2007-06-15

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I've been doing software development, system engineering and architecture for almost 10 years. I've worked at large companies, small companies and tiny companies. And after leaving Mixxer in February with the intention of going back to school, for the first time in many years I felt a bit lost in terms of "What do I want to do now?". So I spent about 8 weeks traveling, saw family, did some vacationing, and got back feeling refreshed with what I had hoped would be a new perspective on things. I didn't have that though. What I had instead was the desire to go back to work, but no idea about what I wanted to be doing. So I started interviewing with everyone, 19 companies to be exact, doing everything from embedded C & C++ development to Ruby on Rails at companies ranging from fortune 100 to pre-funding startups. During the interview process I have kept busy consulting for small startups; helping with software development, architecture and direction. In doing some consulting it helped me figure out not what I want to do, but the characteristics by which I will be able to identify what I want to do. Characteristics of the right job include:
  • A company that believes they are improving the quality of life for its users
  • Coworkers who are really smart and passionate about the company mission
  • A startup
  • People who get the philosophy behind the technology they are using
  • The hacker ethos is prevalent
  • Decisions are made based on merit, not ego
  • A technical community based on meritocracy, not seniority
After determining that the above list would help me classify the right company for me, my list of companies dropped from 19 to 4. I'm wrapping up interviews with those 4 now, although the way I crumble in my in person interviews it could drop to zero pretty quickly :) In any case, being able to identify what it is exactly about working that you love is crucial to being able to find the right job. Sometimes you don't have a choice, you have responsibilities that drive you towards finding the first available and well paying position. I choose to wait. If you think you fit the environment I described above, and based on my resume I look like a good fit, send me an email.

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