Late Post

This first week in Sydney has been amazing, if a tad bit overwhelming. There’s a lot of stuff I still need to take care of before I can truly feel like I’ve settled in. There’s also the whole reason I moved here in the first place. Either way, this week’s post is late because I went out last night to meet up with some of the lovely folks who, like me, have moved here from the Philippines. If you’re a Filipino and working in tech, do reach out: we have a pretty active Slack community, and you can join us here.


It’s a bit difficult to put into words how overwhelming the amount of information I have to frontload and absorb at my first week of work – from company procedures to the entire domain of the software that my team is responsible for. I’m also slowly firguring out the key folks in my part of the organization. All of this is to say that although moving to a city in another country is a huge endeavor, work swamps that altogether.

That’s not to say I’ve had to learn all of this blind: there’s a ton of resources at my disposal and my manager did give me a launch plan detailing the basics, a sort of guide to what I need to learn and who to reach out to, in terms of the tools and domain of our software.

Still, it is a firehose: you really can’t stem the flow of information coming at you. All I can do is manage that flow.

As I mentioned previously here, I use Emacs quite heavily. I’ve used org-mode in the past for task management and note taking, and I think I’ll be leveraging it in the coming months, particularly to provide my own set of guideposts into the massive sprawl of information. I need to build my own maps to things.

Admittedly, I’m not expected to absorb everything immediately: there’s really an understanding that most new hires won’t be effective for at least a couple of months (if not 3), and that’s because Amazon is huge, and we have a lot of custom tooling and what-not to deal with everything; add to that the various bits of domain knowledge needed by particular teams, an understanding of how to Get Things Done in the organization, and who to talk to, and you can see why it’ll take a while before I become effective. Personally, I’ve never had to go deep in such a manner before. In my life as a software consultant, most of the domains I’d needed to immerse myself in were all comparatively shallow to this.

But! I have a plan.

I think I can fast-track things quite a bit by doing a sort-of breadth-first walk of the domain, and writing signposts and notes on where to find stuff, instead of trying to slowly attack the entirety of the domain knowledge depth-first and really committing everything to memory. It’s basically my own version of doing pull/on-demand: after all, a lot of things can be solved through indirection, so why not getting all of this domain knowledge in my brain?

So, I fully intend to attempt to get myself into a position where I’m at least somewhat effective as a team member this way; in the short term, I’ll probably be a bit of a drag, nevertheless, as I’ll have to “load” knowledge into my brain on demand, paging bits of domain knowledge while I encounter them.

The important bit though, and which I’ll be doing in the next few weeks, is building that map, and I hope org-mode is the right tool for me and for this particular job. Fingers crossed.

Previously: Podcasts