I turned thirty-one yesterday, which means it’s been a year since I left Sun Microsystems (SUNWJAVA) for my current job. A lot of things happened, good and bad, expected and unexpected. Things started changing pretty quickly last September, and it hasn’t stopped yet (of course it never really does, but some of these were a bit bigger than I was used to).
I’m starting with work because it was the most immediate change, starting the day after turning thirty. Besides working somewhere new I also went from a work-from-home 7:00am to 3:00pm job to a more standard 9-to-5 office setting. It’s still casual (which is good because so am I) and fairly flexible. The people are great, which is very important. Working in an office is quite a change. Firstly, I now need to shower before work instead of just before lunch. Also, with my vision is so poor I’m distracted by things out of the corner of my eye (which are all just different colored blurs). I’m pretty sure this is a hold over from getting the dodge ball in the side of the head because I couldn’t see it coming.
The work is interesting and often enjoyable. I hadn’t used Visual Studio since the mid 90s, so that was a change. I’d never touched C# or .NET before. The target browser was the polar opposite of everything I’d done to date. Once I got my head around ASP.NET I got the hang of things pretty fast (although I still have a tendency to code to the standard, then work around the browser bugs). I’m happy I made the jump, and I have no regrets (other than wishing I had been laid off from Sun).
I’m looking forward to the coming year. I’m working on some good projects and I’m excited about some of the new directions things are going in. My contributions seem well received and appreciated. My desk feels like my desk, and I look forward to seeing the people I work with. Not bad at all.
A few weeks ago it was pointed out to me that Sun open sourced Availability Suite. AVS (under all it’s many names) is something I had a love/hate relationship with at Sun. I worked on QA for it off an on for most of my time with the company. At one point I was put on a small team tasked with creating automated test suites for it, something most of the QA team and some of the developers felt was an impossible goal.
The small team got smaller, but in the end we exceeded all goals that were set before us. After the first six months I was told by my then boss that I had wasted everyones time and cost the company a disgusting amount of money in doing so. The team was disbanded an work on the tests stopped, although the existing tests were still used for at least the next five years. There were some people with a vested interest in the effort failing, and they did their best to make the tests appear worthless. My last few years at the company this attitude started to change (in no small part to my good friend Paul’s insistence on using facts rather than opinion to decide value). As a result I was pulled back a number of times to add new tests and make changes as the product interfaces changed (some beyond recognition). When I left the tests were running nightly on numerous platforms across multiple versions of the product. Not everything I wanted to do with the tests was done, but I had to go.
Anyway, it felt good to be thanked by Jim Dunham in a recent blog post. I know Jim appreciated the work I did, and I always appreciated him being one of the very few people to take the time to push past the rumors and innuendo and actually look at what was there.
Enough about the past. I’m excited to see the path AVS is on now, and wish everyone involved the best of luck.
Friday was my last day at Sun Microsystems. I had a very hard time walking out the door at the end of the day. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but I think I’ve figured it out. I worked for Sun for eight years. I’ve been working with a lot of the same folks there for a good part of that time. I really liked working for Sun.
So why leave? I don’t want to get into the exact details. The place changed a lot recently, and so did my job. I found myself working for someone who didn’t know me at all, and had no interest in that changing. I wasn’t even a person I was Jay Penney and the Interns (yes, great band name). That pretty much decided it for me. This does, of course, show that the interns had it worse than me, but at least they were doing the job they were hired for (sort of)
I wasn’t concerned about finding another job. I’ve had offers before. More than once I’ve had people I worked with in the past call and try and hire me away. This time I went looking. I found something much more in line with what I want to do, with what seems like a great group of people.
The last few weeks have been hard. I have a terminal case of nice-guy-itis. Even thought I really didn’t know how to do the job they shoved me into, I worked damn hard to ensure things were in the best shape possible before leaving. I even pulled a few 11-12 hour days. A lot of my friends said, “screw em,” but I couldn’t. Not because I’m a pushover. I don’t let people walk all over me. Good people would have had to bear the brunt of it, and I couldn’t leave things like that. The best thing about that time was working with Matt (one of the interns). Matt had been there for a while, but we didn’t interact much. Since I was given the Paul’s job (Paul was our boss, and one of my best friends), I ended up getting to know him a lot better. Great guy.
So anyway, tomorrow I turn thirty and Tuesday I’ll start my new job. Changes are afoot and I’m pretty excited.