…a guest blog from Ramona Costandel, Volunteer Contributor for the Summit 2013
I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Mozilla offices in Mountain View and to talk to employees, to ask questions about the company, the culture and reason why a person would want to work there. I learned that everything is so different from what you’d expect from companies, here in Silicon Valley and the way it was presented to me made me so curious to know more. Around the same time I started my search for a volunteer work that would count as experience/practice for credits towards my Human Resource program at UCSC. I didn’t know if it would be possible to contribute in any way, but I decided to give it a try.
Few things I learned from volunteering with Mozilla:
- If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. I never thought I could be part of the mozilla community and have the chance to meet great people who are committed to build a greater future for the Web. But it turned out it wasn’t that hard to do it either, all I had to do is ask! I went on the website and Mozilla read my mind, under the volunteering tab you’ll find the question: “Want to help?” I wrote to them a short description of what I am about and asked “Can I help?”
The importance of promptness. Second time I was pleasantly surprised by Mozilla, was when I received an answer within a few days from contacting them! It was a great feeling to see that Mozilla is really about working with people for the people. Their mission statement is not just empty words. I think, for me, this was one of the clues that contributing to the Mozilla projects, will be an amazing experience.
Sometimes research is a slippery slope. I received the project I need to work on and I was so excited! I started doing research right away and I soon realized there is so much that can be done! So many interesting and creative ideas, most of them aligned with Mozilla’s values. I wanted to find out more and more and make sure that I consider as many as ideas as possible for my project. I also realized that, not only did I look for things related to my project but also everything I was reading was filtrated through the lenses of “how does this apply to my project?”. On one hand it’s great to be in that situation, to have a lot of information available, but on the other hand it can become a bit overwhelming and be time consuming as well. Which leads me to my next point:
When working on a project, set your own time limit (not the due date). I realized there is so much information on my project so I asked if I could have more time to work on it and the answer was yes. I was told it is a learning process and I can take as much as I need. It was great and I appreciated it, another clue that I am working with a great team. But soon enough this “gift” turned into a curse – this meant I can go down my “slippery slope research” as much as I wanted. Try to have someone check on your progress and remind you of how much time you have left or estimate a date to be done, before the actual due day.
Finally, I decided to stop my research for new ideas and focus on what I found so far. I am almost done working on it and getting ready to present it to members of my team. To be honest, it’s a bit nerve-racking when I think about the presentation but I am working on overcoming some public speaking “bumps” and this will be good practice. I will try to remember that I work with great people who, hopefully, are also understanding, and if I made mistakes, I’ll look at them as an opportunity to learn.
As a part of a team, I am effective and really enjoy group work, but with all my training and knowledge, I still find that there are so many variables to consider when working with people. So many other things to take in account, than just field of work, experience and/or pay. There are few stereotypes, and a lot of literature on how to handle them, but actually being faced with the situation, it’s a whole lot different. This is something I look forward to learn more about, from volunteering with Mozilla for the 2013 Summit.
I plan to graduate the HR Management program at UCSC this summer and soon, I will start my search for employment but if possible, I’d like to still contribute to Mozilla project in the future. I feel that my experience with Mozilla is definitely a boost for both my start in this field and my job related self confidence. I truly believe I am very lucky be able to share with you how amazing it is to be listened, heard and feel that what you think really matters.
Thank you Mozilla!