Pursuing any dream, starts by getting out the door
I just realized that today marks 1 year of me flying out to Seattle to interview with two Redmond based Microsoft teams.
The interview loops was a result of 9 months of applying for various open positions, going through multiple informational and phone screen interviews - before finally finding my way to do a full on-site interview loop.
Throughout the nine months, leading up to this, I hit several bumps on the way;
First and foremost, I had to accept that it wouldn't just magically happen, it required determination and hard work. In December '16 where I decided I would pursue the dream, I had been working full time for three and a half years and although I had that going for me, work experience wise, I also knew I had forgotten most of what interview questions evolve around and interviewing with any of the big companies (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook..) is no joke - it takes preparation no matter how much experience you have.
At the same time, I knew I wouldn't move to the US for any position - I wanted to try something new, something that wasn't just moving me inside the org I was already a part of - it was going to be my one shot of living and working abroad which I had been dreaming of since I got my student worker position in Microsoft back in August 2011.
Looking through open positions I found quite a few interesting positions; but unfortunately many of the positions either had soo many candidates already that they simply had to auto turn down candidates or weren't going to offer relocation packages; as a European who needs a work visa for the US, applying for a position not offering relocation packages simply wasn't an option.
I found one position that sounded really interesting, but the timing was unfortunate and I wouldn't be able to join the team on their expected schedule - I had to keep looking.
After applying for 20+ jobs internally without a result, I finally got another interview - this time with the office team, that was pretty high on my list !
I had an informational with the hiring manager and a phone screen with one of the developers on the team; after which they invited me for a full loop. The team wanted to do interviews with candidates the following week and eager to do the loop, I responded back saying I could attend any day that week. An hour later, I realized they wanted to do an in-person loop and suddenly I was busy clearing out my calendar and asking for days off. Once all my travel plans were made, I contacted a former co-worker of mine, who had moved to the Seattle area a couple of years prior and asked if we could catch up while I was there; suddenly her team wanted to interview me as well - and since I was there we scheduled for another day of interviews..
Interviewing while jet lagged
Interviews with any of the top 5 tech companies in the world are always tough, doing it while super jetlagged and sleep deprived doesn't make them easier. I had two full days of interviews, but eventually made my way through them - had a few days of catching up with people and doing some sightseeing before flying back to Denmark.
There's a nine hour time difference between Copenhagen and Seattle - swapping back and forth within a week wasn't easy for me back then - but in the end it was all worth it.
"The only thing worse than starting something and failing... is not starting something." -- Seth Godin.
So I flew out for interviews with two different teams - one ended with an offer and the other with a rejection; my first ever after interviews. As someone who had never been rejected for a job I had applied for, it was a hard blow to accept; at least until I received the offer from my current team.
In the end, no one will go through life without rejection - professionally or socially - it is a valuable lesson and should never stop you pursuing your dreams - if you don't succeed in your first attempt; learn from each iteration and keep going - eventually you will reach your goals!