Two years ago I started work in Developer Relations. I had absolutely no idea what my job would look like when I started. I was pretty sure it would involve public speaking, but I wasn’t sure what else I would do. If I’m honest, I still don’t have a good idea what I do, but I was right about the public speaking. I do know that this is the happiest I’ve been at work. My previous jobs and teams were excellent but this job and this team fits in a way I didn’t know was possible.
My job works for me in part because it isn’t easy to define. Although I didn’t know it, I thrive on variety and the freedom to follow my curiosity. I like speaking, but I’ve learned that I also like interacting with people in small groups, hearing their stories, and learning about the things that excite them. I enjoy an environment where “how much is a claw machine, no really, I need it for work” is a not an outrageous occurrence. As I wrote on Twitter earlier this week, the secret to successful talks “is taking a ridiculous idea one step further than anyone thinks is reasonable.” And I have many ridiculous ideas.
My job has changed some in the last year. As I’ve learned the system and figured out the best ways to reach my communities I’ve been able to influence the products we build and the events we attend. I file bugs, give feedback, have endless hallway talks, and on one occasion mediated a dispute between developers. This work requires more meetings, a minute amount of diplomatic skill, and the ability to accept that change takes time. But when I see something I felt strongly about show up on the roadmap, or better yet in the product, it feels good.
I can’t talk about my job without talking about my team. We’re having our annual offsite this week. As I write this, folks around me are playing board games, pool, darts, and just chatting and catching up. In the last two days, we’ve discussed the D&D alignments of various team members (I’m apparently neutral good), the best ways to measure the effectiveness of Developer Relations, drones, politics, our favorite Kickstarter, diversity in tech, video games, and knitting. I’ve been part of great teams in the past, but this is the first team where I feel like my random passions, effusive snark, and inability to shut up at times are valued. This is the first job I’ve had where I got hired for my personality quirks. Those quirks are part of what makes me successful. One of Google’s values is “bring your whole self to work” and not only do I feel like I can. I do. It is a good place to be.
When I took this job, I estimated I could only do it for two to three years. I figured the travel, long hours, and increased social obligations would wear me down by then. Now that I’m two years in, I don’t expect to be done in the next 12 months. I’m having too much fun. Through this job, I’ve traveled to three continents. I’ve become more confident. I’ve learned basic video editing. I’ve thought about writing a book. And still there’s so much more I want to do. I feel like I’m just getting started. As I’ve said multiple times this week “onward!”