DSGamer Down Under (Australia) and back

This has worked well for me in the past: "I know I don't have a very good memory, so I don't trust it. Consequently I document the ever-loving sh*t out of everything. In more than one prior position, my shared documentation has:
(1) decreased future on-boarding time by 40-80%
(2) migrated individual knowledge to institutional knowledge
(3) completely removed unnecessary processes that were surviving in secrecy

You could tell anyone to do this, but they will not have the same built-in, selfish reasons for doing it well. They document for others, I document for me."

I wouldn't necessarily get into the why of the memory issues. Doesn't matter.

Absolutely excellent advice there, Danjo! Turn a perceived negative into a positive. And I completely agree that there's no need to get into the weeds of where the memory issue comes from. We want to disclose only enough to ethically gain employment, we're not comparing family medical histories and committing 'til death do us part.

Also, DSG, I don't know how your relationships are with prior bosses, but you could stress your references by saying "Look, if you have any questions about the quality of my work, talk to these people" - if you know that you have some advocates at previous jobs. Obviously that's situational, and you'd want to work it out with the references beforehand.

Another thing you could do DS is to write down responses to all of those typical interview questions ahead of time so that when they ask you something like, "Remember a time when....?" then you have already figured out how to respond. Perhaps your wife, friends, former co-workers can help you brainstorm since what you may not be able to remember, they could remember and help you out.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

This has worked well for me in the past: "I know I don't have a very good memory, so I don't trust it. Consequently I document the ever-loving sh*t out of everything. In more than one prior position, my shared documentation has:
(1) decreased future on-boarding time by 40-80%
(2) migrated individual knowledge to institutional knowledge
(3) completely removed unnecessary processes that were surviving in secrecy

You could tell anyone to do this, but they will not have the same built-in, selfish reasons for doing it well. They document for others, I document for me."

I wouldn't necessarily get into the why of the memory issues. Doesn't matter.

I love this.

muraii wrote:
Danjo Olivaw wrote:

This has worked well for me in the past: "I know I don't have a very good memory, so I don't trust it. Consequently I document the ever-loving sh*t out of everything. In more than one prior position, my shared documentation has:
(1) decreased future on-boarding time by 40-80%
(2) migrated individual knowledge to institutional knowledge
(3) completely removed unnecessary processes that were surviving in secrecy

You could tell anyone to do this, but they will not have the same built-in, selfish reasons for doing it well. They document for others, I document for me."

I wouldn't necessarily get into the why of the memory issues. Doesn't matter.

I love this.

What’s the answer to how to handle specific questions in an interview, though? I tried not to cram. I was applying (in this case) for a lead position and in the phone screen I explained that for the last 5 years I’ve been doing work for ad agencies, so I was rusty on some of the details of the tech they were using (SQL, etc.).

Then I get into the interview and I’m drilled about SQL isolation levels. I explained that I’m rusty, etc., but it just continued that way.

Is the idea, Danjo, that I lead with that? That I say maybe in the phone screen or before that I’d just be cramming to answer questions in that kind of detail?

bekkilyn wrote:

Another thing you could do DS is to write down responses to all of those typical interview questions ahead of time so that when they ask you something like, "Remember a time when....?" then you have already figured out how to respond. Perhaps your wife, friends, former co-workers can help you brainstorm since what you may not be able to remember, they could remember and help you out.

I did that after the interview and already started studying. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m, essentially, cramming. I agree, though, that some practice should help.

Thanks also, Zaque, Fed and Garion. I’ll take all the kind words I can get.

I would bring in note cards. Certainly that will work on phone interviews.
And with in person interviews I would be honest. You are coming off medication that messed with your memory so you have note cards to keep you on track. You might be able to turn it around to a win if you can use it to demonstrate organization and planning.
"While researching your company, problem X stood out to me as critical for your business. I wanted to make sure I conveyed my understanding of the pitfalls associated with problem X. I've illustrated them here."

I really like the angle of using the memory challenges as an example of your fortitude and commitment to solving problems. We increasingly rely on extended cognition and your capacity to make that work for you and your team would be, I think, pretty attractive.

Holy Crap! Do people really get 100+MG prescriptions for Ativan (the linked article showed 1000MG)? Seriously, I've been wondering why everyone has been telling me how awful this drug is. I've been taking it for around 15 years, but never a dose larger than 1.5MG. This explains so much where I've been having the disconnect.

DSGamer wrote:

What’s the answer to how to handle specific questions in an interview, though? I tried not to cram. I was applying (in this case) for a lead position and in the phone screen I explained that for the last 5 years I’ve been doing work for ad agencies, so I was rusty on some of the details of the tech they were using (SQL, etc.).

Then I get into the interview and I’m drilled about SQL isolation levels. I explained that I’m rusty, etc., but it just continued that way.

Is the idea, Danjo, that I lead with that? That I say maybe in the phone screen or before that I’d just be cramming to answer questions in that kind of detail?

Straight up quiz questions are going to suck. Also it sounds like your specific memory issue is different, so I don't think my exact response is going to work for others. My active memory has always less than ideal, but 80 hour stress weeks for months ramped it up to 10% short term + 10% long term memory for about year. I don't think I ever got back to my 100%. So biologically I'm still worse off, but comprehensively I'm much better than before because the down time made me adapt with habits that turn out to be very useful in unanticipated ways.

I expect everyone would adapt to their specific curveballs differently, but I believe a broad, unconventional assessment will find your corresponding strengths.

Working those strengths into an interview where they know what they want, but not what they need? That's guaranteed frustrating, especially over the phone, and often a numbers game. Some companies want replaceable cog people, and others get the greater value of a diverse team. You deserve the latter.