This is part 5 in a series from Atlassian’s support team, for more information, check out the introduction to the series.
When I interviewed for this job, I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Jeffrey Walker. Although I had a lot of technical skills and communication skills, he wanted to know why I was looking for a support job, when my resume didn’t have any previous support experience on it. None of my previous jobs had “Support” in the title, so it was a fair question. Here’s what I told him…
All of my jobs have in fact been support jobs. People come to me with problems, I help figure out solutions for them. Sometimes helping people means running commands on a server, sometimes it means troubleshooting someone else’s code or writing your own, sometimes it just means figuring out who the right person is for them to talk with. That may seem overly broad, but it’s the underlying factor in all my work. I enjoy helping people.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, I respond to the people around me. I feel best when the people around me are happy. I want for them to succeed. If you come to me with a problem, I feel your pain as my own and want to help in any way I can.
The thing is, you can’t help everyone, or rather, you can, but you’re not going to do as much good. The key is to play to your strengths. Where can you as an individual add the most value to the world? Since I was a young child playing with my uncle’s Sinclair and my own Commodore Vic-20, computers have always been a passion of mine. I’ve been fortunate enough to find jobs where I could help people and keep learning about all different kinds of technology.
I’m a believer in Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of “flow”, which is a state of being in which you’re so full of win you hardly remember to come up for air. I’d like to highlight two points: First, to find your flow, the work you do needs to be enjoyable for its own sake. When you get paid to do something you were already passionate about, it hardly seems like work at all. Helping people and working with technology are both activities I enjoy for their own sake. I could buy a shirt that says “No, I will not help you fix your computer”, but it probably wouldn’t fit me, no matter what size it was….
Flow also requires a balance between ability level and challenge. If the challenges are too difficult, you feel powerless. If the challenges are too easy, you feel bored. If the challenges are just a bit above your currently level of awareness and skill, you push yourself, you grow, and the whole process is a joy. Within Atlassian Support, we call this “challenge”, as in “challenge yourself, challenge each other”, one of our core values. Learning to really hear what a customer needs and to give them hope with just a few lines of text, that’s a challenge. Working with highly technical products with tons of extension points across a range of platforms, that’s a challenge.
So, for me, the reason I went for this job was because all of my previous experience had prepared me, made me strong in the areas where Atlassian customers needed help, and because I knew I could learn to be even more helpful. I’m glad I was able to get that across to Jeffrey and Sherali, because I honestly love working in support, and especially in Atlasssian Support.
My role within Atlassian support at the moment is to improve the way we provide you with the help you need. So tell me, how can I help you?