The Three-Month Interview
An interview is something that people tend to dread. You have to prepare for the interview, you have to interact with someone you have never met before (and sometimes there is a whole room full of them), you have to sit in the waiting room with your anxiety and worst of all you have to answer questions for things you did not even know existed, then act like you know what they are talking about and then wing the interview from then on. Those interviews can be the most intense one hour of a person’s life. Now imagine three months’ worth of that. Three months of proving yourself, three months of doing things you have never done before, three months of a new life. So, for the next five minutes, I am going to tell you about my three-month interview.
Before we start, here is my dictionary:
· Wing: to act as you understand what is going on or to guess your way through e.g. John did not study for his exam so he winged his exam and now he is going to repeat the subject next year.
· Rabbit (not to be confused with an actual rabbit): a human being who is an employee of Retro Rabbit.
· Buzzing: a really, really fun moment of time.
· R. Kelly: One of the best musicians of all time and also somehow my new nickname (which will be the first and last time you hear of it).
· #BeBetter: The motto.
· Code: The stuff I stare at every day for eight hours.
It was like entering another dimension. Immediately I passed the door it was like I approached my crush for the first time. Palms were sweaty, hands were shaking, it was my first job and the biggest thing since my first day of school (which I have absolutely no recollection of), but I pushed through despite my fears and stepped into my new world. Day one was buzzing, new faces, new people, a new mug (which I cannot seem to find anymore), and a new eight-hour home. Day one helped start the building blocks for weeks to come.
If day one was buzzing, then orientation was insanely buzzing! I honestly thought we were going to be sat down at a desk from day one and get told to code, but it was the complete opposite. We played dating games (relax it was kept professional), 30 seconds (I can see why people love the board game, I would choose it over a PlayStation any day), the Human Knot Game (I found myself in precarious positions) and other team building activities. It was fun, it helped us graduates bond together.
In one of the games in which we were split up into groups and told to complete multiple sets of puzzles, with the catch that the right puzzle pieces were mixed between the groups. Initially, the separate teams just wanted to complete their own puzzles and if they could not win, no one else could win, so we would withhold the pieces that another team needed (I know, it sounds criminal), but at the end, we were told that in the company sometimes you have to help out another team as we were all on the same team now when we joined the company. Even though we might be split up into different teams in the company, we are all one big Rabbit team. That still sticks with me, that I am part of something bigger now, and I have to work as a team for the sake of the team.
The Work Begins
On one cold morning in Braamfontein, our team lead took us aside and told us that we finally have projects and we would be put in separate teams. The way he explained what we needed to do in the projects was like a half-time team talk. He sat us down and said the game is about to begin. He spoke of technologies and terms we had never heard of. DevOps, Swagger, Umbraco. He spoke of code in a way that school never spoke of. It was all music to my ears, I spent years in school to get to this point in time and he gave us the rallying cry that made doing the job beautiful. Even after that whenever we were told the plan for what needed to be done next it still rallied me and right now work doesn’t feel like work anymore.
Day one of the actual work was rough. I was told to do one task and it would take me longer than anticipated. I would slowly press every key on my laptop wondering if I was even doing what was asked of me. Day ones are mostly never the best (far from it in fact), but a rough day one can kick you into the driving seat. It can push you to perform better, to assess yourself and see where you are left wanting, it can turn you into someone you never thought you could be. It made me want to #BeBetter and now I can gladly say I am not where I was three months ago; I am not where I was a month ago and I am not even where I was a week ago anymore. I know more and want to know more now.
The Social Aspect
Believe it or not, I was not always a social person. All these gatherings and conversations that people have, I just wanted to go to bed, watch a series and then wake up and watch some more, but now I needed to be part of all the Rabbits.
No doubt, it was not easy participating in the social aspects, but I need to make my eight-hour home a real home. I did not just want to get to the office and type some code down while I count down to five O’clock. I wanted to be part of the group of bunnies. Whether it’s participating in your movement, whether it’s attending a tech talk, whether it’s staying just one extra hour on a Friday, whether it is submitting a song request on the company radio and whether it's even submitting a recording of yourself singing to the company radio (it is scary but actually fun). These things helped me become part of the Rabbit team and now I can gladly say I do not count down to five O’clock.
The Game Changer
Midway through the three-month interview, I learned an important lesson. This time it was on a sunny morning in Pretoria. There was chatter about a graduate being taken onto another project. I am here thinking, “no way, it is too early it has only been six weeks, it literally feels like two hours ago we were in orientation and four hours ago we just got our mugs”. Later that day he broke the news to us that he might be leaving for the other project.
Then it hit me. Just because they say it is going to be three-months, does not mean that it’s going to be three months. If I work harder my interview does not have to be three-months, it could be two, one, or even half a month. My time frame does not have to be their time frame. That changed my view and understanding of my new world.
Now the question was how to get there. How to make three-months into six weeks, how to make a year six months, how to break the sands of time? The one thing that I noticed from the guy was that he did things that others were not doing. He was not scared to ask the guys in the office if they can be his audience to prepare for his presentation. He was not scared to say, “Hey guys, do you have a sec to check out this cool design I made for this mobile app” and receive our feedback. That is what I needed to be, the difference, someone who tries to #BeBetter. Although he is the reason for my unspeakable nickname so that just overwrites everything that he did.
My three-month interview was the best interview I have had, in truth. I honestly had a buzzing time, week one is my moment of the year so far and I learned a ton of stuff, both technically and in terms of being part of something that is not just myself involved.
Now I am officially a Rabbit…