Software Developers Journey Podcast

#191 Carly Richmond from individual contributor to MAMAger and back


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Carly Richmond 0:00
My general advice is in this instance at aspects of whether you decide to go with the graduate program, which I definitely found worked for me, or just dive straight into a job is Go with your gut feeling as to where's the right place for you? Because if you've got between these two options, and actually, the first option feels instinctively to be the right one, that's the one that you should go for. Because there's a reason that your guts telling you that.

Tim Bourguignon 0:31
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers. To help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building your home this episode 191 I received Carly Richmond, Carly has worked for 10 years at a large global investment bank. Over the years, she worked as a developer, a team lead a scrum master. She is now a senior software engineer and a child evangelist, a UI enthusiast and a regular blogger. Callie, welcome Tifton.

Carly Richmond 1:05
Hi, Tim. Thanks for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:07
Oh, it's my pleasure. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew and help me spend more time on finding phenomenal guests, then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. So Kali, as you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story look like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So as always on the show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your dev journey?

Carly Richmond 1:59
So it's funny, I always thought it was kind of university because I came from a computer science related background. But actually thinking about it. It goes a bit further than that, when I was actually trying to figure out what I wanted to do. When I what I wanted to study at university, I'd always thought kind of seeing loads of kind of law shows and things as a kid that I would end up being a lawyer eventually, the idea of kind of debate and argument was always something that I always found quite interesting. But when I actually came to picking what I wanted to do for my degree, I actually thought no, I want something a bit more logical. So I originally applied for computing science and maths related courses. So I went to Glasgow University, and I originally come in with their studying computer science and maths as a joint. But it was interesting because the structure of my degree meant that I could chop and change as I progressed along through the years. So although I came in with a computer science and mastery, I actually came out with a software engineering degree. So computer science only, just because I'd really loved the practical elements of solving a problem. And although with maths, you do tend to go through and try and do proofs or kind of try and solve a particular problem. They were too abstract for me. And I found actually things like coding and talking about technical solutions with computers was actually far more interesting and accessible. So that's how I ended up kind of going down the original pathway of coding and engineering. And then in terms of how I ended up getting into a bank, well, that's kind of a funny story, too. So in 2009, I said I was a software engineering degree, that meant that I was a computer science degree with a practical element. So I actually had to do an internship that was graded as part of my degree, I had to do a presentation and a report on it. And when I was looking for internships, it was 2009. And obviously, applying roundabout 2008, there was a particular global financial crash. I I remember, potentially something like that was happening. So yeah, thanks, Twiggy. So I was looking at that time. So financial crash financial markets was just dominating the news every time you switch on the TV that it was there. And rather than actually thinking, okay, maybe that's an industry to stay away from Gudo in the more traditional pathway of a more kind of traditional software house, I thought, well, that might actually be quite interesting. So I applied for internships in banking at probably the time when you really shouldn't have because obviously they were going through significant change in things but I applied for internships for 2009. I got accepted and I also got the chance to I've grown up in Scotland all my life I'd studied in Glasgow I grew up just outside I eat of it. So I also got the opportunity to spend a summer in London, like a mini adventure sounded really good. And so I went down to London for the summer, I really enjoyed it. I worked with lovely people, I got to solve cool problems, I got to do front end desktop development for the first time, which was really fun. And then at the end of my internship, I faced a bit of a choice, I could either go back and change to do an undergraduate Master's, rather than just a bachelor's degree that I was registered for, and then kind of apply onto their graduate program, you know, either as a bachelor or as a master, so I had to think about that carefully. And what I decided to do was actually do my undergraduate masters. So that would have been an extra year on my degree. And they came back the following summer, to the same company worked in a different part of the technology department, still doing front end desktop, but it was just a different, a different group of people that I was working with, still enjoyed it still had an amazing adventure in London again. So I decided to join their graduate program when I graduated from university, which was really cool, because I joined then August 2011, on to this program with other graduates. And we went through 15 weeks worth of training. So there was loads of technical topics, kind of classroom led training, and labs really similar to what you had at university. And then there was a four week project at the end. So I went through all of that, which was a great experience, because you met people from all sorts of different backgrounds, computer science, non computer science, you're came out with the same kind of knowledge level, at the end, you cover technologies that others had covered in their courses and you've had, and vice versa. And following that kind of great bonding experience, I got to basically go out with a network of people into a job, people that a similar point in their career that we could all learn from and share our experiences and have a great support and camaraderie with following on from that moved into my first role. So I was working in finance technology, then while it was the regulatory section, and I worked with various different technologies, and that time just was kind of like a jack of all trades and a Master of None in a way. So I pick up databases, I do some Python scripting, I do whatever was kind of needed for that particular piece. And then after doing working on that one system for a couple years, I wanted a bit of a change. So I moved within the same department, but they wanted me to go back and do some desktop development again, which they had. So I did a little bit of that for a while, which was going back to my comfort zone back to something that I liked that I'd done as an intern. But that was a short lived project, it only lasted about six months. And then run about that point, something else had come up my kind of wider team needs had put forward this opportunity for me to work on some calculations that we were rewriting. And I had a bit of a niggle in the kind of pit in my stomach, but it didn't quite feel like what I wanted to do. Because I was it was a bit more technically hands off. I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. But it got sold to me as no, there should be a really good thing for you to do. It ties with these objectives that you have. And I did that for a few months and didn't really like it.

