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.

The Importance of Having a Mentor

Happy Holidays! I attended a family wedding over Thanksgiving weekend and stayed at my parent’s house the week after the wedding, so I just got back to California this past Sunday. It was a pretty long wedding since I also attended dinner events for the couple’s close friends and family for two nights before wedding day, but mostly it went smoothly. My parents let me take it easy at home last week since they could tell I was really tired after traveling and attending the wedding. This had the added effect of going easy on my credit card balances. I stayed in my sister’s bedroom and raided her dresser and desk while home; we’re similar sizes so this turned up some nice “new” clothes she let me take. I’m thinking of going back for the last week of December.

Otherwise, I’m grinding away… I took the online traffic school course, just need to confirm that they’ve told the county that I passed. And I rolled over IRA into my 401K, which is why I can zero out the Other Assets category. Fidelity made this really easy since I could just photograph the checks on their NetBenefits app. I’m grateful! Now my remaining IRA is Roth and I will be able to do backdoor Roth IRA contributions next year. My boyfriend has no IRA so I’ve sent him various resources on doing a backdoor Roth IRA contribution and told him to do it THIS YEAR. He’s promised me he will open one by the end of this week.

I worked out 10 times in November, which is quite good considering I was gone for a third of the month. My nose is still alternately stuffed or runny, but I feel better rested than a month ago. The week at home really helped!

I made some progress on my two remaining quarterly goals, honestly I’ll be happy to even finish one of them by the holiday shutdown in two weeks. Speaking with other women in my org this week made me realize that almost everyone else has a mentor. Since I’ve joined my company, I’ve cycled between viewing multiple people as my mentors but circumstances have forced these relationships to deteriorate somewhat. One high-level engineer moved to Seattle, I only see him in person every few months if he visits California. Another mid-level engineer stopped meeting me regularly in order to focus on his own career progression, he’s the one who got promoted in September and he’s super-busy now. And finally the last high-level engineer to join our team became my manager, so she can’t mentor me anymore even though I see her every day. These are the three people at my company who I’ve tried the most to open up to, they know my vulnerabilities the best and they’ve given me countless tips. The guy from Seattle is in California this week and catching up with him helped me shift to a broader perspective. I’ve decided to set up monthly video calls with him. I feel like I’ve gotten into a rut and notice myself repeating the same mistakes. I hope some of the things he suggested me will help me grow out of it. I will take all the help I can get at work right now. How about you? What have you learned from a mentor?

Slogging work, slugging life

Hat Creek Rim Scenic Viewpoint

I’m back! Something broke on networthshare.com and the login through Facebook functionality had stopped working so I wasn’t able to log in for my April entry. Shoutout to whoever fixed it! I deal with member feedback tickets in my job so I know how thankless it is.

Job-wise, I’ve been stuck on one major task for the past 6 weeks. I did my work and two weeks in we decided to scrap that and I had to redo the work over again. It’s almost done now and I hope to finish it by the end of this week, but “almost done” is not the same as “done done” -sigh-. I have actually finished one complicated task in the last 6 weeks and am almost done debugging another large refactor but those are not as important as the major task that’s dragged on. I’m losing the esteem of my manager and need to build it up again by finishing the two large tasks on my plate right now.

I finished taxes last month, it wasn’t too complicated. The funds from my previous 401K transferred to the new account. I later got another pair of checks from dividends, miscalculation, etc. which transferred to the new account as well. My brokerage account has grown nicely with the auto transfer and my retirement account is growing quickly with my employer match.

I’m still accumulating creature comforts. Last month I bought a desk and a computer monitor off Craigslist so I can viably work from home now. This month I bought a used iPhone 6 off Craigslist and a new Fitbit from Best Buy. The phone was overdue as my previous phone’s screen had cracked three months ago. I got a new case and screen protector from Best Buy so this won’t be happening again. Next up I’ll continue to work on my wardrobe but mostly I’ll spend money on summer travel.

I just came back from an epic road trip with my boyfriend in which we spent three days in the volcanic region of California. We had some serious couple talks and I couldn’t be happier with the long weekend. And I’m taking two days vacation and flying to the east coast next weekend. I think I’ll book tickets to Chicago for Independence Day weekend as well.

Monthly Networthshare Entry: https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2017/05

Transitioning to a new company

The new job is going well. I feel so much more welcomed on my new team than I was at my previous job. We had a sendoff at a nearby restaurant this evening for a teammate who’s moving to Seattle. I felt so welcome even though I only knew a few people going in. I’m also much faster picking up the new stuff I’m working on so I feel more accomplished all of a sudden. My manager sits next to me now so I am able to get immediate feedback about my work. I hardly saw my manager at my previous company. I’m glad I switched jobs.

Money-wise I have waaay more cash but that’s expected. I got my Roth IRA distribution checks (they got split into contributions and earnings). This means I can file my taxes now. I’m about done with federal taxes but haven’t looked into doing California state taxes yet. I’m fairly certain I owe federal taxes, I’ll need some cash for that. I did buy a microwave and might buy a desk this week, we shall see.

I got my first paycheck from the new job and I also got a sign on bonus. I set up very sizable paycheck deductions to the new company’s Roth 401k and their employee stock plan so I will be living off my cash stockpile for a while. I’ve never had a stock plan before. My company gives a 10% discount on the stock’s closing value at the end of each quarter. My 401k is fancier as well; my new company gives double the match that my previous company gave. It allows pre-tax, Roth, and after-tax contributions as well as automatic in service distributions of after-tax money.

I want to transfer my previous 401k so I currently have two checks totaling 55k on my bedroom floor (they got split into pre-tax and Roth). I will send them to the new plan administrator next. I’m also really proud of myself for setting up an auto-transfer into my brokerage account every two weeks. This too will draw on my cash reserves.

Monthly Networthshare Entry: https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2017/03

Minutiae of changing jobs

I’m late in making my entry this month. There is a lot going on. I quit my previous job and flew to visit my college friend over a weekend and stay with my parents for a week. I am so happy I got this time with my family, I didn’t spend so much time actually with family the last time I went to my parents’. I also got sick while at my parents’ and had to fly back while sick on Presidents Day with my flight getting delayed. I started a new job a week ago.

Money-wise too, lots going on. I got a tax refund check from filing a 2015 tax return amendment. My previous company paid me for accrued vacation so my last paycheck was extra large. With two roommates having moved out recently, I bought a dining set and will buy a microwave, desk, and maybe a sofa.

According to my W2, I made too much money last year to make a full Roth IRA contribution. I submitted the excess contribution withdrawal form to my brokerage and will get a check in the mail soon. The Retirement number in Networthshare will decrease and my cash will increase in the near future. Also I used my credit card to pay for 6 months of car insurance so that number is abnormally large just now. My car insurance rate did go down a little since I turned 25, but I really should shop around for a cheaper plan with a good company.

Monthly Networthshare Entry: https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2017/02