Saturday, February 5, 2011

climatic dissonance

Facebook is rife with Californians apologizing to East Coast friends and relatives, but nonetheless feeling the need to point out that it was in the mid-70s today. In fact it was too warm for pants, so many of us switched to shorts for the day. Barbecues abound.

We had a lovely sangha morning, and then I had a blessed day of doing precisely jack shit. I read a book that had nothing to do with work. I did my first laundry since I got back. (Long story, I have a blog post in progress about that.) I dug out my small cloth bag for bringing books to the coffee shop, and a few books to put on the shelves in the living room. I made dinner for a slightly stressed girlfriend, and that was it.

I started a spreadsheet to set down and share my thoughts about the two Mountain View jobs. It's premature, since I don't have offers from either one, but I'll be surprised not to get them. The world is not full of Tools Engineers (Job #1), and even less full of Site Reliability Engineers (Job #2). As the founder/CTO said, "No one is an SRE right out of college," because of the breadth of knowledge involved, and then a lot of people just...aren't, by temperament or mindset. I am, at least by skillset and habit. It's sorely tempting, the siren song of complex systems interacting at high speed. The hassle and pressure of keeping a service online? Less tempting.

In fact, it seems like there's not a lot of good people anywhere:
James: yeah the job thing
James: see here's the thing
James: you're like, the only one.
James: in the whole bay area.
Chris: heh.
Chris: yeah, it seems to be a problem.
James: I mean I admit that the work my company does may not attract as many applicants.
James: but we still have 3-5 coding tests per week.
James: and everyone fails them.
James: and deservedly so, given what I overhear them asking.
I hear the "talent shortage" story all over, and not just from employers, who are usually trying to justify either outsourcing overseas or an increase in H1-B work visas. I asked a recruiter about it, and he said it was mostly people complaining that they couldn't find engineers who were good at both server infrastructure and user-interface programming--not surprising, since those people are like unicorns. At no point in computing history have there been a meaningful number of people who were good at both those things, and no one has ever thought it a reasonable strategy to try and find one. So mostly I think the recruiter was an idiot.

It is true that Google and Facebook have taken their piles of money and perks and vacuumed up vast quantities of area tech people. We're also in the middle of a startup bubble, where stupid companies are once again getting too much money from venture capitalists, at excessive valuations. I give it another 6-12 months before something bad happens; some of my risk/reward calculus on my job offers involves finding a stable place where I won't have to change jobs for a few years.

The warm weather is supposed to continue, sadly (I dislike bright sunlight, and thus most of California's weather). Tomorrow afternoon is a housewarming barbecue, and on Monday I'm interviewing and lunching at Mountain View #2. Their office admin says:

"Should be a beautiful day, too (we usually eat on the balcony)."

Rough life.

1 comment:

  1. It snowed last night. I wish it were in the 70's here. I haven't experienced a full summer since 2009, and so I'd really, really like the winter to go away.

    Good luck with the stable job search.