The Jump That Sets the Tone

Apr 22, 2011

I have always wanted to move to a bigger city since I got my first tech job the summer between my JR and Senior years of High School installing new computers around school campus. It's something about the tall buildings, the amount of people, the environment, large offerings of things to do and constant flow of traffic everywhere that calls me in.

After my senior year started, it was time to start looking for another job. I knew of a couple of web development companies in town. I approached both companies looking for a paid internship while I was going to school. First job I was told I could do site submission for search engines. I may have been young at the time, but not unexperienced to know better. So I moved on to the next company, iThink. They were very interested and I would be helping break up websites and doing some coding. The boss that hired me I have worked with for at 3 jobs over almost 6 years. Worked with two other developers that really helped me get a grasp of how something worked rather than just focusing on the end result.

A little before I switched from working at iThinc to working at Digimedia, I had the urge for something bigger and more challenging. Digimedia started with providing for that urge. Then it moved away. That fix was always in sight, just never again in reach. Part of it was my fault for not taking charge, or other blocks in the way. When I was given the chance to help start the web devision of Crane Advertising, I knew it would help bring me to getting to something that will challenge me the way I was looking for. Not long after starting the job, it started trying to move me in a new direction, away from what I loved doing. I was not interested in dealing with client relations to the extent I was being asked. I just wanted to code. So I knew it was time to start looking else where.

This is where the problems really started. Was I ready to move on? How do I write a resume? Can I move away from my family, friends and co-workers that I have worked with so long? Could I pass an interview? I have no college education, so they will just look over me. Maybe I don't have enough years of experience. Was I as good as people told me, or how I thought of myself?

With those questions and concerns swirling, it kept the idea of looking far from my mind. Then came my first SXSW. Being in the great city of Austin really sparked my interest in the city, but I didn't really see much of it that year. The idea of job hunting came closer, but I wasn't ready. Still had lots to learn from a fellow developer, James Fleeting, and had lots to teach him. Would have to give up bouncing ideas off him, working on side projects together and losing a friend that had almost all the same interests. Even if he does give me a lot of hell.

Then came my second year of SXSW. By this point I had lost the love I had with what I did for a second time. Became lifeless in my job. Almost aggressive. Being in Austin again I knew better on how to get around, where to go and what not to do. I saw more of the city and just fell in love with it. The panels I saw this year where bringing the spark back. Was starting to get the drive to grow as a coder again. When I returned to work, I wasn't pumped to code again, but to start the hunt. I started simple by making my CV on searchable by recruiters. Then came the hard part of telling my close co-workers/friends. I knew they would support me. That I needed to do what was best for me.

Once James knew I was ready, he took the initiative to push me. Helped me write my resume and submit to employers. I pretty much made the wireframe for my resume and he did the rest. About the same time my boss caught wind that I was looking and gave me a time limit to find a job to allow him to work around me leaving and find my replacement. When I started the search I had two hopes in mind: the job be in Austin and not work for clients. Not long after I received the time limit I got a call from a recruiter. Not only was the job in Austin, but it was doing internal development for a company. Sure the job is contract, but it's a huge move in the right direction.

I believe everything happened when it needed to. It's still really hard leaving everyone behind. Family, old friends, new friends and co-workers. Things may not be the same, but I'm not losing anyone. The internet can keep everyone connected. Will be my first time living on my own, but will be a good experience. I think this jump will be the steepest part of the hill. Sets everything else in motion.