Carly Richmond 8:34
Which is how you found out so you learn is by doing things you don't like there's always things you do like and from there. There was also kind of some of the ways we were running. It was very waterfall driven. I'd learned about agile at university and felt like this was a good candidate to this particular project was a good candidate for this to implement Scrum and have smaller cycles given what we're doing. But I tried and failed to implement scrum in this team because I'd done like one class on it at uni and one class and agility does not an Agile Coach meet. So after a while, I kind of realized this wasn't working. I wanted to get back to being a bit more technical. Rather than basing these calculations in XML, which wasn't pleasant. I wanted to learn agility and the principles properly. So I got the opportunity to move to a different part of technology to move to the cash side of things. So I decided Sure, why not? I'll do it. So I moved into that team. I kind of got thrown in the deep end, because although I had some desktop front end experience, they wanted to do web. So we picked up Angular myself and a couple of other front end engineers who had absolutely no front end experience apart from maybe the occasional dabbling in htm out. So had to pick that up to build the wanted to build a component in a simple dashboard in a couple of months, which was very, it was a lot of work a lot of errors. But it was really fun. I really enjoyed the website of things and talking to people about design and all those other things. So it kind of set me up well, for the UI stuff I do today. It really taught me a lot about working with like minded individuals and having a common purpose. I also learned how to do Scrum and Agile principles properly from mentors actually knew what they were doing, which was great. And I realized I loved working that way, I loved the ability to chop and change and kind of move where the demand was needed. And make sure that we all had a common purpose, the idea of full autonomy, all those other lovely things from principles in the manifesto that we really do take for granted, I speak now with individuals who have never worked in a waterfall way of working, and they don't realize that a lot of those elements are taken away. So I really enjoyed that. I stayed in that team for quite a while. I actually grew up there in a week. So for a while I was doing just engineering there as a front end web developer, but a lot, because we didn't have that many kind of front end engineers to start with. It meant that when more people started picking up the front end work, I became a bit of a goto. And I saw the positives of that, you know, forming a mastery, you know, being able to educate people was very interesting to me. But it also meant that, you know, sometimes your productivity takes a bit of a backseat, because you're helping other people. And I think as engineers quite a lot, we sometimes don't think of that as as actual tangible work. So that was an interesting lesson in that for me. But I kept doing that I really enjoyed doing all that kind of work. And then I started to kind of progress up. So I looked after a couple of interns one summer as well, which is kind of my first foray into kind of leadership and managing people and pastoral care. And I really enjoyed it. I think initially, I had a bit of a fear about it. Just because my initial thought was, it's it's okay to mess up code and software. But messing up with a person seems to be a little bit more daunting. So I would try and leverage resources like Michael lop and his books and things just to try and learn. How should I manage people as humans, and I really enjoyed looking after those people and those two interns and building them up, it seemed to be very well received, actually, because I ended up getting the nickname momager, which initially, I absolutely hated this idea that well, part of it. I think part of it for me was you always think of a manager is like a staring authoritarian, you don't think of someone who's saw approachable. And so for a while I hated it, because I thought it seemed like I wasn't doing what I should be doing. But in the end, I've actually came to embrace it a little bit, it's quite, I think it's actually a nice thing. So I know, consider it a little bit of a badge of honor whenever people mentioned the momager story. So after that experience in one of those interns, he stayed on the other one, she went back to university, but from there, I got promoted at the end of that that was the point when I started kind of getting into more of the kind of leadership things so I did a lot of Scrum mastery in that time, more kind of tech lead for that particular team as well. I got moved between different projects as was needed. And that was fine. I did that for a while. At one point I did consider coaching. But it just agile coaching for various reasons just never worked out. So kept doing all of those things for a while, it probably would have worked at around a couple of years. And then I went on maternity leave. For six months, I had my son who who keeps me busy stuff. As I'm sure a lot of people listening know. And then I came back January 2020, to a different team, which was actually a bit more daunting, because while it was in the same area, I certainly had a spidey sense again, I didn't think I wanted to go back into the steam just because of how I'd seen some of the ownership dynamics and the client relationships unfolding before when I'd worked on different projects. But I thought you know what, I'm coming back from a leave of six months I'd like something a bit more in my comfort zone to help me adjust. So I came back for into that team for about just over a year was doing a lot Not less coding at that point, it was more leading and helping people and Scrum mastery. So I was missing coat. And that coupled with the six months of doing no coding, when you're looking after a newborn, obviously meant that I was starting to feel a little bit like my technical skills were fleeting, a bit, let's see. And so that coupled with wanting to do something for for me, and for wanting to connect with people, I decided I wanted to get into doing some conference speaking, I'd been doing blogging on and off for a couple of years, just in my spare time for fun, mainly talking about agility and WebSocket topics, and best practices.

