March 26, 2020
Hello Compassionate Coders, Free Software Enthusiasts, & the Greater Millenial
Workforce Quarantine Squad!
So, I completed my search. After just over 1 month and after many punishingly difficult (failed) coding tests, I found a great job with great pay and a great work environment. I was all set to move when COVID-19 infection rates began climbing in the United States. I reached out to the company proactively, wondering if all this talk of curve-flattening and government lockdown would postpone my start date or worse. It was worse. I got a call the next day from a panicked & genuinely concerned “Head of Talent Acquisition” informing me with brevity and certainty that my signed employment contract, along with its generous bonus, were now being rescinded - and the Security Engineer position I was being brought on for cancelled.
Wow. A sludge of emotion rose up inside of me as I realized the implication of what was being said to me through the phone. The time and energy spent searching, applying, test-taking, more test-taking, interviewing for behavior, for techincal prowess, for culture-fit. Buying a suit - remembering how to physically get in the suit and pass as self-respecting adult. All for nothing. I asked some clarifying questions that didn’t really need to be asked - what? it’s cancelled altogether? What about a delay? Am I still going to be hired when this virus blows over? No, the company at this point could commit to nothing more that “we’re sorry, your job is cancelled and we hope to talk with you in the future.”
And who can blame them? I’d be lying if I said I had analyzed the company’s economic viability or the resiliency of their business (savings, daily operating costs, etc) - and the first people I would cut in times of financial ruin would be those I had the shortest relationships with. While I am incredibly disappointed by this success turned failure, I would like to think that because I was not hired, at least one other person already working there - someone with a family, a routine, a home - got to keep their job. I have a relatively low cost of living, without dependents and with renting my apartment my main expense. I was in the job market on purpose - not because I had been laid off and thrown into the raging depths of unemployment by some misfortune, but by my own volition had jumped ship in search of some more meaningful, ethical work. Even in setback, I have luck and privilege above many of my peers, and will continue to live in solidarity with those struggling most.
And I’ll continue my own job search immediately, with fervor, because I know that’s what you all would do in my shoes.
Back to the drawing board.