There Is No Cat

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New job

The past few days have flown by at a dizzying pace. I'd been looking forward to moving on to the next phase. I just didn't know it would happen so quickly.

Last Friday marked eight weeks since I was laid off from my previous job. The job search was active, certainly much more so than when I was out of work in 2002 and 2003, and I had a number of interviews, but nothing was coming through.

That changed.

Friday morning at 11, I had an interview for a Front End Web Developer position at Magnani Caruso Dutton, a medium-sized creative agency in Manhattan. They've been around for several years. One of the recruiters I was working with told me in the course of prepping me for the interview that their interviews often went quickly and that I shouldn't be alarmed if it was over in a half hour. And so it was; by 11:30 I was back on the street and headed for home.

I hadn't even made it on to the train before I got the call. I was sitting in Penn Station when my cell phone rang. It was the recruiter with some good news; they had made an offer. That totally floored me; for one thing, I had been told that they had a couple of other candidates to talk to. I guess I made a good impression. :-) Also, I gathered that they had the impression that I had some other things going on, which was true, although they were things I wasn't truly interested in (for example, if the publishing company I interviewed at a couple of weeks earlier had called with an offer, I would have been presented with a difficult decision, as the job was with some very impressive people working in a way I like to work, but the corporate culture was one I didn't consider a good fit). Maybe they felt they had to strike while the iron was hot. And so they did; I got that phone call 45 minutes after the interview ended. I didn't want to discuss money and stuff while I was sitting in a train station, so we waited until I got home, but I think it took all of 60 seconds once I got the details to accept the offer. I was positively giddy on the train home.

The position is what they call freelance for now. Where I come from, it would be called a contract position. To me, freelance is where you work on various projects with unstable hours and pay your own taxes. Contract is where you work through a contract house and they take care of the taxes and stuff and send you a W2 at the end of the year. But as long as the money is green, I'll call it whatever they want. As another indication of how quickly they make decisions and things change, I started there on Monday. There's a possibility the job may become permanent/direct at some point, but it's not clear to me after two days when that might happen.

One of my biggest frustrations in my old job (the web part, not the running payroll part) was the tendency marketing and communications had to go to outside agencies for much of the fun stuff, leaving mostly the drudge work for us. We got a few bones, but most of the stuff you could sink your teeth into went elsewhere. I've largely been aiming my job search at small companies, and in particular at creative agencies and startups. So I got exactly what I was looking for, and now I'll be on the side that gets to do the fun stuff.

The other really good aspect of this new job as opposed to the old one is that they seemed to be particularly interested in my knowledge of web standards, semantic markup, and CSS (plus DOM-based Javascripting and Ajax). Those things don't seem to be on the radar at all in New Jersey, where most web development is firmly mired in 1997, but in New York City, they're becoming almost essential and appear to be in demand at the moment. Not everyone, not even most places, but enough places that there's finally a market for my approach to building sites. Finally, all those years in the wilderness trying to spread the good word are paying off. You're not going to find many people out there who have been using that approach for as long as I have. I was determined that on my next job, I would be able to take advantage of all the stuff I've learned over the years and wouldn't be trapped in the muck of table-infested legacy code. It appears that I've succeeded.

The one sad part about this is that I'm not sure how much time I'll have available for blogging and other hobbies in the future. The one good thing about my old job, the one thing that kept me there for so long, was that they were local at first, and then when they moved out of the area, they let me work from home. So work only consumed the hours between 9 and 5, which left me time for the stuff that kept me sane. Now that I'm working in the city, the commute alone has largely wiped out what used to be my leisure time.


Posted at 1:48 AM


Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

Leisure time? What's that? Life is eating, sleeping, commuting, working, and eating again. Then sleeping.

Good luck on the new job.

Posted by lilbro at 8:52 AM, December 19, 2007 [Link]

congrats! commuting will be a great time to use the ipod. you do have an ipod, right? :-)

Posted by shirley at 11:05 AM, December 19, 2007 [Link]

If you are going mostly public transit, I can highly recommend reading big books and writing, either on paper or laptop. (Or whatever non-net-enabled things are amusing on a laptop. Playing with photos, perhaps?) Otherwise, I got nothing. :)

Oh, hey, if you can do it w/out being assaulted by overzealous idiots, I bet you could get some great photos while commuting.

Posted by Elaine at 2:17 PM, December 19, 2007 [Link]

Thanks, everyone. I'm taking the train into the city, so yes, it's on mass transit, then hoofing it the seven blocks to the office from Penn Station. I've been bringing the iPod every day. I subscribe to a number of podcasts, and had fallen way behind on listening to them, so I'm finding the train ride to be a great time to catch up on them. The train ride is about 65-70 minutes long if they're on time, and most of the podcasts I have seem to be about 60-65 minutes long, so it works well.

I don't feel like lugging a laptop to work with me, not yet, but the commute sure makes an iPhone look appealing. Maybe once they get the 3G version out the door.

Posted by ralph at 5:40 AM, December 20, 2007 [Link]


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What do you mean there is no cat?

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