I've been MIA on my blog since I started at Aha!. However, I keep getting emails from recruiters who find my outdated blog post and think I'm still looking for the perfect job... so, I'm going to put that to rest now. I have a job. I love it. Seriously, couldn't be better. I write on this blog because I like to write but also as a sort of journal of my life experience and career learning. I figure I'll do a little reflection on how my goal first mindset helped me land at Aha!
Getting the job
I wrote that blog post six months ago now. It wasn't meant to be a recruiting piece-- just a way for me to solidify what I was looking for. It was the set of goals/requirements I had for my next position and career. That night I combed through 50+ job listings in the Salt Lake area to see which ones met all the requirements I had outlined. Unfortunately, none of them did. Too stubborn to settle for less, I checked out one of my favorite inspirational product manager/career advice blogs. It immediately hit me. Aha! would meet all of my requirements. (At least if they practiced what their blog preached. **Spoiler alert: they do.) It was worth a try. I looked at their job listings and immediately realized this could be that needle in the haystack. I decided to apply.
After a week-long interview process, I probably would have worked at Aha! for free. When you do the sort of exercise that requires digging deep to figure out what you really want in your next career and company, you can focus on the goals and quickly cast out the weeds. After throwing out so many weeds and finally finding what seems to meet every single requirement… it was scary. Not scary in the “this must be fate” sort of way, but actually scary because here I was with the perfect opportunity in front of me, and I could blow it.
I had never felt more vulnerable in my life. I had never wanted one job so much in my life. Yet, I never felt the need to be so honest and open in an interview. I wanted to make sure they knew what they were getting just as much as I knew what to expect. How could I have a requirement to work at a transparent/authentic company and not be 100% honest about my faults, my struggles, and the areas of my career/personal development I needed to improve?
So, there I was… putting it all out on the table. Actually, it was all out on camera. The entire interview process was over video, but the way Aha! team members talk to you as if the camera isn't there is something that has to be seen to be believed. It comes from having a completely remote team, hiring sincere employees, and having an "always get on camera if you can" policy. They have a lot of practice with video chat.
Something about Brian’s questions, sincerity, and coaching (through the interview) made me feel like I had just eaten five Costco-size pumpkin humble pies all by myself. It was incredibly introspective. At the same time, I still knew I could be a great contributing team member at Aha! while learning and growing like I wanted.
Once I got the offer, I was absolutely over. the. moon.
Six months already?
So, it’s been six months now. I feel like the exercise of outlining what I was looking for in a job and what I needed in a company was the best decision I’ve made in a while. It separated emotion from the interview process and really helped me think clearly and logically about my next move instead of worrying about being unemployed or trying to find the next consulting gig. That’s what I did, and it has paid off. All roads led me to Aha! and I've made some great decisions to finally get to this point. You can read about why I joined and what I loved about Aha! here: My Name is Dru Clegg -- This is Why I Joined Aha!, but for now I just want to do a quick check-on on the goals/needs that I originally outlined because... accountability.
- A position where I’m interacting with customers or stakeholders daily
- I meet amazing people using our product EVERY day, and they are all incredibly interesting and building amazing things.
- A position where I’m able to teach and learn simultaneously
- Even as a newbie, I was immediately given the opportunity to teach, learn, and grow from all of my team. Outside of learning something new about Aha! every day, the team constantly reaches out to get advice or answers from each other. My direct report is a great mentor who meets with me weekly to discuss how I want to improve, how I can be better, and how I can share knowledge and contribute to the team.
- A position where I can see my contributions to the team in measurable outcomes
- We are constantly reviewing our progress toward goals. We also review our weekly progress and how things have changed. It’s so great to have everyone know what I’m working on and offering to help where they can.
- A position where I'm excited to work hard and stay busy
- With team members all over the world, there’s always someone on no matter what time of day to chat or help with a question. I also know everyone else feels this same way about work— if I am working hard late at night, there’s always someone there to keep me company. Everyone is moving forward and there’s plenty of autonomy to let me work hard and get in a groove but still the guidance and support I need to ensure I’m successful.
- A position where I report to someone with just as much passion as I have
- Everyone at Aha! has an incredible amount of passion. It wouldn’t matter who I report to at the company, this would be true.
- A position where I am respected but challenged to do better each day
- Coaching moments happen pretty often— as in, if there’s something we can improve that’s noticed — we point it out to each other. We all have respect for each other, so taking that coaching and feedback is easy. It helps me improve but I don’t feel the need to get defensive.
- A position where I’m able to work on/with an innovative product that’s making a difference
- I see the difference Aha! makes in the lives of our customers every day. It’s pretty incredible. You can read first-hand accounts of that here: Success Stories.
- A position that is enough
- Hence the reason I haven’t posted on this blog in a while. I feel content with Aha!. I also feel like I’m supported in the good I want to do in my community as well. Aha! is great at supporting employees in their side hobbies, projects, and “outlets” but also providing enough fulfillment that we aren’t looking for other jobs. I’m challenged in the ways I need at Aha!.
- A company that values collaboration and transparency
- Every week we review our numbers, our goals, and how we are tracking toward strategy.
- A company that has experienced leaders
- Aha! is growing rapidly, but everyone they hire is an experienced leader and they are all amazing.
- A company that is profitable or close to profitable or a proven plan to achieve it.
- A company that has processes that work remarkably well
- Aha! has amazing processes for pretty much everything. However, they aren’t married to those processes and are always working to improve them. They have a great solution for now but constantly push for improvement. We open the dialogue with the team to help improve our processes as we grow and learn more. We also use our own product which I swore by before I even worked here.
- A company that puts A-players in every company role
- I really never thought I could find this. Hiring is deliberate and so important here, and it shows.
- A company that's willing to take risks on those less-experienced as long as they are passionate, driven, and willing to learn
- Here I am.
- A company that understands the importance of time
- TRM - The Responsive Method for the win.
100% checked. Everything I was looking for and still going strong. I'm patting myself on the back now for putting in the time required to get to this point. For being deliberate and knowing what I wanted to accomplish next.
It's Incredible here
If you're looking for a change and have any of these same goals/aspirations for the company or position, check out Aha! careers. If you aren't looking for a new job but want to build amazing roadmaps and strategic plans, check out our product management software.
Brian de Haaff is doing it right, guys. He's a great CEO and is as humble as they come. He builds people up but remains honest and authentic. He knows how to build a company and product that employees and customers absolutely love. Lucky for everyone, he just wrote a book to share some of that "how". The title is fitting: Lovability. It's coming out soon, but you can pre-order it of course.
This business is working, the team is incredible, and it's been a great last six months.
I just love Aha!.