Carly Richmond 15:50
But I thought, actually, the speaking thing sounds like a lot of fun. I went to a global CFP day, and it seemed accessible to me, which was really exciting, actually went on the Saturday before I started back at work from maternity leave. And then when I got back to work, I sought a mentor to kind of just figure out if the speaking thing would be something that I would be good at, and would be something that is worth spending some time on. And if it was something was accessible to me as a mom, as a working mom, and he was absolutely a strong advocate for it. And he helped me kind of get introduced to speaking grip outside of work, I got to meet all these absolutely lovely people who are going through all sorts of different journeys in terms of speaking and the different avenues they wanted to take their career. So we could all kind of talk very comfortably about that. I got to utilize that grip for doing lightning talks. So I do like little five minute talks on technical and non technical topics just to get comfortable. And originally, I started with just the Agile topics, because that seemed a bit more accessible than trying to do a technical talk talking through a ton of code given I've been hands off, but through the support of that grip. And through just putting myself out there, I got my first conference slots, and September 2020, which was so exciting. I went to meet Nigel exchange, and I loved it so much. I actually came back for October 2021 as well. And from that point, I realized, I really liked speaking, it wasn't something that was really part of that role that I was doing at work. So I wanted to try and align it better. And I also wanted to get back to being more of a contributor because I felt like my tech skills were diminishing further. So I started doing some spare time kind of brushing up in December 2020. And then by March, I move to a new role, I actually sought out the mentor who'd helped me with the speaking to start with and said, Look, I'm looking for a more of an active contributor role. I'd like to get back into coding again. I also want conference speaking and blogging and sharing of content to be part of my job. And thankfully, that managed to work out. So I'm now a front end engineer and that team. I've done several conferences this year, including Devoxx, and lean agile exchange again, and also agile 2021. With the Agile Alliance, I got the opportunity as well to do not just talks on agility, but also front end development, which was super exciting. So I got to actually get back into writing code and talk about technical development topics again. And it's been really exciting. If you'd told me a few years ago that I would be speaking at conferences in front of people be online, because a lot of this is online. Let's be honest with everything that's happened in 2020 and 2021, I probably would not have believed you that I was speaking in front of people. Because before that, if I think all the way back to the start of that story, when I would have to give presentations as a university student, or even as an early graduate, I probably would have been feeling a bit second told you no, you're absolutely crazy. There's absolutely no way I will be speaking in front of people and enjoying it. So I guess that's the whistlestop tour of my career for 10 years really

Tim Bourguignon 19:32
nice. What do you think, changed so that you came to being able to speak in front of people I mean, online but still in front of people.

