Wondering Wanderer

Work With Me

June 21, 2019

I am a strong believer in autonomy. I’m not a mico-manager by default unless I feel the project or directions have changed in such a way that would have a significant impact on the outcome. In this case I will voice my concern and suggest possible approaches to correct the course.

I prefer having broad strokes plan for the next 6-12 months. I don’t believe in fixed dates for deadlines but I will follow through on action items set. If it is going to slip or change in scope, I’d rather know as soon as possible rather than try to save the outcome a day after. I don’t like to dictate how things should be done but I will challenge your assumptions and point out any possible holes in your plans. I suggest having written output for any major decisions made, meetings scheduled and features launched.

I aim to be available for people during good times and bad. However when I feel that my willingness is being abused, I will bring it up and ask for suggestions how both my time and your needs could be accommodated.

I strive to continue learning and evolving - one of the ways to help me in my journey is to give feedback on how I could improve, where I am being useful or getting in the way of your own personal/professional growth.

Finally, be aware that English is not my mother tongue and sometimes I might use phrases that are not common or have conflicting meaning. Please point these out and ask me to clarify so that nothing gets lost in translation.

Values and Personality

  • I aspire to be self-reflective, to have and model humility.
  • I place a high value on self-accountability and follow-through.
  • Good team spirit is very important to me. Kindness and respect for others goes a long way.

My work hours

I am most productive in the mornings and prefer my work day to fall between 7am and 4pm local time. I tend to take a full hour for lunch to clear my head and go for a run/practice accordion.

What’s the best way to communicate with you?

  • I aim to respond to emails the same business day. I review my inbox before 9am and then again after 1pm. I won’t simply reply to the email to indicate that I have read it - in fact unless you explicitly specify that you need a response or there is an action item for me in the email you won’t hear back from me. Ping me if you have not heard back from me within a day.
  • I aim to respond in Slack within an hour unless it is after 4pm or during weekend
  • I very rarely answer phone calls.

I prefer Slack over calls for quick chats. If it is a longer discussion, give me a Slack call but check with me first. If it is something that has actionable points that need to be documented, use email. Please do not call me on my phone unless it is absolutely necessary. The chances are I simply won’t answer my phone unless I know ahead of time to expect that phone call.

If I don’t respond, try: Send me an email to let me know if you need to talk. I aim to read all my email daily.

What’s your relationship to work communication when not at work?

I do not reply to work emails outside of work hours. I might reply to Slack but off work hours are usually spent in places with limited internet access.

What are your signs that you’d prefer not to be interrupted when at work?

I set myself in Do Not Disturb or Away on Slack. Check the #away channel when I might be back.

When do you prefer to work alone, versus in groups?

I prefer solitude for planning and learning unless there is a need for input from others. I prefer groups for detailed planning and reviews

What do you want to be involved in?

  • If possible, I like to attend daily stand ups and bi-weekly respectives to keep up to date. I expect people to come prepared and to be on time.
  • I find quarterly reviews/forecasting sessions immensely beneficial.
  • I do not need to know minuscule details, but if something requires a change in existing tooling, approaches and best practices, keep me in the loop. Better yet, document it beforehand. Be very clear when you need my input as I tend to sleep on things quite often.
  • I prefer not to attend a meeting that is scheduled because of “keeping everyone in the loop”. Make it a well crafted email instead with FYI in the subject line.
  • I highly value regularly scheduled 1:1s both up and downstream

How do you like to give feedback?

  • I like to give feedback first in private either via one on one Slack message or phone call. I rarely give that in an email message first.
  • Once the feedback is given in private and it is positive I usually also give it in public during a team meeting or in a public Slack channel

How do you like to receive feedback?

  • Positive feedback: keep it private or public, your choice - although I don’t like to look like the teacher’s pet either
  • Negative feedback: 1-1s are best followed by private Slack channel. Provide an example of my actions or character. That can help me learn.
  • Keep it relevant - providing feedback (especially negative feedback) too late provides limited options to act

Things I’m more than happy to talk about:

  • Outdoor activities - rock climbing, hiking trails, mountaineering, crazy adventures
  • Travel - both domestic and international, travel hacks, stories of epic fails and successes
  • Personal finance - FIRE, YNAB, podcasts
  • All things Estonian
  • Time management
  • Fiber crafts
  • Puppies!
  • Food and restaurants - always looking for recommendations for new places and food items to try

Katrin Valdre

Written by Katrin Valdre who has a permanent address in Portland, OR but does not believe in one physical location. You should follow her on Twitter