Skip to main content

A year like no other

Today is a significant marker in my life, the first anniversary of the passing of my mother-in-law. Her death was sudden and I was unprepared for it. While shocked and sad, after the week of mourning was over, I expected life to return to normal quickly. In many ways it did, but in retrospect I'm amazed at how much flux there was throughout the following year.

In hindsight, I now see how depressed I was for several months after her death. It feels silly to say that, since I'm generally a happy person. The idea of me being depressed for a day let alone a month feels very out of character. But I was and it affected the decisions I made and blurred my focus, both personally and professionally. I've been searching during most of the past twelve months and it took a while to find myself again, as my wife has so patiently endured.

My productivity at work took a nose dive for a while, partially because I became extremely disinterested in what I was working on. My disinterest led me to entertain notions of leaving ESPN. As the old cliche goes, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my own life. I considered starting my own company and began working to that end. Around the same time I was contacted by Zynga, best known for the Farmville and Mafia Wars games on Facebook. I was flattered but the idea that I'd pickup my family and move seemed a bit crazy, so my thoughts turned to, "well if I'm really considering this, what is exciting in the network of people I already have and commutable?" This led to a string of interviews in the city at some great places like GetGlue and foursquare.

The interesting thing is that these interviews, while they didn't lead to job offers they led to other interviews. My interview at foursquare led to an interview at a stealth-mode startup. And that interview led to another interview where I got an job offer. In the end I didn't accept that offer but it's been a surreal ride to experience how the NYC tech startup scene works and how tightly-knit it is. The connections I've made have been pretty amazing, and I hope they will end up helping me someday when I start my own company. But that's for another year...let me continue.

While all this was going on, I got an interview request from Apple. That ride took me from a clandestine interview hidden away in a New York hotel, to a trip to the Cupertino mothership, all the way to a job offer that nearly turned my family's world upside-down. We were "this" close to uprooting my wife and kids to the Bay Area, a continent away from everything we had ever known. In the end, leaving everyone we had ever known was too great a hardship to accept, and that was one of the biggest lessons I learned this year. I took me quite a few extra months to learn it after I began reflecting on my own mortality, but for me, family and friends are too important to allow ambition to pull me away from them. I would have loved to have worked at Apple, lived in California, and have that notch on my resume, but I love seeing my kids playing with their grandparents more.

So though my path doesn't lead to One Infinite Loop, it doesn't mean my ambition has ended with that journey. I can take an East Coast path to get where I want to go. Amazingly, it looks like that path stays at ESPN. On the exact same day, actually in the same hour that I got my offer from Apple, I got news that ESPN wanted to create the role for me that I had been asking for for years, as a build engineer. I started that new role last week, and I haven't been this happy professionally in a while. It's exactly where I want to be right now, which brings me to my second cliched lesson, everything happens for a reason. If things had played out differently, I would not have been at ESPN to accept the new role.

With all that happened, Joanne hasn't been out of my thoughts for very long. I miss her, and I hope she is at peace. I know that right now, I am too.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TeamCity build triggering by GitHub

So I started using GitHub for a side project and discovered their very cool feature of service hooks. A service hook allows a repository administrator to setup a callback to another service when a commit is made to the repository. For example it can send an email, or chat a message via Jabber.

Now continuous integration servers, like TeamCity, can poll source control systems every few minutes to see if any changes have been committed. But wouldn't it be more efficient to use a service hook to trigger a build?
Looking at GitHub's service hooks, there wasn't one already available to callback a TeamCity server, but right on that same page was a link to the open source repository for GitHub Service Hooks. They "eat their own dogfood" so to speak and make it very easy to contribute new service hooks back to them. So I took an evening, did my first Ruby coding in a while which included more time getting Ruby setup and working on my Macbook than actually coding. In a …

Paperless

I've been slowly going paperless over the past decade. The first step on my journey started in 2000 when I signed up to use a payment service, PayTrust, to receive my incoming bills, scan them, and put them online for me to pay. The next major step was probably when I got a digital camera to replace my traditional film cameras. It might not be considered a "paperless" use case, but it has lead to very little hardcopies over the years as monitors and HDTV with screensavers and AppleTVs have become so beautiful.  Back to the paperless office, my next big step was eFileing my taxes but that didn't come until about 5 years later. Then suddenly about two years ago, I hit a real shift in my desire to go completely paperless when I got my iPad and installed Evernote.

digital notes...
If you aren't familiar with Evernote its an excellent app, available on all the major desktop and mobile OSes, that makes note-taking and organizing really simple. The killer feature is …

Simplifying logging with Maven and SLF4J (Part 2)

So in my previous post I explained how to simplify your logging with Maven and SLF4J. If you haven't read it yet, please do before reading more.  Since then I've discovered an easier and cleaner way to remove the secondary frameworks from your Maven dependency tree.

Here's a revised overview of the steps:

Decided which logging framework will be your primary, aka who will actually write to your log file.Define the dependency scope of all the secondary frameworks to be 'provided'.Configure your project to depend on drop-in replacements of each secondary framework from SLF4J.
Define secondary frameworks as provided
Use the dependencyManagement section for this. Its used when you might have a dependency transitively.
Add dependency on SLF4J Add the following to your pom.xml
Conclusion
So now in only 3 steps you can redirect all your logging to your primary logging framework without changing a line of code!