Carly Richmond 19:43
So definitely a long while ago with the blogging stuff. I knew I wanted to go to conferences a few years ago, before my maternity leave and everything. But it was something that attending conferences I'd been speaking to a boss about and he's like, Well, why don't you go and speak at a conference, because normally you get a free ticket. And I dismissed that notion at the time, because I thought, I do not have anything interesting to say, I really don't the only reason I'd started blogging a while before that was because a former intern had given me the nudge, and said, Carly, actually, I'd be very interested in hearing what you want to see and writing. So I think the speaking came about partially as an extension to that partially thinking about, it'd be nice to go to a conference. And a good way to go is to actually contribute and be a speaker. But the other thing was the support of that group. So being able to have small practice sessions of speaking for five minutes helped. And it helped him more than one way, it wasn't just the fact that you were getting speaking practice I, in front of a computer speaking to people, it was also the fact that you could you could build up so you could, you could do small cuts of a talk and build it into a more coherent thing. And certainly, some of the first talks I've given are like that, you know, you can, even recently, with the Devoxx. One, I built it up and covering one, one segment, then I had the other segment, which was the second piece. And then kind of towards the end, when I was actually really working another portion of that talk, I actually just put it into five minutes of the bits I was working on. And it was a really good way to get feedback from people. But it was also feedback in a supportive environment, it wasn't as daunting as signing up for a conference. And just going ahead and doing it. I think if I didn't have this group, and hadn't been able to practice, I would have turned off at my first conference in 2020, probably felt a lot more nervous about it, you're still nervous, like that never goes away. But I would have felt a lot more nervous. Maybe I would have critiqued and criticized every little thing that went wrong. And I probably would have said, I'm never doing another conference. Again, that was absolutely horrible. I didn't enjoy it. I'm not doing it again. Because I'm unfortunately a little bit stubborn. And that sounds like something I would do. But I think the fact I had that support, from mentorship from that group, and I still do, I still occasionally give a lightning talk just to keep my practice up. That's really how I've gotten the confidence to do it is with support and the opportunity to practice, just like anything you do normally works way better if you practice and practice after the same thing it does. And it's the same thing with engineering and coding as well. So the fact that I took a break for, you know, a year and a half, I could still get back into it, it just meant I had to do a lot more practice a lot more reading. To get back into it.

Tim Bourguignon 23:10
I just want to highlight something just making or creating small lightning talks. And then at the end, bundling them together and having something a bit more, a bit bigger. There's a documentary from a called comedian from Jerry Seinfeld, which is basically the coming back of Seinfeld after his first show. And we're in during the or in the documentary. He's showing how he's going back to the smallest comedy clubs in New York and doing all this old jokes, but in every little happening, adding two minutes of new content and trying that out and seeing how it bombs and seeing what connects and what doesn't connect. Yeah. And adding up all those two minutes at the end of the year, makes a new show. But just going one step at a time with the thing that really reminds me of what you were saying, really trying out something and then in the end, you've gone a long way.

Carly Richmond 24:03
That's cool. I've not seen it. But I've certainly I know in the UK, a lot of comedians do that. They'll have those small taster shows where they'll try stuff. So yeah, I definitely see what you're talking about. There's so much overlap with it. Absolutely.

Tim Bourguignon 24:16
Absolutely. When you tried to came to come back after you're you're almost one to have your hiatus. Do you have a plan on how to ramp up how to get up to speed again? Or were you just dabbling and trying to find what was new? How did you go about and getting up to speed again? Stay with us. We'll be right back.

Tim Bourguignon 24:40
Hello imposters. If you work in tech want to work in tech or are tech curious in any way you'll want to listen to this. We've launched a community of professionals who come together to share information and advice about jobs, roles, careers and the journeys we all take throughout our lives as the designers builders fixers investigators, explainers, and protectors of the world's technology. We call it the impostor syndrome network. And all are welcome. So find the impostor syndrome network podcast wherever you listen to find podcasts, and look for the isn community on your favorite social platform, hashtag impostor network.

