So here the previously written blog posts are done. Once the interviews were over, I had too much to think about to be doing much blogging. I’ll try to pick up where I left off, but now that I have the job, there’s obviously some confidentially issues to respect.
The flight to and from Seattle were uneventful, although I did accept a bump to another flight in exchange for a free ticket anywhere in the U.S. My plan was to use that ticket to take Nicole with me out West — if I got the job.
It was not an easy trip. Due to the bump, I arrived fairly late at night, and got stuck with the only car the rental agency had left: a hot pink PT Cruiser with a remarkably feminine interior. With the three hour time change, I was too tired to care. I found my hotel, checked-in, drove to the campus to make sure I could find it, then picked up some breakfast food for the morning.
The hotel room was one of the nicest I’ve been in. I figure I was there for about 6 hours — most of which were sleeping. I was up on time the next morning, did my stretches, and was at the campus a whole half an hour early. Then I realised I had to pee — bad. Not wanting their first impression of me being “Hiwhere’sthebathroom?!” I decided to use my extra half an hour to find a coffee shop. And I got lost…
By the time I found my way back to the campus, I was half an hour late, and had missed my first interview. Not a good start! Fortunately, the other 6 — yes, six — interviews went well. I met some interesting people, not a one of them was difficult to talk to. Some interviews were challenging, some were much more casual (some seemed casual, but were actually very challenging!) By the last interview I was pretty exhausted, but happy with how the rest of the day had gone.
When I left the building where I’d spent most of my day, it was 5:30pm their time — which felt like 8:30pm to me. I got in my hot pink car and drove to downtown Seattle to see the sights. I walked through Pike Place Market, got a Starbucks and visited the original Starbucks location, and drove and looked at the Space Needle (which is dwarfed by the CN Tower, sorry Seattle.) Then it was back to the airport for a red-eye home to be at work the next morning!
What they rarely tell you, but you figure out after a few anyway, is that job interviews should be as much about you checking out the potential employer as it is about them checking out you. Obviously MS is thorough in their hiring process, and you want to present yourself well, but you can’t just be there to try to get the job — you also have to determine if the job is right for you. When I left, it was with some assurance of both.
What happened over the next month was in fits and starts. There was proceeding with the hiring process, proceeding with the offer process, dealing with cross-border issues, the verbal offer, the soft acceptance, the written offer, the official acceptance, resigning my current post, and wrestling with the counter offer — a new step for me. Had that all happened in a week it would have been exciting. Instead those steps happened with a fair bit of time between each one, lasting almost the whole month of September. When people asked me if I got the job, the best I could say was “it looks like things are going that way!”
But, as usual, God’s timing was best and I was able to get to a point with my current employer where my departure mid-project will hopefully still leave them positioned for success. We drove to Albany last weekend to say good bye and honor some of my co-workers who have taught me a lot. I had hoped it would be a mutually respectful visit, but a few people outside my normal sphere of interaction were unable to see it that way. That hurt a bit, and it was another grueling trip, with the kids in tow, but I felt it was the right thing to do, and I’m glad we went.
This week has been my last, and its been spent very thoroughly in meetings, demos, pair programming sessions, presentations, and tutorials handing-off 3.5+ years of work to others — smart guys from Wisconsin to India. If I ever think I’ll miss the engineering part of my career, I’ll only need to think back to how tiring this week has been! It’s been a little humbling as well, to review code I wrote 3 years ago, that I thought at the time was brilliant, and realise how much I needed to learn then — and still need to learn!
Fortunately, I won’t be short of things to learn at my new job. And I’ll get to go new and interesting places to do it — something I rarely got to do when I was strapped to a desk. In November I’ll probably be going to the Professional Developer’s Conference in Los Angeles… Los Angeles!
The bottom line of all of this is that this new job offers a whole new world to grow in. In general, there seems to be a lot of confidence from others that I have the skills necessary to get started, and that’s reassuring. But this is the beginning of a new career direction, and I know I have a lot to learn.
But I want to. And I can’t wait to get started…