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Lessons from Remote Work Job Interviews around the World. – Pt 2

Categories Advice, Interviews, Motivation, Remote Work
Digital Nomad on the woods yo

Author’s Note: This post is a sequel to last week’s Lessons from Remote Work Job Interviews around the world. – Pt 1. If you haven’t read that one, I highly suggest starting there.

Last week we talked about the first three lesson’s I got from my 4 month remote work interviewing process. We mainly learned that:

  • There will always be someone better, but that doesn’t have to stop us.
  • Saying “I don’t know” can be surprisingly powerful.
  • Reinforcing your fundamentals can lead you to discover new strengths.

Now, this week, we’re going to be discussing the final three lessons I got from this journey, starting now:

4.- Your personality counts, so be yourself.

Smile
Smiling also helps, kinda.

Yep, no need to adjust the glasses, reload the page or check the address bar. It’s actually just what it says on the title: being yourself is part of what gets you the job.

This point is more related to teams than it is to companies. A company, specially a big one, can sometimes get by with having a few people than don’t match the culture. And, so long as they do their jobs and bring in results, why fix what isn’t broken?

But you’re not just going to work in a company, you’re also going to be a member of a team. And that team wants to know that you won’t just do your job, but that they’ll enjoy being around you while you do it.

This is especially interesting when you’re doing remote work job interviews. Because, while you’re not going to be in office with your team, that doesn’t mean your personality is any less important.

When you think about it, the lack of an office space makes it all the more important to choose someone with the right personality. Precisely because the interaction is going to be less frequent, they’re going to need to be of a higher quality.

Having the right personality not only means you’ll be easier to get along with, but also that conflicts will be more easily resolved with you. It can also be a sign of how easily you’ll adapt to taking care of your own hours and duties.

A word of advice here, don’t try to pretend to be someone you’re not. If you’re not a fit for the company, no matter how well they pay, you’re not going to be happy working there. So just be yourself.

5.- Every rejection is an opportunity for growth.

Determination
It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep on going.

Oh boy, if I could say this never happened.

I really wish I could tell you that nobody ever rejected me for a job – that I was perfect for every position I ever applied to. But that would just be a lie coming out of my mouth, and we don’t like to do that here.

The truth is, everything actually went pretty far from smoothly:

  • I had an interview in Italy where the interviewer got so frustrated with network issues that she never called me again. (I’ve made it a priority to always have a proper connection after that.)
  • Another one in Peru where I mistakenly voiced my opinions on Agile in a less-than-appropriate manner (See: Why developers dislike agile). You could TASTE the awkwardness after that.
  • Once I got completely destroyed in a coding interview by this one guy in Texas. It would be way too optimistic to assume I got even one answer right.

All of these were entirely on me, but these are just the highlights. There are plenty more cases where I didn’t even realize what I had done wrong. Maybe everything, maybe there was just someone better for the job.

The important thing is that I took all of these rejections to heart, analyzed them and discovered the exact points where I had made my mistakes. However, if I had to be honest, I wouldn’t call any of these experiences a failure.

An experience, in my book, can only truly be a failure if you learn nothing from it. And while I did take every single rejection with every bit of seriousness: They didn’t bring me down, far from it, actually.

For the longest of time I had been living under a spell. One that made me feel I was The Best Programmer in The World. And having that spell broken hurt. But it also showed me the beauty of the real world in front of me.

I got something from every one of those rejections: I learned that I lacked something that I didn’t know before, and that meant I could fix it.

And man, did I fix them.

I kept having this hopeful feeling that every rejection brought me closer to my destination. I grew stronger with every interview, because I learned more things I needed. And every time I was reaching a little closer towards my goal.

I’m thankful I got rejected when I did, because otherwise I would’ve spent my whole life living a lie.

So, if there’s one thing to learn from all this, let it be these words:

An experience is only a failure if you learn nothing from it.

6.- You also get a choice, so choose wisely.

Choices
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by… And that has made all the difference.

You may be surprised to hear this (or not), but I never really had to make that many difficult career choices. In fact, only a handful of those options actually benefitted me (usually just one.) And I always had pretty strong arguments towards them.

So, by the end of the day, It almost wasn’t a choice, or at least not a difficult one.

That’s why these past few months were especially difficult for me: I had to start making actual career decisions, for once. I found myself having to turn down some offers that could have been great. And I did so for reasons I would’ve never expected.

You see, every one of those opportunities was something I had wanted in the past. But, that just wasn’t who I was anymore. The options available to me were amazing and full of promise, but they didn’t align to the future I wanted for myself. So as difficult as it was for me to let them go, I knew I had to.

But, eventually, I became 100% convinced of my choices. And, while this story is about me, it can (and probably will) also happen to you.

You’re going to get better at the things you love, because of your dedication to them. You’ll, eventually, become so good that the world won’t be able to ignore you anymore. And, when that time comes, you’ll have to make a few tough calls.

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to choose whatever makes you the happiest. This is your life, after all, and you’re the one who should enjoy living it.

But, just in case you want some direction, just ask yourself:

  • Do you want comfort and benefits?
  • How about a higher salary?
  • Are you looking for a challenge?
  • Or, Is it freedom you’re after?

I know none of these options seem objectively more important than the others, and that’s the point. There’s no right or wrong answer here: They’re just different. And it’s up to you to decide which one fits you the best.

And you don’t have to limit yourself to them, they’re just guides. The only thing that truly matters, however, is that you’re happy with whatever you decide. So don’t choose something just because you believe you should do it. Choose wisely, and on your own terms, but pick something that makes you happy.

The final lesson.

After 4 months and a lot of struggles, there’s really just one thing I wish to say about my adventure:

“It was at times a long, difficult road. But I’m glad it was long and difficult, because if I hadn’t gone through hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear.” – Ted Mosby.

This quote comes from one of my favorite shows of all time: How I met your Mother. Ted uses it to reflect on the journey that led to him meeting this wife.

However, I’d like to believe that it can be applied to anything one has truly fought for.

Finding a remote job meant recovering some of the freedom I lost when I started working from 9 to 5. Moreover, it meant having the opportunity to be closer to my family. And that, to me, was worth all the effort.

But, following the quote, here are some of the lessons I learnt from my journey:

  • The World is a bigger place than you think.
  • Have the courage to say “I don’t know”.
  • They call them basics for a reason.
  • Your personality also counts, so be yourself.
  • Every Rejection is an opportunity for growth.
  • You also get to choose, so do it wisely.

And, If these six lessons were all I had to show for these past 4 months, I think that would be okay. But life gave me a seventh one through all of them.

Because, more than a job or a lot of technical knowledge; What I truly gained from remote work job interviews around the world, was learning how to be a humbler, better version of myself.

See you guys next week. (And, sorry I haven’t done a proper code post in forever.)

My name’s Orlando Paredes Hamsho. I’m a 25-year-old Web Developer living (mostly) in Guadalajara, Mexico; albeit I intend to move pretty soon. Apparently, I also run a blog now, and have been doing so for a while.

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