Tuesday, September 2, 2014

new job! again.

I finally got a new job, working for a company in Seattle. I work out of my house, which turns out to be delightful, thanks to Anna and J's hard work setting up my workspace. I have a table, where our large Totoro sits, grinning. Work mailed me a laptop, keyboard, trackpad, backup drive, and giant monitor. I typed "best office chair" into The Wirecutter, and they said the Steelcase Leap; because companies are constantly popping in and out of existence in the Bay Area, we are blessed with many high-end office liquidators, all happy to sell me a used chair at half the price of a new one. (It's a really, really great chair, and in the future I would consider buying one new and leaving it to my grandchildren.)

My friend Jess works there, as well as a couple other friends, and she wasn't kidding when she said the learning curve was more of a cliff. The codebase I'm touching is terrifying: 47,000 lines of Ruby code, which would conservatively be at least 150,000 lines of Java. There's a reason apps in Ruby-like languages don't usually get this big. It's not incomprehensible, but it is very dense.

My old job was not surprised I was leaving, and after some initial bumps we had a lot of really good communication--including several "why didn't you tell me this 6 months ago?" moments--and I left on good terms.

I love working from home. It has brought into relief something I've always known but ignored out of practicality, which is that I despise offices. I really enjoy face-to-face contact! But the noise, the drab atmosphere, the interruption, the hideous, life-sucking fluorescent lights. It's even worse now that the open floor plan has taken over, the cheapest possible office layout, loudly justified with trivially disproved claims about how it increases collaboration.

Home, by contrast, is generally pretty quiet, and there's a couch and a bed I can work from when my body needs a break from the home office. Or coffee shops. Or the back patio, though I haven't tried that. It's too early in the job to know if I'm more productive, but I'm definitely happier.

I also get to go to Seattle periodically! They flew me up there on July 3rd for an on-site interview, which sounds extravagant until you look at how much it costs to hire somebody. Last year a different company flew me out to Boston, which cost them about $1400 total. But, in general, by the time you total up the time taken from recruiters, managers, and engineers, a company will easily spend $20,000-40,000 hiring a candidate. There's a reason companies offer $15,000 referral bonuses, and that's because $15,000 is a bargain.

I flew up there again last week just to meet folks, and besides the work conversations I did some solid walking around town. I like Seattle better than here, which is unfortunate since I can't move. (Anna and I could consider giving up the roots we have here, but there's absolutely no option of taking the autistic boy away from everything he knows.) The world is a strange place, though, and nothing is permanent.

Anna and J really enjoy having me around, too. As J said:
And now that your new job will be working from home, I'll be able to come home from school and come in to your office, I mean I can't come in because you'll be working, but I'll at least be able to look in and see a Chris!
Anna says pretty much the same thing.

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