Carly Richmond 25:23
So, I had tried my maternity leave. And I think that formed, I didn't have a particular plan. But I certainly had lessons of what not to do. So when I was on maternity leave, I tried to do a little bit of keeping up to date. And that had actually formed my first lightning talk that I did ever. And I found that there was particular formats, it wasn't just the content you were looking at. It was also formats. So I knew things like, if I was going to do tutorials, it had to be during work time, I had to be during work hours, because trying to, I don't know if anyone has ever tried coding with a toddler running about your feet. But it's impossible. Just don't try it. And certainly I knew that I couldn't do. I couldn't do those evenings, of trying to write code, I would miss out on seeing my son and playing with them. After working all day and having him at childcare. I didn't want to do that. But I wanted to do something. And I knew as well that podcasts had worked very well for me on maternity leave when I was multitasking. So when I was getting up to speed, there was some things I knew I could do. So for example, I was starting to try and out speed about November, December of 2020, advent of code just came out. So I thought, why don't I do something small. I'll start by doing the advent of code every day. Just find a spare portion of time in my calendar, and see how far I get. I think I only managed to get maybe six or seven days in. But you know what that was enough to start that made me realize I could solve these problems, and I hadn't completely lost it. The second thing I did was I started looking for front end podcasts so that I could listen in the background while doing some work. And I found some really good resources. So obviously, we do a lot of Angular, Angular. So the angular show was great. There's a whole host of other front end resources that I used. And I would just listen along, and that would help me get up to speed. The third thing I did was we had a particular problem that we needed to solve and my team that I was just transitioning out of, with regards to end to end testing, but they were using protractor. At that point, the discussions about end of life are starting to come through. We were also having a lot of issues with that implementation was really flaky, it was brittle, the team were spending a lot of time working on those tests to try and fix them a lot. So I wanted to learn Cyprus, I'd heard it was really good. And I wanted something to talk about as well. So I decided I had a problem, I knew something I had to solve, I'm going to evaluate Cyprus. And that meant I could take an existing solution and Morphett. Another technology. The final thing, actually that popped up, which also helped me get back up to speed. Actually, the final two things, there's two more. One was once I moved into my new team, I was actually working on tickets and writing code. So doing a little bit of code as part of your job, certainly is one of the best ways to get up to speed again. And people were okay with the fact I was asking silly questions or spending a bit longer because I needed to do research. The final thing, actually, which sounds a bit strange, is we had an internal kind of training course for Angular that I'd worked on years and years ago, back when I was teaching all these people web development as part of my priority. To make it more accessible. We built a small training course where we referenced Pluto site references, and we also talked about other best practices that were specific to us. So that material was out of date, and people wanted to use it to learn so myself working with a couple of colleagues from across the bank actually updated that documentation to bring it up with the latest. And that was really useful because it helped me there's nothing like having to train other people to kind of give you the bit of fear that you need to know it yourself. So also, updating our documentation gave me a good reference point for seeing what had changed since I had been out. So I think it's important to note that some techniques will work for you or for others, and others won't other people. Maybe podcasts are not accessible. Maybe tutorials is the way to go for them. It's just about trying particular resources and various types of resources and then mapping in your head. What tends to be more accessible for you? What do you feel is helping you retain that information? And then you can use that form a plan as you go along. So a lot of my approach was very experimental, it seems.

Tim Bourguignon 30:25
But Amen to that I really connect with that. You have to find your own way of retaining, which kind of information to win. And try to be smart about that and see, okay, I have two hours ahead of me doing something else, maybe I need something to do s and Ken cetera, or maybe I'm more of a video person. And so when I need coaches, you mentioned a few times the word mentor, could you give me your definition of what a mentor is? And then I have some follow up questions. Sure.

