new job!history

March 18, 2010

I just accepted a new job with Pearson Education, a kind of pseudo-startup in an incubator program they're running.

Weirdly I had two offers at around the same time... the other was for a company called Media Friends Inc. They have some awesome products and I may be missing out on a big stock payday by not going with them, but ultimately it wasn't the techie lifestyle I wanted. (They liked my history in diverse tech environments, and my first job there would have been in the language "Lua" (which I've never used) porting their SMS-based tv-channel chatroom app for a new bigname client.)

It is surprisingly stressful to have two awesome sounding job offers at once. In some ways, it is probably more stressful than (a short or medium length time of) having NO job offers; you have a binary decision to make, and it will affect your quality of life in ways you can't triangulate now.

I made a big list of pros and cons and polled friends and sweated it and at one point even just about went all the way down the other path. But ultimately, Pearson brings me to 4 places I want to be: I'm grateful to Lincoln Peak, the company I'll be leaving on fairly good terms, and I wish well for them - but this year taught me, I don't like the lifestyle of consulting. It's too much uprooting, and on some projects, serving two masters, where there can be a bit of a zero sum game on the client/consulting company relationship. You're troubles aren't their troubles, you're just expected to have expertise in everything. (And having to learn everything new every few months... that's one of the things that kept me away from Media Friends, where they were looking for a guy who they can throw at anything. I can do that kind of work, but it stresses me the hell out, and ultimately I prefer to make cool things in known technologies than have to create in new environments.)

This will be my ninth job since graduating in 1996, which is kind of a lot... I got to thinking about where I'd been, and why I left...
companyhow foundhow long therewhy left
IDDpersonally recruited 2.5 yearspersonal growth
Banta IMsent resume 2.5 yearspersonal growth
Event Zeropersonally recruited 1 yearlayoff
Galepersonally recruited 1 yearlayoff
Taxwareheadhunter 3.5 yearspersonal growth
Refreshpersonally recruited 1 yearlayoff
Enpocket/Nokiaheadhunter2 yearslayoff
Lincon Peakpersonally recruited 1 yearpersonal growth
Pearsonpersonally recruited .......
So half the time I leave because of my personal professional development, and the other half I'm laid off - though on a few of the times I leave on my own, the company is not the same one I joined, by a long shot. (Leaving Banta and Taxware are the main ones that felt like seeking greener pastures.)

UPDATE: I miscounted, I was at Taxware 3.5 years, not 2.5, which puts a slightly different spin on some things -- I think I do like putting roots down (though come to think of it, I had been searching off and on during my stay at Taxware, which wasn't a super exciting business domain, and a grinding commute to Salem.)

And I guess the numbers bear out the idea that networking is better than headhunters for finding jobs, though that's tempered by how hit and miss it is - headhunters are generally reliable at finding SOMEthing, even in rough times. There were 6 personally recruited jobs, but only 2 of those were after layoffs, when I was proactively looking. (I'm not counting IDD... though the personal recruitment from there is what made me pick them with 7 other offers on the table, I kind of overdid it after college, and had a kick ass resume for someone my age.)

Sometimes I wish I had kept closer track of where all I applied over the years, though that might depress me a bit -- especially during the Taxware years, I had a number of unsuccessful interviews. I guess overall that would bring the hit ratio for headhunters way, way down, I've only had a few attempts at personal recruitment that didn't payoff.

(But I'm proud to note that both of the companies I worked at as a consultant in the past year made implicit or explicit suggestions that they would be happy to try and get me a fulltime gig there.)

Now, to deal with this endless stream of random search-engine-using recruiters trying to get me to go to Virginia and California and what not...
a. All babies are illogical
b. Nobody is despised who can manage a crocodile
c. Illogical persons are dispised
So: babies can't manage crocodiles
--Lewis Carroll via Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up". See for more