small medium large xlarge

Coming Up

Your Career Is Your Job

Generic image illustrating the article

Starting next month, Johanna Rothman and Andy Lester will be starting a new Department discussing job hunting, interviews, hiring, and other work life issues. I’ll let them describe what they’re planning. –Mike

We’ve long wanted to work together on a project, and when PragPub editor Michael Swaine asked if we’d like to explore the topic of cultural fit in hiring, we immediately agreed. The result was a pair of articles in the March issue of PragPub, one from the hiring manager’s point of view and one from the candidate’s.

As we talked, we realized that we both constantly push the message that all the interesting questions have an “It depends” answer. It’s a really important message to get out there. Read any jobs subreddit on, such as /r/jobs or /r/cscareerquestions, and you’ll see a common expectation that there’s a single right answer for everything. There isn’t.

When Johanna blogged about favorite interview questions recently, she was pleasantly surprised at the variety of questions readers shared. One of her readers asks the question, “Tell me about a difficult problem you have debugged.” The way he asks this question, the answer could be just about anything. An excellent question. But there is no One Best Interview Question.

Andy is often asked, “Should I put X on my resume?” where X could be hobbies, or a job that lasted only six months, or fraternity associations. His answer is always “It depends,” because what you really need is to understand the issues to consider in answering this question for yourself.

We’re both wary and weary of cookie-cutter answers to career questions. Your career is yours, and yours alone. We can suggest alternatives and things to consider, but you are the best decision maker for you.

So we’re not going to offer you cookie-cutter answers. We’ll present as much perspective on a topic as we can, to help you make your own decisions that best fit your situation. We won’t always agree. There’s room for disagreement, even between us.

Finally, we’re really interested in what you want to know about. What are your job, career, and work-life concerns or questions? Let us know. –JR & AL

Andy is the author of Land the Tech Job You Love.

Johanna is the author of the Pragmatic Bookshelf titles Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management, Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects, and Hiring Geeks That Fit.