Carly Richmond 30:54
So I think my main my definition of mentors changed over the years, because originally, I thought a mentor was someone that would kind of help you try and identify, you know, where you wanted to go helped you as kind of a connector for finding information, finding people, and just using their experience to help you understand and help you probably avoid some mistakes that they've most likely made in their time. And I don't necessarily see it that way anymore, because I think it's more nuanced than that. I think, for me, a mentor is someone that can be at any point in the journey, you can be mentored by people that are considered hierarchically to be more and the wrong, the new or higher, doesn't need to always be higher. It's more that they have an expertise or a skill, or some support mechanism that will help you grow and learn. So I certainly had mentors, obviously, the mentor we're talking about in this situations were speaking. So he was a very accomplished speaker. So he was exactly the kind of person that I needed to seek out for speaking. But I've certainly been mentored by people from all sorts of backgrounds. I think also, people always commonly think that a mentor is a manager all the time. And I definitely don't agree with that necessarily anymore. I think I've had mentorship from some managers my time, but I've had mentorship from other people. And it's not always through formal programs and channels as well. There's individuals you'll find outside your organization that will just help you along the way. So certainly, my definition is someone who can help you and give you support for achieving an objective that you want.

Tim Bourguignon 32:48
I totally agree with that. I love this. You're talking about formal but also informal, and going. Anyone can be up down, right, left for after you didn't say it, but I heard it this way where you were saying with somebody who has an expertise, and then you said maybe your skill? I was thinking also. Yeah, and asking questions is a skill. And so you can be a newbie, but very good at asking questions. And you can mentor somebody who has experienced already, because you're asking the right question the right time to say, Hmm, that's a good question. And then you're pushing this person forward? That can be mentoring as well.

Carly Richmond 33:22
Oh, absolutely. I think the other thing that's a misnomer that I see is everyone assumes that it's only the mentee that's getting something out of that relationship. I've been on the other side of that, where I've been mentoring people, which sometimes I do find to be strange, because you never in your head think that you have expertise or help or skill that you can provide. But that's absolutely not true. There's certainly I've found when I, whenever I've been on the other side and the mentor side that I will think about things differently, it might help me solve a problem that I'm experiencing at the same time or something is related. So it's definitely a relationship that most that both sides benefit from. So anyone who's thinking about mentorship, don't think that you're just giving there's an element of you receiving a benefit as well.

Tim Bourguignon 34:08
Authors very much indeed. I described it to one of my mentees who asked exactly this question, saying well, I have some kind of spy in a different organization telling me everything that's happening there. So I'm leaving two lives as once. And since I've sometimes had many mentees at the same time, I was waiting three or four lives at once and seeing and react to things I was saying. That is gorgeous.

Carly Richmond 34:37
It's amazing.

Tim Bourguignon 34:40
But anyhow, how did your experience mentorship relationships emerge?

Carly Richmond 34:47
I've had it happen in a couple of ways. So we talked about formal and informal. A lot of organizations do have formal programs that you can sign up with, and certainly early in my career That was something I did. So for example, I think ran about a year after finishing the graduate program, they were, they do a bit of a reset every year with our program and the time had come for you to if you wanted a mentor, you wanted to be a mentee, then you put your name forward, and are kind of graduate, kind of the person that looked after our graduate program actually actively encouraged us and said, Look, this is a really good program, you should really put yourself forward. So that's the kind of earlier in my career where I would have thought about mentorship as you need to go in one of those programs. As I've kind of gotten more, kind of, as I've progressed on in the past 10 years, sometimes it's been more about kind of speaking to someone saying, I'm looking for someone who's who can help me with this particular experience or problem. And then they might recommend someone. And certainly, that's been kind of my main situation. So in fact, the speaker mentor that I've been talking about the the former boss who had said to me, why don't you do speaking, he had actually recommended this individual. So I'd went, I'll be I went a year later, because I had, you know, I had my son and other things on my mind, I went later, and I still remembered the name. So I find that way, tends to work. But I have also been told and certainly have heard through different sessions that sometimes actually, it's just if you find someone that you're interested in, or someone that you admire, and you think you can learn from, it's just a case of going to ask, though, I think you need to be a bit more kind of proactive and a bit braver than possibly I am to do that. But certainly, that's another avenue.

Tim Bourguignon 36:47
I've seen it only once somebody's coming, at least to me and saying, Do you want to be my mentor? That feels weird?

