Thoughts

So long, and thanks for all the lattes

On Monday I resigned from IBM after 9.5 years there. The process of looking for a new job has been a fairly long, and interesting one. Of course the hardest part was making the decision to leave. Well I say hard, in the end  I guess I felt IBM made it pretty easy for me. However 9 years is a long time to get comfortable somewhere, and it takes some real energy to start seriously looking around.

The first stage for me was writing up my CV and thinking about how to frame my experience in a way that made sense to the world at large. One of my biggest fears was that I have become specialised in a an area (Test Architect) that only IBM considers a career path. Would anyone else care? It's certainly true that in looking I found plenty of jobs that sounded like they wanted the earth from a testing background, but were paying less than I was already getting at IBM. However the more I looked, and the more I considered how much development I've done on internal infrastructure, the more I saw opportunities abound that I knew I could do.

Once I had a cv, tailored for the kinds of jobs I was interested in, I put it out there, and set the adventure in motion.

I did apply specifically for a couple of roles, but largely simply having my cv registered with a couple of websites, and being active seemed to draw the attentions of recruiters who started to call me with opportunities. I quickly discovered that most recruiters have no idea what they're talking about with developers, most notably a company that wants embedded c++/asembler skills, is unlikely to be interested in a primarily Java cv. But I guess mostly they see 'coder cv'=='coder job' with no real differentiation. I also found they always want to talk to you, when an e-mail with some specific details is what I really wanted as first contact. It's a waste of everyones time to 'bury the lead' of the salary. Talking about an opportunity with no reference for the kind of salary is pointless. Yes for the right job money may be less important, but there are limits, and there were a couple which could easily be disregarded instantly.

I interviewed for some jobs which I knew I wouldn't take even if offered, and at least one that could of been good, but fell through in the early stages when the job vacancy was withdrawn after 'bad quarter results'

Ultimately I have found a job which seems perfect. It ticks all the boxes I was looking for in a new company to work for, whilst also wanting me for my specific experience and skill set, not just a loose interpretation that I am able to write code.

So after 5 hours of interviews, 2 on line tests (personality profile+general intelligence) and a 1 day programming test (which I really enjoyed... a whole day to just code with no disruptions!). All just for one job... I finally signed my new contract, and subsequently handed in my resignation to IBM.

I still have 4 weeks to work out my notice, and in that time I will no doubt reflect upon the almost 1 decade I've spent walking the corridors, and drinking the lattes. I think if I got anywhere close to counting the number of coffees consumed, and the price paid in that time I would not like the figure I arrive at. I'm guessing 'a lot' and in the time I have worked there the cost has pretty much doubled in price. I recall as an IT building a structure from coffee stirrers and bluetac, that got pretty big and that was just 1 year (which if I count my IT year makes total time 10.5 years working for big Blue)

I will of course miss the people I've worked with, and the general location of the lab which has been great. But I always said when I joined that I thought I'd get some experience, then go earn the big bucks in London for a while, and maybe retire back to the calmness of Hursley later. It's taken a few more years than my younger self imagined, but it was always the plan.

The biggest initial impact will be the commute time, a drive to Hursley is about 25 mins of a busy morning. A train to Wimbledon is going to be about 2 hours travel for me, each way. If anyone has good tips on being a commuter, I'd love to hear them. My current plan is to load up with podcasts for the trip, so any recommendations for those would also be useful.

4 weeks to go.