The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘move’

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?

U.S. Army – Wrecker of Love

The end of sixth grade was coming fast, and with it, a move. This time I’d be going from Leavenworth, Kansas to West Point, New York.
School would finish, I’d go to Arizona to see family on summer break, and then on to NY. Life was going to roll on by pretty quick for a while – but not before an important life event.
My first girlfriend.

At school with about a week of school left I was stopped by a girl.
Would I want to go out with her best friend?!
I did some quick thinking. The obvious answer was: no.
I didn’t want to go out with anybody.
I’d found girls pretty, or at least appealing since I was young. I’d just never wanted to date a girl. Really, I didn’t mind not talking to them. I liked it a lot if they found me funny, and I liked to imagine dating girls – but reality is much harder to control than my imagination, so I stuck with that.
I had no confidence. I was a romantic conspiracy theorist. Why did that girl just smile at me? Oh, it’s a joke! That’s so mean! Any thing that should’ve been perceived as a girl having a crush on me I saw as some attempt for me to lower my guard, only to then be made fun of.
But if this girl wanted to date me until I moved, whatever floats her boat.
Thus began my romantic life!

You’d think – with me ‘going steady’ (that’s just funny to me), that my life would change a lot.
I’d have to sit with the girl at lunch, or nearby her at class, or walk with her in the hallways – but no, none of this happened. Looking back, I probably was supposed to do these things.
I assumed our relationship was just in title, not in deed. So she could say, “yeah, that’s my boyfriend over there … He’s so … Oh … Don’t look at him, he’s trying to figure out how much of his peanut butter sandwich he can fit in his mouth at once. Gross.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t know until then that middle school girls love the telephone.
“Hello … may I ask who’s calling? … Oh! … One second! … BRAD!”
Who would call me? I thought, Why is my mom grinning?
“Hey Brad!”
What? First, who calls me? Second, a girl?!

I came to realize it was the “girlfriend.” And her friend who had asked me out.
I got the cordless and headed to my room. Once I was in my room I was sure a family member (possibly several, led by my mother) would creep up and eavesdrop. Fuel for making fun of me.
I didn’t want to be talking on the phone – it cut into my video game time. Or TV time. Or playing with my dog. Or anything-but-talking-on-the-phone time.

One day the two called and they sang me a song. Yes, they sang to me. At the conclusion of the phone call I applied my best charm to say, “Yeah … well … it stinks about my going to New York, huh?”
“Ya know, New York …”
“You’re going on a trip to New York!!”
“Ha, no! I’m moving … there …”
Uh oh. Had I forgotten …
“… What?”

I had forgotten to tell everyone but my closest friends that I was moving. And my closest friends didn’t include a single female. I hadn’t thought much of it but this was especially bad because we lived off-Post in Kansas so my friends didn’t up and move like clockwork. What a weird concept!

My budding love came to a screeching halt. All blame, of course, goes to the U.S. Army.
How dare you, wrecker of love!

Weekly Wacko (64)

Ya’ll Ok, Sweety?

My family got in the car and left West Point, New York for Savannah, Georgia on January 1, 2000. The day all the computers were supposed to blow everything up.

When we arrived we made our home at the Hunter Army Airfield guest housing. Essentially, a hotel for Military families.

Sometime during that initial period in Georgia I had my first experience  with southern charm (that I could remember – I was born in North Carolina but don’t remember any of it).

Naturally, it occurred in a Waffle House.

To those of you who have never experienced a Waffle House, I’m sorry. They’re not the cleanest restaurants, or the most delicious, or the best-staffed but … you love them all the same.

The waitress came up to our booth and asked around the table to see what we wanted to eat.

One by one the orders were made.

Eventually, I believe I was last to order, she got to me.

“How bout you sweety?”

… Sweety … Really? … I … I mean my family’s here and you’re a lot older and clearly a heavy smoker but … I mean I guess I … Sure I try to be sweet but … I mean for you to realize that just by looking at me … All right, yeah we can go on a date sometime but … Well let’s not call it a date let’s just say we’re “hanging out” and we’ll see … Sweety? … Well, you’re sweet too and …

I was taken aback.

I had never been called a sweety before by a stranger. Possibly only my mom and some other friends of hers had called me a sweety.

But for this stranger to call me sweety! How nice!

There were a number of moments like this where I adjusted to the switch between New York and Georgia. It turns out, the North and South are different in a few ways.


At a diner near our home in New York the guy behind the counter would yell at you to see what you wanted. This my family loved – what’s not to love? Table-side manners are out, yelling is IN. But you know, I think I’m also ok with being called sweety.

Soapbox? Well, world, we’re all not so different, you know? Cultural differences and what-not, but what’s that? That’s something to appreciate! Take it in! Love it! It’s amazing how different we all are. If ever there was a reason to be impressed with mankind it is because of the amazing complexity of the human race. Between one person and the next. Seriously.

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