July 21, 2011 by 8junebugs
I set myself up. It would either be the best week ever or completely deflate me. Either way, I was saving Friday, July 8, for celebrating or hibernating.
At first, it was just me and my thesis advisor talking about when I should expect to defend based on this draft and that draft and the “requirement” of two weeks for readers to digest the file and come up swinging. “Oh, by mid-July,” she said. She thought that was reasonable and we both thought I was ready to be done.
“My birthday’s July 8,” I said. “I’d rather not defend that day, but how about July 7?”
“Oh, that’s perfect!” she said (she’s very sweet and likable). “If you make those small changes and get the file back to us by Thursday, we can make that happen.”
Instead, we backed the deadline up a day and scheduled it for Wednesday, July 6. It went smashingly. All that remains is a minor round of manuscript clean-up and a bit of paperwork…including my application for graduation. D. O. N. E.
Meanwhile, back in CareerLand, a couple of opportunities converged all at once. I’d been sought out by a recruiter for a new web writing contract-to-hire with a great software company I’d actually heard of — out here, there’s a solid 75% chance you won’t have heard of any given software company — but things were on hold. Early this month, the hold lifted and things moved forward. Phone screens, copy test, interviews…all of which went quickly and well.
I started Monday.
It is awesome on all sides: Great people, interesting work that requires me to perform well and learn quickly, and an environment evocative of everything you’ve heard about Silicon Valley software companies (espresso in the kitchen, casual attire, etc.).
Except we’re not in Silicon Valley — we’re in the one location that could have made me think, “Right, still my favorite city in the world.”
This is right across the street (that’s the corner of the office building, down there on the right):
If you haven’t been out here, that’s the Ferry Building, full of markets and eateries and COWGIRL CREAMERY. Behind it is Treasure Island. If you squint, you can imagine my Oakland apartment building behind the Bay Bridge tower on the right edge of the photo. (Which is neat, as the new east section of the Bay Bridge was designed with this company’s software.) Instead of spending an hour on a packed freeway and paying bridge tolls, I take a quick walk to BART, spend about three iPod songs on the train (give or take), then skip across Spear Street.
And then I grab a giant Americano with milk and sugar from the office kitchen.
Y’all, this was exactly the kind of opportunity I was hoping to find. It’s a six-month lease with an option to buy, so to speak, and I’m about three meetings away from feeling completely at home. (Seriously. Great people. Fun work. Fast pace. Measurable results.)
Tonight, I’m shopping for cute, comfy sandals than can take a beating. My (move-reduced) shoe collection is reflective of my old GW Parkway + Dulles Toll Road commute. I wore socks and loafers today and just felt WRONG.
I turned 34 on the 8th. After defending my thesis and getting a new job for at least six months, managing to survive another pass around the sun seemed…anticlimactic. We spent the afternoon at the beach, where Rodney did get tired and drenched but did not, in contrast to the last coastal outing, get beach diarrhea. That night, there were cocktails. We totes know how to party, am I right?
A bit before the full-time gig appeared as if from nowhere, a company back in Virginia sought me out on a recommendation for some freelance web writing. Their projects are of varying size — I’m hoping I’ll still be able to take on smaller ones in my off hours, as I have in the past, because it’s good work and, again, good people. (This is why you should all work in web content, design, and development. You can’t beat this kind of drive and creativity.)
In the long run the local, full-time work had to win the bulk of my attention. As much as I love consulting, I’m settling into a new place with a career direction that’s more defined than it was in DC/VA…and only one of us is working full time right now.
Keeping Rodney in kibble is a priority that cannot be ignored.
The week of my birthday sort of capped my Virginia obligations and opened the door to the California future I came out here to explore. I owe a debt of gratitude to all y’all who thought I could pull this off. Apparently, I wasn’t fully convinced…just, you know…cocky. Thank you for believing in me in spite of myself.