The Average Tester: Succeeding Because You Are Not A Rockstar with Beth Marshall

Our third tester to take to the stage (say that 10 times fast :stuck_out_tongue:) is @bethtesterleeds

From the abstract of this talk I knew I was going to have a lot of feelings matching what Beth talks about :heart: Have you ever felt like Beth?

Use this thread also to your questions during the talk and we’ll do our best to get them all answered live. Remember that liking any questions already asked will increase the chances of them being answered live in the talk :heart:

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With regards to psychological safety, have you ever found that the experience of a toxic workplace can be difficult to shake? How would you look at rebuilding that feeling of safety in a colleague?

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Amazing talk… Have you seen examples of healthy and encouraging teams practicing psychological safety and where 95% are a good fit but with individuals maybe that feel like they don’t fit, maybe because of neurodiversity challenges? How can teams adapt to bring people struggling to fit into a team and struggling to adapt and change themselves?

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Beth, do you have any tips on how to really connect with colleagues at work when starting a new job in the pandemic with everyone remote? I feel so isolated much of the time. Everyone is so overly busy, they don’t always respond to Slack messages, for example.

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Thanks, Beth! Do you think it’s possible or necessary for an average tester to stand out and be average at the same time? For example, if you’re one of five people interviewing for a job, how can you increase your chances of moving forward?

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This is a really important question, and one I think each company seems to have their own way of answering. I can’t think of an easy fix but I will say its a little disheartening if the emphasis is only on you to make the effort and not those who were around first.

My first week in my first testing job a female developer (the only other woman there at the time - standard) offered to take me out for a coffee. It made me feel so much better, and we decided to repeat it with every new starter we thought might need it. By the end we had over 25 of us. Still good friends with that lady now. Appreciate its from the other side of the coin here but the small things you do for people when they first start somewhere will be remembered for a long time so be kind people!

Yes its absolutely possible - average testers do stand out - but for the right reasons. If people are looking to hire “well rounded” people, someone with the list of traits that in my experience average testers possess would be more likely to be a) hired and b) last than someone who didn’t value some of the following:-

  • Listening more than speaking (preferably active listening)
  • kindness
  • A willingness to learn from everybody
  • Empathy and psychological safety
  • ability to admit mistakes and not BS/fingerpoint

As Gabby Trotter said in her brilliant talk your reputation proceeds you, and if you are already visible to people before your interview you will stand a better chance e.g. you are clearly someone who is involved actively in the wider test community - that’s a valuable thing!

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I really liked the quote in the talk around someone your colleagues would like to have a beer with! How you get on with others is important.

To emphasise this point today I happened across this podcast from Kainos:-

They emphasise how important this notion of being empathetic and well rounded is when they are hiring, and they are deffo not unique in this view!

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