy as long as I continue working out thrice a week going forward. I can finally breath through my nose again thanks to Flonase, it’s soooo freeing because I’m very particular about having my sinuses clear at all times. My sister even commented on how soft my arms felt! My hands and arms used to be really rough and dry 3 years ago, they’ve improved a lot since I established a skincare routine earlier in 2018. I’m really proud of how I’ve designed a healthy lifestyle in 2018.

My goal for 2019 is to become more engaged with my industry. Since I work at a large company it’s easy to work a bare minimum and stop growing; I also work on a mature application so it’s hard to move fast. Incidentally, my two remaining quarterly goals from last quarter got rolled over into this quarter, and I was assigned one new goal this quarter. I’ve spoken to a couple people working at smaller companies in the past month and their work is a lot more self-directed. They learn things outside of work and help apply those things at their jobs. I want to get closer to that. Perhaps I’ll read an industry article every day, learn a new technology and get certified for it, or take an evening class. I need to come up with a plan this week and stick to it.

For anyone in the tech industry, I’d love to hear about what you’re planning to learn next and how 😀

Frank Career Conversations

I’m back from vacationing in China and it was amazing!!! Not just the country itself, the trip gave me faith in my boyfriend too. I’d gotten a Chinese visa and booked flights a week before I took off so I landed in Beijing with zero preparation. My boyfriend met me at the airport and took care of almost everything for the week we were there. It really helped that I could forget about everything stateside, and focus only on him and what was around us. He noticed how carefree I was too.

I went full speed at work as soon as I got back. I have three goals to finish by the end of this year and I finished the easiest one in October. I unblocked one goal remaining from last quarter in October as well. I’m working on the second goal right now and am making progress, but I’ve been slacking this week so I might buckle down this weekend to make up for it. I paid to do traffic school and plan to take the course online this weekend as well.

My manager is being very frank with me during our 1-1’s and she’s making me realize that as hard as I’m working right now, I still need to get a lot better at work. I asked her openly what was missing between how I perform and how someone at the next level would perform and she answered that there’s 3 things I need to do in order to get promoted:
1. Execute consistently on my tasks and deliver them on time. My manager also added that I should do this independently, not wait for others to hand me solutions. I’ve struggled with this in the past because I would distract myself with one-off things that ultimately were not important.
2. Lead others to complete a project. I’m not too enthused about this one.
3. Take initiative outside of my team by mentoring others, teaching at the company’s new hire bootcamp, etc. I wonder if this is really necessary…
Honestly, I’m thankful that I can even have such open discussions with her. And knowing what’s needed helps me see where I am in my journey more clearly.

I worked out 11 times in October and worked out for 7 days in a row last week, but I’ve been sneezing and having a stuffed nose since late October. I tried taking allergy pills, changing my bedding, upping the heat in my apartment, and getting a couple of massages but nothing’s worked. It’s more annoying than debilitating so I’ll deal.

Financially-speaking, the market tanked and my net worth decreased month-over-month. But more importantly I read the White Coat Investor’s articles on contributing to a backdoor Roth IRA. The article “17 Ways to Screw Up a Backdoor Roth IRA” really laid out the details and gave me confidence to get started. I finally cashed in my Rollover IRA and will roll it into my 401K this year so I can start making backdoor Roth IRA contributions next year. I’m excited!