The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Corporate Dating

Over the last few months I was busy with an awful, depressing, nerve-wracking, wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy hobby … a job search. My wife and I had decided that we would like to live someplace new, and I decided a new company would make sense to go with that.

I started with overseas applications. Because you know the cheapest way to see a whole lot of places I’ve never seen before but would love to see? Live in Europe! Ta-da!

In the end the new home is in Colorado, a not too shabby place to live. Elevation, four seasons, mountains in the distance, hiking, camping, granola people who I will enjoy laughing at while probably taking on some of their characteristics (“You mean you don’t make your own cereal? Dude … why?”).

I’m a software engineer, and so the job hunt first involved trying to re-acquaint myself with the fundamentals of computer science – data structures and algorithms. Oh, those two items. Normally I like to read quite a few books over the course of the year – this year I read hardly any because my brain felt overly taxed.

As an FYI: For most companies I talked to it usually went like this: HR phone call, technical phone screen (where you write code on a website that is basically like a shared piece of paper – so both parties see what the other is doing), and then a long day of in-person interviews (5+ interviews with different people, mostly technical in content).

If you’re reading this and you think, “hey I’d like to hear about how you approached the preparation and the search, and now that it’s done how would you have done things differently?” … then have no fear, I can write about that. But, since that’d probably be dull for most folks, here are some highs and lows of the search:

  • High: Landing a new job that looks good, looks like I should be able to learn and grow as a developer, and is in a location that seems good too
  • Low: During a technical phone screen the guy, I swear, took a few second break from the phone to grab a snack, meanwhile I had been thinking out loud (as you are suggested to do) and the guy came back, glanced at my code, and said, “uh … I don’t really know what you’re doing here” (it’s worth mentioning that I only sorta knew what I was doing)
  • High: Interviewing with a US company’s London office! Holy smokes was it ever cool to have a chat with Harry (no joke) who was “keen” (no joke) about … I don’t know, other classic British things … I wanted to say “wicked!” to almost everything he said
  • Low: Possibly breaking gmail with how frequently I checked my emails

I told my wife that the job application process is like dating. You send off a message and think, “we seem like a good match! We’ve got like, ALL the same interests!” and then if you hear back you’re excited and set up a phone call. Then the call happens and after it’s over you think, “what!? why did I talk so much about my ex! What is WRONG with me!!!!” Or some dramatic thoughts like that. It’s weird.

And, to complete the dating analogy, leaving my current company feels like breaking up. I really like it here, I like the people, the project … it’s all good stuff. But sometimes new adventure beckons, and so you say goodbye to a good thing and go looking for something that hopefully is a good thing, and then some.

Wish us luck, eh folks?

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