Randy tagged me with this meme so here goes…
What I was doing ten years ago
I had always believed that I was supposed to become a doctor; an orthopedic surgeon, specifically. But in 1998, I realized that it was not what was in my heart and I had to go a different direction. Unfortunately, at that time, the direction didn’t much matter to me so long as it was away from medical school. I was working at a buddy’s ISP (Internet Service Provider) and slinging drinks at a local bar. It was fun for a time and I am where I am today because of my experiences but I can’t say that I always made the best decisions. I’m just thankful that I had my family and friends around for support and that they were there when I was ready to move my life in a more positive direction.
Five snacks I enjoy
- Starburst jelly beans
- Mixed nuts (but not the cheap crap with all those peanuts)
- Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips
- Whatever is closest to my keyboard
Five things on my to-do list today
(This one is a really hard one for me since I have my to-do list split into contexts – I’m a GTD guy, what can I say)
- Call Lewisville Shoe Repair re: boot resole
- Call Adam Keys re: lunch next week
- Hang up all tools over workbench
- Upload starting codebase to Google Code for presentation
- Locate host service for CodeRush screencasts
Five favorite recipes
- Italian Egg Scramble
- Sausage & Peppers
- Genius – 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration
- Thermite – sorry, not handing this one out
Five jobs I have had
- Bag boy at country club
- Graphic artist and typesetter at college newspaper
- Veterinary technician
- Grocery clerk
Five bad habits
- Talking to myself a little too loud
- Snore (like it’s my job)
- Monitor touching when explaining/reading code
- Knowing I’m right
- Reminding people around me of #4
All the places I’ve lived
- Chicago, IL
- Louisville, KY
- San Antonio, TX
- Medina, OH
- Hillsborough, NJ
- Oxford, OH
- Denton, TX
- Flower Mound, TX
Five Random Things
- I sweat like a person twice my weight.
- I placed at state in 8th grade Science Olympiad.
- I went by the name “Michael” for a while.
- I collect antique fountain pens.
- Nutmeg is toxic if injected intravenously.
Five people I’m tagging
I’m running behind due to this announcement but I figured I’d get in more trouble if I put if off any longer. I’m taking some time off but I’ll hopefully have a chance to get some posts put together that have been languishing in my to-do list.
In making the decision to switch jobs, I decided to create a description of my “ideal”. This not only gave me a good reference and made me really think about what I was looking for but was very useful when dealing with recruiters as it gave them an idea of what opportunities I would be interested in. The key elements to this description included the company’s culture as well as a general overview of the job function. Be sure that you’re honest in creating this – if a certain amount of money is important to you, then put it down. Being shy about things that are going to affect your decision will only create tough situations later. For me it was important to not only grow in knowledge and responsibilities but also to find a company that shared my values and would provide an environment for me to operate the way I know how. I’m really a believer that it’s what your co-worker (or boss) says you do not what your business card says you do. Your daily activities are more important than your title. I also wasn’t interested in much travel or crazy hours. So armed with my criteria, I set out upon the Dallas market.
The description created earlier was extremely helpful in creating a list of questions for the interviews to be sure that the picture painted on paper or by the recruiter actually lined up with expectations. Often times, I found this wasn’t the case and it’s much better to learn that sooner rather than later. Asking these questions, NOT the time off and salary ones, not only gets a better picture of things for you but shows the that you’re truly interested in the company and the position. Overall I found that it’s a job hunter’s dream right now here in the metroplex. There’s a significant shortage of qualified devs so this would be a great time to make a move if you’re interested. Of course, I’m saying that since I just made mine.
I’ll be honest, I was pretty shocked when Caleb announced he was leaving Microsoft back in January (it was actually on my birthday; coincidence…I think not!). I had never heard of Improving Enterprises and although he seemed to be really excited about it, I didn’t pay much attention to what they were about. Over the course of the year, I kept bumping into folks who were working for Improving and was impressed by the caliber of people they had there as well as the work they were doing. So when another friend mentioned them over lunch, I was all over it. This was a company that not only talks the talk but walks the walk when it comes to agile development – something I hadn’t found elsewhere. Granted, as a services company, you cannot always do things your way but they seem to be leading the push to bring these practices and processes to the industry. As a training company, I may also have a chance to hone my public speaking skills and a few other soft skills that I’ve had less chance to work on previously. Hands down, this company met significantly more of my criteria than any other and I’m looking forward to what the future holds
After nearly six years with Alt-N, I have decided to move on. I am grateful for the opportunities that the company provided me and my family and the strong bonds, both personal and professional, that have formed over the course of my employment. This was not an easy decision by any means but my excitement for the future far outweighs my sorrow at the parting. What could have been a difficult time has actually been quite pleasant, partly due to the handling of the departure (a post on that will follow) but mostly due to the fact that they’re such great folks. I wish them all the best and am grateful for the time that God has given us together.