One Year Later

I don’t have anything insightful or entertaining, but since my resume links to this blog I felt that an update post was prudent.

The job search following my career restart post-Nerdvana was rough. I submitted over 800 applications, which led to about a dozen phone screens and a couple of in-person interviews. We had decided that Philadelphia was the city in which we wanted to make our comeback, but it wasn’t until I started listing my location as Philadelphia that I started getting solid bites. My plan was to rent an Airbnb for two weeks out of every month so that I could honestly say that I was a local candidate, but by the end of the first two-week stay I already had a job offer.

I was picked up as a contract Data Analyst by a F100 telecom. I’ll leave their name out here for purposes of searchability, but my LinkedIn profile is linked here so you can figure it out quickly if you’re of a mind to do so. Several friends who have worked in tech warned me that a behemoth telecom would likely be a shock after the unconstrained productivity of self-employment, and they were right!

Still, I liked my team, they liked me, my work got great reviews, and I replaced the output of multiple contractors who’d preceded me. What was going to be a three-month contract-to-hire became a “someday” contract-to-hire because of COVID hiring freezes.

I lived in an Airbnb, then a Sonder apartment, finally renting a real apartment and living in it with a desk and a folding mattress until my wife and all our belongings came to join me in May 2020. Have you ever been in a studio apartment with no toilet paper and 3500 calories to your name on the first day of a lockdown panic in a major city? Have you ever flown cross-country with an elderly three-legged cat during a pandemic? I can’t really recommend either of these things.

I’d typed a long description of what happened and why I decided to leave this excellent job, but the short version is that my output was prolific and reviewed as excellent, but much of it became speculative after the fact for business reasons. Not being able to have much impact on the organization’s work left me deeply unhappy. I told my managers that I wasn’t going to take the conversion offer after all, but would work hard buttoning up and documenting my work until we reached an easy transition point, which ended up being January 15th, after more than a month’s notice. They showered me with kind messages and gift cards on my way out.

I left a good job with good people. Someone who can do good work that might not always be used will get that job, be great at it, and have a long future with the company. I left on excellent terms and I can’t wait to see my friends from that company in meatspace once the pandemic has lifted.

It’s not lost on me that I moved to a higher-cost-of-living city in the midst of pandemic and civil unrest to stay in my apartment and never meet my coworkers, but I have no regrets. We acted on the best information we had at the time, Philadelphia is where we wanted to be from the start, and we know that the things we loved about being here pre-pandemic will still be here post-pandemic.

The second job search is going much better having proven my work with excellent references from an excellent company. I’m getting multiple calls most days, and though the processes are moving slowly at the start of the year, I have enough promising irons in the fire that I need a spreadsheet to keep them all straight. We continue to be blessed with the fruits of my successful work in the business I sold last year, so we’re not worried about our immediate financial future at all and can afford to look for truly great opportunities.

Speaking of the store, I’m told that it’s still doing well, having been carried through the worst of the crisis by a combination of the hybrid business model I built and the small business relief measures. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. I’m positive that the new owner is not doing everything the way that I would do it, but that’s okay. Our businesses become an extension of our own character, and I like to think that I laid an excellent foundation for his work to make the enterprise his own.

What does it mean for the future of this blog? I still have some game store content rolling around in my head, but much of that has been obviated by the amount of time since I was relevant in that industry and the changes that 2020 brought to it. There’s some Data Science stuff I’d love to talk about, given the time and energy available after my job hunting and professional development. I think ultimately that I have to land on being unapologetically sparse with content here and leaving the archive up for the people just entering or still in the game industry.

If you’ve got data work (or work relating to information security, a long-time hobby of mine) then I can be found in the usual place.