Veerle Verhagen

Software Tester

Five hacks to help you get the support you need! #1 will blow your mind!

This is a story about teamwork. In the summer of 2019, the London Metropolitan Police’s twitter account was hacked. Control of the account was soon recovered, but the culprits proved harder to find. Police were at a loss. However, there were about 5 million people in the UK with a very specific skill that could have helped solve the crime, if only they had been consulted. Asking for help can be incredibly difficult. I know, because I’ve been there. It is also vital to self-improvement. So how do you learn to reach out and get the support you need?

Just before I heard about this story, I had been in the position of the Met Police in my own story. I was completely stuck on an assignment, but for various reasons, I didn’t ask for help. Partly because I thought nobody could help me, partly because I had no idea what sort of help I would have benefited from. And for a large part it was an embarrassment that stopped me. As the only tester on my project, I thought I had to be the expert in my field and asking for help would have been a sign of inexperience and mediocrity. So I kept myself to myself.

It was only after I moved on from that assignment that I started to think about why it had gone so horribly wrong. And that’s when I started to understand how I could have been a better tester and team member. Slowly I started to develop an idea of how to find allies, not for the project, but for myself.

Finding people who can support you and foster you talent is vital to your success as an individual and as a team member. I realised that I wasn’t very good at reaching out, but I’m learning. So far I’ve learned that the most valuable allies are sometimes the most unexpected. I also learned new ways of reaching out that make asking for help feel empowering rather than humiliating. And I want to share how I got here.

Take-aways:

  • People like to be asked – forging connections through asking for help
  • Who you ask is important – how to identify your best allies
  • There is no shame in asking for help – feeling empowered rather than embarrassed
  • It matters how you phrase it! Stop calling your questions stupid and start having conversations

 

ABOUT VEERLE:

Veerle Verhagen is a software tester with RisQIT. After getting a degree in Latin and Italian from the University of Glasgow, she taught English in Turin, Italy for a couple of years. Being someone who likes to do the unexpected, after that brief career in education she went and got a Masters’ in Indo-European Linguistics and then promptly turned around and switched to IT. She immediately felt at home in the software testing community, where almost everyone is even weirder than she is. When she’s not at the office, you might find Veerle outside exploring hiking trails, in the kitchen testing stew recipes, or at metal festivals applying her social skills. You can reach her at v.verhagen@risqit.nl or see what she’s up to on Twitter by following @witchofthetest.

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