Thursday, May 17, 2007 Career Questionnaire

Over at Andrew's doing a "Career Questionnaire", so I thought I'd throw my two cents in:

Worst Boss

Two of my children were born during my time at one company, and both times I had to send out my own email because my boss "dropped the ball".  Not sure that makes him the worst, but it was pretty lame.  I suppose the worst was the manager who used to come into my office and fish the Coke cans out of my trash.  One day I asked him, "Oh, is that like for a boy scout fund raiser or something?" and he said, "No, just mad money for me to buy toys."  The guy who decides how much of a raise I should get is digging for nickels in my garbage?  Eeesh.

Best Boss

I liked David.  He was as close to a business mentor as I've ever gotten.  He always had the right mix of "I'm your friend and I can hang out with you after work" and "I'll give you a long leash to work on what makes you happy", coupled with an ability to say "If you screw up I'm going to tear you a new one" while not making you feel personally humiliated.  Does that make sense?  I could drink a beer with the guy, get yelled at in a meeting, and then drink a beer with him the next day, no hard feelings.  Separating work life from personal life was a very important lesson.

Most Innovative Colleague

Some of the engineers at my last job were brilliant coders.  A couple of them left you with no doubt that if necessary, they could code the entire product themselves.  In a weekend.  And still take a break to play frisbee.

Most Rewarding Task

My first job out of college was working on a medical device to detect osteoporosis (ever see a commercial for Fosamax?  I worked on those clinical trials).  So I suppose that preventing little old ladies from falling and breaking their hip is pretty high on the list.  Now I work at a place helping kids get into college. 

Best Item You "Permanently Borrowed"

When I got laid off from one job they seem to have forgotten that I had an IBM Thinkpad.  A few months after the fact I actually ruined it by spilling soda in it, and one of my contacts that was still at the company let me swap it out for another one of the machines in the office :).  Very nice.

Most Embarrassing Moment

I was in a meeting discussing the planning for a particularly large project.  A meeting which, for some reason I can't remember, included people like the head of sales and the president of the company.  My boss was always telling me about how much of an idiot the head of sales was, so as he babbled I found myself smirk and shaking my head.  I can't even remember why. But I do remember the president of the company pausing the conversation to say, "We have laughter in the corner over here.  Do you have an opinion?"  Ummm....ahhhh......eeeeeeep!

Lowest Pay

When I was in high school I was a bagger at the supermarket.  The minimum wage was $3.35/hr.  Does that count?  I remember going to a union contract meeting where the representative basically said "this contract is fine for everyone except the baggers."  So when the voting slips came around I wrote No on mine. The guy next to me, a cashier, saw it and called me an *sshole.  I think I was 14.

Worst Holiday Gift or Bonus

I worked at a place where we used to get a turkey for Thanksgiving, that was fun.  For worst, though, I'm gonna give this one to my dad.  His whole career (40 years) he worked as a meatcutter at Stop and Shop.  One year they said that there'd be a bonus for Christmas.  On Tuesday a Stop and Shop television commercial ran that ended with an animation of Santa Claus writing, "From all of us to all of you, Thank You.  Merry Christmas."  That was it.

Bonus: Your Typical Day

Everybody knows about my commute.  When I get in I check the email and scan a couple of key technical feeds to see if anything interesting is happening, or if any relevant tutorials have shown up on .Net or Rails.  Every other day or so I'll have 2-3 meetings for project planning. Mostly, though, I'm writing code.  Visual Studio, C# code.  If I'm lucky I get to work in Ruby for some projects.  Sometimes it's data mining which means working in shell scripts and other Unix loveliness.  I'm out the door around 4:40 so I can catch a train home in time to help my wife get dinner on the table.  Once the kids are in bed I'll get back on the computer around 9pm or so and do a little work depending on how much needs to get done.  Sometimes that's just wrapping up some emails or some documentation, sometimes it's continuing long running jobs that weren't done yet.

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