The past three days have seen me go through four phone interviews of various lengths for a full-time job.
Well let me back up.
Exactly a month to the day before my first phone interview, I applied for a front-end web developer position at a certain company. Last Tuesday, to my utter surprise, I heard back from them, wanting to set up a phone interview the very next day. I’m keeping the “company” part confidential, because the company has been kind of in and out of the tech blogosphere recently and not in a good way… personally I see it as whining over nothing, but I’m sure I’ll share my full thoughts when I get the job (or not.) Until I know for sure I’ll be playing it safe.
Anyways, during January and early February I applied for four other positions at other companies. Part of me was just doing it to try out the process, and get a feel for how it works. Another part thought it was kind of fun; I’ve been perusing tech job boards for about half a year now and looking at certain positions and saying “I can do that!” Until January though, I just left it at that, which caused a bit of psychological frustration. In January I finally said, “Screw it, I’ll apply to jobs I think I’m a good fit for. If I get the job offer fantastic, if not, life will go on.” I didn’t put a ton of stock in securing the jobs I applied for, but I found it very fun to daydream about doing so.
I was turned down almost immediately for three of those other positions. Which was actually fine, it was exciting to be waiting for a response but it was also kind of nerve-wracking, so I’m glad they let me know I wasn’t a good fit right away, even if my ego was damaged a bit. I mean, it’s like in a lawyer show, when the jury comes back after only a day of deliberation, it’s sometimes not a very good sign. Hearing “no” so quickly told me that they didn’t think I had enough skills to even be considered. Of course, I have no psychic insight into any of their processes, so I can’t say for sure. But that’s how I felt after hearing back each time.
I still haven’t heard back from that other job I applied for, which was actually the first one I did. It’s safe to say they probably won’t be contacting me either, over a month and a half later.
Now, this job… If I land it, which I would consider the odds about 70-30 in my favor at the moment, then not only would I be making more money than the other five adults I’m living with, but I’d also be the only one with a salaried job instead of being paid per-hour. The position really isn’t about the money for me, but if you think about that for a second, you realize how big a transition this role for me could be. The sad part is that I don’t even know what they’ll be paying me, I just know it’ll be more than the others.
Now, let me interject my spiritual thoughts on the subject. I said I didn’t put much stock into getting any of the jobs I applied for, but that isn’t exactly true for the third one I got a “no” from. That job was a junior web designer/developer position, and from the description, requirements, and even title, I thought I was a perfect fit. So I became a little disheartened when I heard back from them. But I know now that was a moment of weakness. Not only was I not trusting God to provide what’s best for me, but I was also arrogant in thinking I deserved that position intrinsically. Getting these phone interviews and possibly securing this new job, it’s obvious to me this was a lesson in patience and trusting in God’s plan for my life.
Even if things don’t work out the way we think they should, something else is always around the corner.
Finally, I’m actually being interviewed for two separate positions, which I think increases my chances pretty well. The original one I applied for is “Front End Developer” for the over-company and its internal applications, the other is for one of its subsidiaries and their public-facing website as a “UI Engineer”. The two positions are similar, but one is more web app-focused, and the other is more media focused. I’m leaving it up to them to choose what they think best suits my skill level, but if I had to choose… I don’t know. My most recent phone interview was for the subsidiary job, and it went really well, so I have that and everything the interviewer said on my mind. But skill-wise, I think I would be more suited to the web app role. Well, whatever happens I’m sure it will be for the best.
The subsidiary position is based in Santa Monica, California, and with the over-company position I have a choice of either Santa Monica or Austin, Texas. Most likely, it’s going to be Santa Monica, despite the cost of living in California being exponentially higher. It may be a dumb decision in the long term (it will mean I’ll probably be making and saving less on the whole, since it’s so much cheaper to live in Texas), but if I can’t make dumb decisions now, what’s the point? I’m still pretty young. Better to make this leap of faith now and reap the rewards and drawbacks than looking back and saying “man, I really should have lived it up when I was younger.” The path of least regrets, I’ll call it.
Besides that, Santa Monica is exactly the part of CA I’ve been thinking of moving to for the last six months, mostly in part to Google’s Photos team being based there. I love their work on Picasa and Picasa Web Albums, which I use heavily, and even hoped to work there this year. I don’t have such delusions of grandeur at the moment, but who knows how things will work out? I’m very excited at the prospect of meeting Brian Rose, Product Manager of the Photos team, whom I’ve been chatting with a bit since I got my camera last summer as well. And of course, California is the heart and soul of the tech, web, and startup worlds, all of which I follow with increasingly motivated fervor. (It also must be said, all reports are that Santa Monica is beautiful, with great weather, and a beach within walking distance.) There’s a reason it costs so much to live there.
What happens next? I have another phone interview on Tuesday, although at this point it seems to me the interviews are more about finding a place for me and gauging my skills than actively seeking to cull me from the ranks of potential recruits. I could be wrong, though. If this interview goes well, they’ve made mention of flying me out there to be interviewed in person by their engineers. I have absolutely no concept of the timetable of when I could be offered the job, it could be a week after the in-person interviews, it could be a month… Who knows? I’m excited at least. I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself like I did with that last job I talked about, but it’s hard not to be when you’re talking to great people who are on your wavelength, who are impressed with what you’re doing, and who laugh with you at your lame geeky jokes.
More than anything, it’s nice to have some validation that I wasn’t wasting my time these past six years learning all this stuff on my own time, despite what some people may have said.
De novo… “Beginning again.” It’s hard to imagine my life getting reset harder than if I get this job. New place, no school, living alone instead of with eight other people, on the entire other end of the country… I’ve never been more scared and excited in my life.