Archive for September, 2013

New Day Job

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

GoogleResearchI generally don’t talk about my day job here because my blog is ostensibly about stuff I do outside of work. But I’m about to leave a job of over a decade and start a new one in an entirely different industry, so I figured it’s worth a mention.

It all happened very suddenly. I was about to take a few weeks off from work when I was contacted by a recruiter from Google. They wanted to know if I’d be interested in talking with them. I’m not an engineer by trade so I didn’t think I was particularly qualified. But heck, I was going to be on vacation, it’d be neat to see the campus, and it was a chance to talk to some interesting folks. Also, free lunch! So I scheduled a visit to go check it out on a Monday.

Well, the Google interviews are just as intense as they’re reputed to be. You really do need to prepare. I came out of them feeling pretty good about how I did, although I thought it was also pretty clear that this isn’t what I do for a living. But that Friday, I got a call from the recruiter and she wanted to talk about the “next steps”. And I was all, like, “Whuaaaaaaahhhhh?!”

In the end, I decided that it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. The Google Research group happened to be looking for someone with a background in computer graphics, graphics languages, and photorealistic rendering, which are all things I’m familiar with. Also, it’s a chance to work on a project and with people that are completely new to me. So it’s incredibly exciting.

But it’s also hard to leave something that I’ve known for over a decade. And because of the suddenness of it all, there are a lot of “lasts” that I didn’t realize at the time. I didn’t realize that Monsters University might be the last movie I work on or that its wrap party might be the last I attend. But life is often like that. I had no idea that the last time I saw my dad would be the last. And the same goes with some friends. I recently saw Life of Pi again there’s a quote that stuck with me: “I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” I realize the truth of that sentiment and I wish I’d been better about it in the past. So I’ve spent the last couple weeks trying to be cognizant of the significance of those moments.

But change is good. I feel exhilarated by the fact that it’s even possible to make this big of a change. Part of me is terrified but I know in my heart that no matter what happens, this was the right choice to make. On to the future!

Quality Time

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

AtTheParkRecently, I had an opportunity to take a few weeks off work. I was planning on working on some silly videos and iPhone projects while I was off but in the end, I hardly did any of that. Instead, I spent most of my time just hanging out with Dyson.

A couple things came up (Dyson needed surgery and Tracy had some medical issues, among other things) and suddenly, I had to take on more of the care taking duties. But culturally, there’s a lot of societal pressure for fathers to be the providers and producers. If we’re not doing that, we’re failing. I feel that acutely since I’m the sole breadwinner in the family. Even on vacation, I felt driven to be productive. So it was hard to just … not.

But over the course of those few weeks, I came to see it differently. Taking Dyson to the park or putting him to bed wasn’t going to help “bring home the bacon”. But maybe it provided for him in more important ways. I think it was good for him to know that he could count on me to be there when he needs it. Also, he isn’t going to be 3 forever. Heck, he isn’t even going to be a little kid for much longer. I want to cherish this time with him while I still can.

So during this vacation, I made the conscious choice not to work on some projects I really wanted to do. Instead, I spent the time with Dyson and gave my wife a much needed break. And over those few weeks, I started to see it make a difference. He would accept me to comfort him when he was upset and he would turn to me when he needed something.

So. I didn’t make any new apps this time around. And I didn’t make a bunch of new videos. But hopefully, I did have a lasting impact on my son’s life just by spending so much of these last few weeks with him. (Also, I am planning on doing at least one video from this time, where Dyson counts to 1000 … sort of.)