Carly Richmond 36:55
I've never had, it's always been from someone else saying, Would you mind mentoring this person? For me, I think you can help her with these things. But then as a mentor, you've got a responsibility there too. Because you need to make sure that it's a relationship that you can help with and that, you know, you're actually the right person, and you shouldn't feel forced. So I've always found that with mentor relationships, as long as you feel like you're still getting something out of it, then it's perfectly fine. As long as you've done a bit of a chat upfront to say, yes, we both think this will work and we can both learn from each other, then it's definitely something to pursue. But if you think it's just forced, and it's not working, it's okay to say, actually, you know what, I don't think I'm able to help you anymore. I think we maybe need to have a think about where are you doing the avenues you do need help. And if we can try and identify someone else that can give you better support than I. And that's not a weakness. That's just, that's just being able to admit that it's not the right fit.

Tim Bourguignon 37:57
Yeah, it's a bit of time management as well. Yeah. Well, I have 24 hours. Oh, I think. Yeah, one thing I want to highlight one thing you said as well, which is going to somebody and asking either yourself or recommending somebody, but for special topic and saying, Well, I think you can help this person in this regard. And this makes its way, way easier. You're not asking for mentor. You're asking for someone to help you solve this problem first, and maybe some deeper relationship will emerge. And this will emerge into a full fledge mentorship relationship, maybe I don't know. But you start somewhere you start discussing something you might have in common and see if it sticks or not. Yeah, that's way easier.

Carly Richmond 38:44
Oh, yeah, definitely.

Tim Bourguignon 38:47
Are you still a mentor nowadays,

Carly Richmond 38:49
I am a mentor for one person at the moment. And they're awesome. And actually, the way that I got connected to her was another individual from another part of technology had contacted me because I was actually the mentees manager when she was an intern. And it turned out that the the manager of this particular individual thought it was a good thing for me to connect back up with her again. So that's how I've ended up looking after this individual for the month. Okay,

Tim Bourguignon 39:20
so you're the manager, but also the parent or

Carly Richmond 39:28
the different entered this is okay. It's not the momager relationship. Okay. But I don't know. And certainly, as I mentioned before, I have been trying to hide the nickname but I think it's making a bit of a comeback. So

Tim Bourguignon 39:42
have you had a mentee come back to you and ask you questions on how you acted as a mentor. So maybe somebody starting to meant to be a mentor themselves?

Carly Richmond 39:51
No, I haven't actually, I don't know if it's just because of the level of people have normally reached out to me or normally kind of within their first couple years. Have starting out and just off the graduate program. So I've never really had anyone give me that kind of question before, I have had a few people contact me and ask about if they're getting into management, how's best to manage people, which given I'm a contributor now, I find a bit awkward. But normally, I kind of have resources and people that I admire that I normally point to point them to. Fact, I had one colleagues that they asked me the other week is like, so you used to be really good when you were a manager? How did you not mess up? Like what are these were good resources for pastoral care and looking after someone effectively. And I actually emailed them on a few resources. But I've also had people contact me and say, I had heard from that you're the only person that had resources for managing engineers, what have you got, which is always really interesting, and certainly a bit odd, since I am not looking after people anymore. But I think it still, those resources are still useful for mentorship and leadership, but don't think you have to be leaders and managers are different things. I don't think, to be a manager, you might be a manager, you might not be a leader at the same time. But I think certainly those resources can also help you be a more effective leader and just a more understanding human being. So the resources, I tend to point people to our Cyclops books are his blog runs and reports. And they're wonderful resources and very human centric. And people like Sarah Dresner, and Ryan Burgess on Twitter, they have very useful and accessible resources that apply to engineering management, but can also apply to mentorship and other principles. So I tend to point people there,

Tim Bourguignon 41:53
as you should change your way of being an individual contributor, after being a manager for a while.

