Working with CJ

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This is a place where I'm working through some self reflection and might be valuable as a bit of a "working with CJ" or some insights to help more quickly start collaborating effectively.

About my life

Born and raised in the Sierra Nevadas on the North shore of Lake Tahoe. Our family moved from Kings Beach, CA to Reno, NV when I was 13. Attended high school (Manogue) and college (UNR) in Reno. Nicole and I were married in 2010. We have two boys who are 15 months apart in age. Growing up, I snow and water skied, wake and snow boarded, and was very into BMX -- 🚲 bikes are still a big part of my life.

About my career

I've had a really odd and varied career journey.

I started trading code for money in 2005 when I got a job that I was woefully unqualified for in a seismology lab. I was writing perl, learning vi, and using a sun solaris machine. After that I started buildng websites in classic asp, a little php, and then for many years with .NET.

While in college studying Computer Science, I joined the Nevada Army National Guard which took me on deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 -- a year where I learned a ton about networking and security.

After college, I had a couple jobs where I wrote code in the Microsoft ecosystem: VB.NET (finance / stock trading), ASP.NET (liquid handling robotics).

In 2013, I found and fell in love ♥️ with Ruby. I attended, then taught at App Academy (Rails bootcamp in SF). In 2015, Nicole and I decided to move back to Northern Nevada from the Bay Area and I took a remote job working for MyVR, a platform for vacation rental managers. Here, I learned python, django, and angular and built a ton of API integrations.

In 2019, I made the move from product engineer to support engineering at Stripe where I had the opportunity to help more developers learn how to build API integrations. In 2020, I again shifted a bit into Developer Advocacy -- a role where I'm able to work across dozens of technologies to build demos and videos to help grow the GDP of the internet.

Reaching me

Things I care about

My working style

Some context about what follows

I've been told that I can be quite rigid in my perspective of how the world works. That I live by a bit of a "CJ's rules for life" that might be different from most. I'm going to try to capture some of that here.

Unreasonably high expectations

I tend to have unrealistic expectations for myself. These expecations sometimes begin to fall onto others (unfairly) and its something I have to work really hard to combat. Telling myself "X is good enough" when X is my own or others work. Its a challenge to know where to draw the line.

An unfortunate side effect is that sometimes I worry that something wont be done to the bar I've set, so I tend to say "yes" to way too many things from a dillusional place of thinking that I might be able to do it better (rarely true).

It takes effort for me to see others perspectives and without full and clear context from others, I can sometimes jump to the default conclusion that something didn't happen the way I envisioned it.

Given I want to achieve, compete, push hard, something I've found really useful is to constantly ask for feedback from peers and managers, especially outside of the standard performance cycles so that I learn my blind spots.

Rush to accommodate

It's better to rush to accommodate others rather than "taking it easy" if others are waiting. Even to the point of being a martyr, I feel like one way we can help others is to be on-time, and avoid making anyone wait. I hate being late to meetings.

This also manifests as being poor at advocating for myself.

High bias for action

My bias is generally to manifest something. Take action and iterate. This comes at a cost of not fully thinking things all the way through before diving in.

Juggling and prioritizing

I tend to have very high output. This can lead to some slop in areas that I'm not passionate about or that I don't consider important. If something is especially important to you on a project I'm executing for you or with you, please let me know so that I can actively prioritize.

One example: I am horrible at CSS and I while I could invest in getting better at that, I've mostly just learned enough to get by.