Dear future colleague, find bright people in dark times

Illustration of the writer, software developer Emma
February 24, 2021

Read time 3 min

Dear future colleague,

My dad was in a coma when I started my interviews with Reaktor. He caught Covid, and it hit him suddenly. One moment he was eating lunch with his wife, the next he was lying unconscious on the table.

I was doing interviews at other companies too, so some days I’d be in back-to-back interviews for hours. In-between I’d call my brothers, or text my dad’s wife: How’s he doing? Any progress? 

At any other time I’d have jumped on a plane to be with him, but no one was allowed to visit, not even his wife.

I was new to my apartment, having moved just before the pandemic struck New York City. The previous tenant took the AC with them (who does that?) so I was literally sweating my way through these interviews. I’d put on something nice for the interview, but it was invariably too hot. It was the first time in my career I’ve done a technical interview in a 90°F (~32°C) room. I remember those days as one hot, scary blur.

Needless to say, it was very difficult to present myself as a happy future employee of company X. Most interviews would start with “How are you doing?” – I became well-practiced at a kind of non-committal nod, maybe making a little joke.

Those interviews were tough, but right from the start Reaktor was different. Almost immediately I felt myself relax. Most other companies left me feeling like a ball of nerves, but I left my interviews at Reaktor feeling happy, energized, and excited to tell my friends about it. I thought to myself that things are really hard right now, but I really like these people. It really says something if you feel a connection, even under circumstances like these.

But it’s not enough to say I had a good feeling about Reaktor. I’m trying to put my finger on exactly what it was. Maybe it was the way that they seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me. Or how I felt like I was talking to friends, not people deciding my future. (I have no idea how they pulled off that magic trick!) Or how, when they asked hard questions, I felt like they really wanted me to succeed. No one was trying to stump me; it felt like we were just nerding out about computers. It was super fun!

I had a tough summer, but 2020 was hard on all of us. For me, that tough year ended with two of the best outcomes I could imagine: my dad made an incredible recovery, and I got the job at Reaktor. My colleagues have been just as friendly and genuine after I was hired as they were during the recruitment process. 

In sharing my story, dear future colleague, I hope to remind you that everyone deserves kindness, presence, and dignity at work. I encourage you to seek a place where you can be yourself and find brightness even in dark times. I feel so lucky to have found such a place at Reaktor, where I truly feel I am surrounded by coworkers who take joy in my success. I hope to pay that forward in this new year, and in the years to come.

And just so you know, we are here if you’d like to join us and see what Reaktor could offer you. 

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