My interview started off well. One of the analysts in my interview had graduated from my high school a couple years ahead of me. It’s a small high school (50-60 in a graduating class). I vaguely remembered the guy, but I did remember that he was on the basketball team. That seemed to make him happy. – who doesn’t like being reminded of their glory days?
I had a plan for the interview, and I had several opportunities to drive home key points such as focus on the customer, teamwork, and the importance of testing. I had prepared my remarks on those topics, and I think I nailed the question about testing with this response:
Testing is important – it’s not simply a box to check off. While the goal of a developer should be to avoid defects, the goal of a tester should be to find defects. If you don’t find any defects during testing, you probably missed some that will impact you in production.
The interview was on a Friday. The manager told me to expect to hear something by Monday or Tuesday.
I didn’t have to wait that long. Later that afternoon, I got the call. I was offered the job on a contract-to-hire basis, meaning there’s a good chance it will turn into a permanent position at the end. The position was initially described as a straight contract position, so contract-to-hire was a nice surprise.
That was almost three weeks ago. I’m writing this on a Thursday, and the new job starts Monday. [Editors Note: That was actually this past Monday as I delayed publishing this a bit.]
Optimally, I would have gotten a permanent position with higher compensation than what I currently have. I didn’t get that. It’s not a permanent position, and the total compensation is slightly lower than my current position. It became obvious pretty quickly that I’m well compensated by my current employer (including a pension), and this would be hard to match in the current environment. However, I do get paid overtime (at least during the six month contract phase of the job), so there’s still an opportunity to match my current compensation that way. Since I won’t be receiving a pension, I’ll be increasing my 401K contribution in an effort to compensate.
Now, the positive aspects of the job. First, it’s one of the premier companies in the area. It wasn’t the very top company on my list, but it was definitely in the top three. The commute is also great – just 15 miles (or about 20 minutes) from my house. I don’t even have to drive into the busier part of the Cedar Rapids metro area to get there. The job itself also seems interesting and challenging.
Overall, the opportunity is as good as I could have hope for. I’m excited to get started – the past three weeks have been passing very slowly.
I’ve been transitioning my current work to a longtime colleague and am in the final stages of wrapping things up. My manager is allowing me to use my accumulated vacation to reach the employment date I need to qualify for severance. It’s 30 weeks of severance, so this is a pretty big deal. Since the contract-to-hire position has no guarantee at the end, the severance money will be tucked into the rainy day fund.[Editor’s Question for Kosmo: Can you (and would you want to) up your 401K allocation at the old job so that a larger portion of your severance goes to your old 401K? Rainy day funds are important, but this is another way to boost retirement.]
My parting from my current job has been amicable. The people who made the decisions about the reorganization were at a higher level. My first and second level managers have been very supportive. I’m trying to remember all the good times over the past two decades, and have made an effort to make sure I’m not burning any bridges. After all, you might need to cross that bridge again in the future.[Editor’s Thoughts: I didn’t want to hijack the story above, but the point about testers finding defects reminded me of one of my favorite stories ever which was published just last week: Jerry and Marge Go Large. It’s a great read about how a couple seemingly legally beat the lottery.]