When I was a professor, I was a seasonal person. Haircuts and dentist appointments happened during semester breaks. I read two fiction books each summer.
Now I work as a Software Developer and I'm trying to figure out how to be a full-time engaged person in the world. I'm not great at it yet, I'm still practicing, but I had a haircut last month.
In my practice at being a full-time person, I sometimes go to Portland Meet Ups. Hosted by the Portland Development Commission, PDX WIT, or Women Who Code, I get to watch folks give smart talks on Smart Cities and Entrepreneurship and Mozilla Security.
Most recently, after a long speech about inclusivity in the tech space, an event host offered that some of her favorite interview questions were, "What open source projects have you contributed to?" Or, "Show me your GitHub."
I do like these questions because the asker is interested in finding out about how candidates channel their passions during their free time. I dislike these questions because I worry about what the asker might deduce if the answer is "None" Or, "I don't have one."
Such answers could mean a lack of passion. Such answers could also mean other things. A lack of free time. A lack of a computer at home that can keep up with development. A lack of feeling safe in online spaces where so many folks experience harassement.
Or maybe there are just other cool alternatives. "In my free time, I volunteer in my kid's classroom." Or, "On the weekends, I clear away invasive species from city parks." Or so many other things that a diverse group of people might be passionate about.
To achieve better inclusivity in the tech space, I offer that job interviewers must be willing to accept people holistically for a greater variety of passions. In my view, it is not inclusive to decide on the acceptable ways to be passionate. It is not inclusive to decide that "Passionate equals GitHub."
Dearest job interviewers, I encourage this question instead, "How do you channel your passions in your free time?"