← return to posts

Working with me

Documentation For Humans

I have always been a big fan of books, tutorials, and documentations. The ability to learn about topics in detail at my own leisure really maximizes my effectiveness in life. I’ve always wondered why people don’t provide documentation about themselves. For every new team I am on, it takes me and my teammates a few months to figure each other out.

I loved this exercise we did at my previous company HubSpot. Here’s the public version of the Working With Me Exercise.

This had been done in other places but I loved its focus on mental health and psychological safety as opposed to philosophies about software. It is easy to figure out someone’s professional opinions, it is much harder to know them as a person. Perhaps that’s what makes it worthwhile to document.

Fostering psychological safety

When you have a team of relatively homogenous people, it is easy to maintain the mutual understanding of how to work. However reality is often much more different. We live in an age where diversity in the workplace is the norm and not the exception. Diversity is awesome and it makes us more effective.

However, when you have a diverse team and company, it requires a conscious effort to consider the psychological safety of the team. To simplify it, psychological safety is trust and comfort in your team and teammates.

A study at Google found that the most important dynamic that sets a successful team apart from others was Psychological Safety.

Creating trust and psychological safety is hard but we can certainly start by making an effort to understand each other.

Working With Me

What’s Important To Me At Work

Our well-being and sustainability of our work

When I first started my career I believed that in order to be successful you needed to have a bad time. I soon learned that if I was miserable, I am less productive. The most important thing to me is the well-being of the people that I work with. Be it a co-worker, customer, or contractor.

You matter to me. You are more than just a professional relationship.

Our customer’s needs comes first to me

I like focusing on delivering value for the customer internal or external. The delight that I see when someone uses my software is why I do this. I don’t like to do things that are not providing any value or just for bureaucracy sake.

Improving our effectiveness

Work better not harder! I like to empower and improve effectiveness of people around me. If I can teach you something that can make you work better or if we can collaborate on a project that can make us better, please reach out :D!

Solving the hardest problems

I love bugs. Often times investigating a bug is how I learn a lot about systems that I don’t work with on my day to day tasks. I am always a SRE at heart. Talk to me about memory issues, network tracing, and any runtime problems that plagues you.

What’s Important To Me In Life

Mental Health and Wellness

As someone who struggled with mental health my whole life, it is something that I take extra care with. I love talking about mental health issues and how we can better support each other.

Politics and Social Justice

My family immigrated to the United States as refugees. I’ve grown up in countries where justice is just an illusion. I am a political nerd and I am caught up on all the latest development in politics. The first company I worked at was a political startup.

The issues I am most passionate about are housing equality and homelessness, healthcare, education, environment, native rights, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, accessibility and racial justice.

Community, Friendship and Family

I love staying engaged and involved with my city. I am a proud Somervillain :D. Some of my favorite Somerville things are Porchfest, Open Studios, Bow Market, and supporting any other local businesses.

I treasure my friends, my family and my community. When I am not working I spend time with the people most important to me in my life.

Hobbies and Fun

I love snowboarding, cooking, and social dancing. If you like salsa or bachata we can definitely go dancing sometimes. I also love to sing and play the Ukulele. One of my bucket list goals is to compete on The Voice some day.

I am also a nerd for history, astrophysics, math, and philosophy (especially existentialism).

Personal Quirks

When I like to work

I don’t like to work on weekends, Friday night to Sunday morning is when I unwind. I don’t mind working hard or working late during the week. I prefer any weekend work to restricted to emergencies or scheduled on-call.

I am a morning person, it is better to schedule a meeting with me at 6am than 6pm. I will however make accommodations for my coworkers in another time zone whenever possible.

Best ways to reach me

I prefer async communication on Slack over meetings. I also love well written JIRA issues and well documented threads. I prefer you send me a Slack message instead of tapping me on the shoulder to interrupt me.

  • Urgent: Call / Pager (Will respond 24/7)
  • Medium: Slack (Will respond within 3 hours)
  • Unimportant: Email (Will respond within the week)

How I like to receive feedback

I welcome feedback and love to learn where I can improve. If you’d like to give me some feedback feel free to grab some 1:1 time with me or send me a DM over Slack.

However please make sure your feedback is actionable, make sure to provide:

  1. What you think I can improve on
  2. What can I do to improve upon this
  3. Examples of when I didn’t do enough

I prefer to receive feedback in private so never “call me out” in a public setting. I think we all struggle with that. Likewise I will never call people out in public and will always provide feedback in private.

How I deal with stressful situations

Whenever I am upset about something or stressed I always immediately remove myself from the situation first. I will usually mention that I don’t want to talk about something right now but will schedule a follow up meeting at a later time after I have sorted through my thoughts.

Please do not force me to meet with you when I don’t have control over my emotions or thoughts. I like to write down my thoughts for tough conversations and think about a difficult situation before I have a conversations about it.

My learning style

I learn best when I get a full picture of the situation or space. I usually start with something like a “1000 foot view” before I dive into a particular topic or component.

I like to learn with documentation, examples, experimentation and videos. I don’t really do well with structured learning like courses or training programs. I like to know why I am doing something instead of just what I need to do.

I love deep dives and like to learn more than I need to know for everything I work with.