Thursday, March 6, 2014

I'm applying for a position with Mozilla, part 1


What follow are three posts outlining my thoughts on my application for a project management position with Mozilla. 

Part 1: background
Part 2: application process 
Part 3: résumé and application form

I used a work open approach, and found it refreshing.

The position responsibilities and qualifications are great. I have rarely felt as good about applying for a position.

The organization sounds like it needs someone who can pull together various teams, get everyone working together, and work towards organizational sustainability. This is what I do, and what I love doing. 

Part 1

I'm working on an application for a project management position with the Mozilla Foundation

Having gone over the position description, I am confident this will go well. Every point of responsibility or qualification felt great. 

Part of the Mozilla ethos is "work open", an approach to work that values participation, agility and speed, and transparency. Everything is public, available for all your co-workers (and any interested public) to browse through. Maybe not everything. A lot. Open source, but on an organizational scale.

Here, read this piece that summarizes why the Mozilla Foundation uses this approach.

With that in mind, and with some excitement but some trepidation, I thought that I would use this space to document my application process. My notes, thoughts, and the finished product. Probably.

  • Focuses my thoughts on what is and isn't important.
  • Good practice for what would be a necessary embrace of the work open concept. 
  • Hopefully it stands out from the other applications, something that is explicitly encouraged on the application form.
  • Beyond the gimmickry, there is value in demonstrating a thought process rather than merely handing in a finished product. 

  • It's a bit gimmicky. EDIT: It's outright gimmicky. 
  • Someone else applying for the same position could use this to put themselves in a better position. (Okay, pretty unlikely)
  • It's taking quite a bit of time to plan this and carry it out - I may have to apply with this unfinished.
  • I may not like the work open process. 

Personal trepidation

I'm not very tech-savvy - for evidence of that, look no further than this poor little website that I've been using for many years. Or to my use of "tech-savvy". If I knew how to whip up a wiki page for this, I would. And I get the sense that every other employee at Mozilla could do that on their coffee break.

Mozilla is an organization of software developers. There is a vocabulary (or likely a set of vocabularies) in the organization that is foreign to me. And I struggle at times with more than the nomenclature.

Is there the potential in an interview (assuming I get that far) to be confused by some Mozilla or web terminology? Yes.

I am likely overstating this issue - I'm sure there are plenty of people at Mozilla that aren't radical hackers. Or tubular hackers. *Yah, Barney, bitchin'... 

Anyway, it all feels a bit like uncharted territory for me, which is still intimidating. If anyone has any ideas for how to work through this, please let me know.

Independent of this application I have been working on my own digital literacy, learning about how to work in WordPress, how to host a website, etc. So, there's that...

Working open in the political world

I wanted to write a bit more about the concept of working open, an idea that both fascinates and unnerves me. I work in a world that values proprietary knowledge. The better you can leverage that knowledge, the better you will fare, be it in fundraising, voter contact, or media relations. Lists are difficult to build and maintain, and are closely guarded secrets. 

I'm amazed that the Mozilla 2013 year-end fundraising plan is available online for anyone to read. It's not exactly rocket science, but it's also more than I've seen from any other organization. And Andrea Wood, the lead online fundraiser, plans to make available info about their email fundraising program.

A fascinating approach, and an admirable ethos. I really hope it works for Mozilla. 

So that's the background for this. Part 1, I guess. In part 2 I explore the actual application. 

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