Lessons Learned

Hello, Again

I haven’t written in a long long time. Isn’t that always the story, though. Unless you have a habit, an identity, or a following, it’s really hard to make a site like this, a blog really, worth it. And I haven’t got any of those things. I don’t know who I’m writing for, and I don’t know why I’m writing. But I’m paying for this site anyway, so I guess I might as well write something.

It’s been a year – or two. Back in August 2021, I changed jobs. I was really happy where I was at. I had been working at HireVue. I’d been a data engineer there, and a staff software engineer. I had (I think) respect, and I was doing a killer job with work that I loved to do.

Then, in – oh, I don’t remember – I think March, maybe April, of that year, Facebook knocked on my door. I’d just had a coworker leave to go to Facebook, and it felt like everyone around me was leaving, and I thought, “well, why not give it a shot?”

So, over the course of two or so months, I interviewed, prepped, fretted, all the things you do for a FAANG job, and lo and behold, I landed a job! I was on vacation when I found out. The pay was, well, amazing. I mean, it wasn’t as good as I’d been told during interviews, but it was still really really good. And the offer included relocation, which was a boon for me and my family at the time, because we’d already been looking to move.

Together with my family, we packed up, moved quick, and by August, we were living in Snohomish, Washington, and I was working – largely remotely – for Facebook, soon to be Meta.

I was a data engineer. I worked in the Infrastructure organization. And the job was nothing like I expected. All (well, most of) my interviews had been really technical. But I spent a ton of time in meetings, talking, managing projects, and just trying to figure out what the heck needed be done. I didn’t love it.

As a technologist, I love to get my hands dirty. I love to be wrapped in code. Give me a really tough problem, let me go to work, leave me alone, and I’ll come back in a day or two, or maybe a week if the problem is truly challenging, with some awesome code, a really great solution, and I’ll feel energized, I’ll love it. But stick me in a room, just listening to people talk; make me fight and work and manage and toil to do everything to get people to listen and to move a project forward. Do that, and I’m going to be exhausted and demoralized.

It’s not that I can’t do it. In fact, I do it really well, and that’s one of the things that creates problems for me. It’s hard to find people who are great technically, but who can also convey complex ideas to business folk, and who have experience managing projects and programs. I’m one of ’em. And so, inevitably, I get pulled into that kind of work because employers need people who can do it. But I hate it. I just wanna code. I love being in the tech.

Meta just wasn’t that for me. I tried. I really did. But after a year, nothing was changing, and I was unhappy. And so, I put my ear to the ground, and listened for opportunities outside of Meta. An old friend from my HireVue days came calling with an opportunity at his current company, eVisit. I knew a few folks that jumped ship from HireVue to eVisit, and I thought I’d interview.

Interviews went well, and they really wanted me, but I balked at first. I was still trying to make a go of it at Meta. And I had another potential offer at a non-profit that I was really interested in. So, I turned down the initial offer and moved on.

But after a few more months of fighting to make Meta work (fruitlessly), I decided I needed to leave for my own, as well as my family’s, health and sanity. Coincidentally, eVisit reached back out to see if I’d reconsider. I was still trepidatious. It’s hard going from a multi-billion, big-name, well-established tech company to a small start-up, but I thought, why not? Besides, I’d be able to get my hands dirty with tech again. So, I said yes.

I’ve been at eVisit for two months now. I’m the sole data engineer. There’s a ton of work to do, and a lot of opportunity to transform the data environment. As much as my time at Meta drained me, I still learned and experienced a lot, and I saw what possibilities are out there with respect to data. Even though Meta’s data environment is extremely proprietary, there were lessons to learn, and I hope I can apply at least some of what I learned from Meta to my work at eVisit.

We’ll see. The company is small. They’ve had some success, and I hope they’ll have more in the future. Creating a truly data-driven culture and implementing the tech behind it doesn’t happen overnight. I hope I have the chance to make it a reality.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll keep this site posted with my progress.


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