Q&A With Ellen Musick, LiquidPlanner’s New Software Engineer

Tatyana Sussex | April 25, 2014

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Our software developer team is lucky to have a new and very talented software engineer, Ellen Musick (you should see her job-search formula, below). Read on to learn more about Ellen’s productivity tips, her daily ritual and more.Ellen Musick

LP: Briefly describe an average work day for you at LiquidPlanner:

Ellen: I log into LiquidPlanner and check out my upcoming tasks to see what’s in my queue for the day, and then I get to work. Depending on the day, I might also have a meeting with other devs and/or a project manager to talk about a new feature.

How did you know LiquidPlanner was the perfect fit for you?

I met another developer and heard how much she loved working here, and that’s what got me interested initially. After that, I got to hear Liz Pearce speak, and I thought (and still think) she is awesome. Finally, I came in for an interview and met more of the developers and heard more about the job and what I would be doing day-to-day and month-to-month.

One thing that I really enjoy about working at LiquidPlanner is using the scheduling tool myself—partly because I love organization and plans, and partly because it makes me a better developer when I get to use what I’m building and see it from a user’s perspective.

Do you have any tips on how you stay productive and focused during the day?

I like to get up and move around every couple hours to refocus. I make a cup of tea, sit on the couch (under a Death Star!) and work there, or look out the window at the view. Also, if I’m stuck on a task, working on something else for a bit or talking to a coworker about the problem prevents me from spinning my wheels for too long.

What do you appreciate the most in your co-workers?

They all work very hard and really care about providing an awesome, high-quality product and a great team environment.

Do you have a ritual or routine to the start of your work day?
I like to check out the “Home” screen on LiquidPlanner to see what’s going on and look at the plan to see where things are at. And I drink a large cup of coffee.

Your idea of happiness at work is:

Some combination of getting things done/moving forward/making something and continuing to learn, plus positive, pleasant and smart coworkers.

What book has most influenced your career?

I don’t have a good answer for this, so I will dodge the question and instead mention one of the books I’m reading now, The Pragmatic Programmer. It’s a classic, and I usually find at least a few things every week that relate to advice from the book.

Advice for anyone looking for a job right now—interview tips?

Personally, I don’t really like job hunting. I like to think that if I spend x amount of time working on something, I will get y as the result, where y = x^3 or y = 2x or something like that. However, job hunting (and unfortunately many things in life) really isn’t like this. While it does require a lot of hard work, it also requires patience and persistence, and there’s an element of luck or getting the timing right that may be out of your control. My advice is: don’t get discouraged! Two things that helped me:

  1. Try to have some tangible, achievable goals for each day and week to further your job search, like going to networking events, applying to jobs and following up with contacts.
  2. Set some time aside to work on a project that you enjoy that is related to the sort of job you are looking for.