Carly Richmond 42:04
I think it's a yes, I think I was certainly more aware that I probably needed to communicate more, I think if you're just being a contributor, and you've not seen either the scrum master, or that other side of the coin, where someone's asking you questions about, you know, what's the status of this? Or what's going on here? Before that, you don't really think about it until someone comes and starts asking you the questions. I think, no, I tried to be a bit more, a bit more proactive and say, Look, this is what's going on. And I think that's partially the team, I meant just now with how we run our star, our stand ups in the morning, and how we we actually kind of function together as a team also plays into that too. And certainly, I'd noticed kind of with my agile hat on for the start that this was a very kind of strong team in terms of maturity in terms of psychological safety and things. So I definitely look out for those aspects in terms of contribution. I think, also, you're probably not afraid to ask daft questions as well, because you've normally been the person that so removed from the technical detail that you have to ask the daft questions. So you probably feel a bit more comfortable doing that and a bit more comfortable raising concerns than say I would have as a new engineer back nine odd years ago when I was working in my first role. So that's probably helped a bit. And I guess sharing what I find out. Definitely more like clearer to write a blog. This might be partially my conference speaking hat. But I tend to find I'm more likely to write about if I find a particular problematic situation to share that knowledge. Meanwhile, before it, I would have just moved on to the next task. So I think my experience has certainly changed how I I operate in terms of contributions and try to make sure it's my contributions are shared a bit more widely so others can learn from them.

Tim Bourguignon 44:07
That's fair, wait, thank you. With one eye, open the clock. I have to go back to the beginning of your story. You went after your after your masters, you went back to a graduate program inside this investment bank, if somebody was facing kind of this questioning, I went five years at the University I studied already I can go to a company that takes me right there and starts working, or maybe another one who has which has a graduate program. You have an advice for them to help them make, make their mind and decide on where to go.

Carly Richmond 44:47
I would say don't think one route is wrong over the other. Certainly my experience of a graduate program is your joining list. multiple people at the same time who are doing a very similar journey to yourself that you can get support from, because transitioning from university to work, or transitioning from bootcamp to work your first job, I see that as a rather big life event kind of up there with buying your first house or having a child or all those other kind of major events that we're all aware of. So I think doing the graduate program gives you access to those individuals and a network and people to kind of support you that you might not get as much of, or as dedicated, as much of if you just joined out at the back at a company. And certainly, when you're transitioning from university, I think you need a bit more support. And compared to if you're moving between your first or your second or your third job. It also kind of proves very quickly to you as well that you don't know everything. Sometimes I think I might have the better. So I'm pretty sure others maybe wouldn't have met to it. But certainly I remember coming out of university thinking or I'm qualified, I'm a developer, I know what I'm doing. And I know we're going through a graduate program with all these individuals at different levels, some people who are way smarter than you, some people who have a different way of looking at things to you, is going to knock you down a peg and probably give you a bit more humble as well. So there are advantages to doing that. But my general advice is, in this instance, irrespective of whether you decide to go with the graduate program, which I definitely found worked for me, or just dive straight into a job is Go with your gut feeling as to where's the right place for you. Because if you've got between these two options, and actually, the first option feels instinctively to be the right one. That's the one that you should go for. Because there's a reason that your guts telling you that. And obviously, I have very fond memories of my graduate program. And I wouldn't change that decision for the world. But it was the right decision for me. And it felt like the right decision. So I don't think it's one way or the other is right. I think it's what for you feels instinctive.

Tim Bourguignon 47:26
Very sound. Thank you. So where would be the best place to continue this discussion or another one with you.

Carly Richmond 47:34
I'm always happy to hear from people. There's a couple of places. So I am on LinkedIn. If you want to reach out, just look for Carla Richmond, and you should be able to find me. I'm also on Twitter. So you can reach out to me at Carly l Richmond. And I am there. And I also have my own blog. So my handles Carly Oh, Richmond on medium, but I also have it hosted on my own site, which is Karli richmond.com. And there's a Contact Us form in there if you want to come and find me.

Tim Bourguignon 48:05
Awesome. Thank you very much. So is there anything else you want to plug in for color today?

Carly Richmond 48:15
No, I think I just I really enjoyed having this chat. Thank you very much, Tim. And if any listeners do want to get in touch, I look forward to chatting with you.

Tim Bourguignon 48:24
Please do and all the links will be in the show notes. Thank you very much. And this has been another episode of therapists journey with each other next week. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you liked the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms to show appears on our website, Dev journey dot info slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Would you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week store is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o t h e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info. Talk to you soon.