Category Image New start 

Wherein Pete reveals his new job. 

Last day of unemployment today. Gotta spend the time wisely...

So that was Monday (yesterday). Today was the first day at my first real job in over 18 months. It's only a two or three month contract, but it's full time. I'm a web developer for a small hardware manufacturing firm about 20 miles east of Sacramento. The contract is primarily to help them revamp their web site, and troll through html code converting it both to xhtml specs and replacing any formatting with CSS. It's largely janitorial work but I certainly don't mind -- it's nice not to have to make design decisions for a change. It's a totally Windows/Microsoft shop, which is a big change for me, so I was interested to see how Microsoft's Web Visualization Studio thingie held up against Dreamweaver. In short, not so well. WVS is of course feature "rich" (which means it's very complex) and it doesn't do certain things you'd like. I know it's only a beta, but if I drag images from one folder in the site into another folder, I expect the application to automatically update the paths to the images in my html files, don't you? Maybe there's a preference option I haven't looked for yet... Technically, we're using ASPX, but the editing process only involves one "content" cell so there's no programming going on, just endless Find/Replace of <br> with <br /> and so forth.

Yes, it's a commute: about 140 miles round trip taking 2.5 hours in total. I've got to be there at 8 am, so it's a reeeeally early wake-up. Still, the environment is great (sort of like the land of the gnomes, but with four people instead of eight or ten), and our fearless leader is really easy to work with. He doesn't seem to get any sleep though, so I hope my presence helps alleviate that problem soon. Basically, they were impressed right from the interview last Friday and called about an hour later to offer me the contract, a nice feeling for sure. At the time I was also one of two candidates for a web design position at a Stockton company, about 7 minutes from home, so the decision was really very tough. In the end, I went with the Sac'to firm because I had yet to hear from the Stockton company and couldn't afford to decline the Sac'to job on the 50/50 chance of being offered the Stockton gig. The Stockton gig also would have paid about half what Sac'to pays (though they're into the "total compensation" idea so the benefits would have been great). I couldn't really live on half of Sac'to though. Sorry, I've been unemployed for a long time -- I need cold hard cash. Both environments were equally appealing, small companies with good people, but I had to think about being able to pay my bills again and health benefits and 401k's don't pay off credit cards. Sounds blunt, I know, but in the heat of the moment that's what decided it for me. The only drawback to Sac'to (aside from the long commute and related high gas prices) is its temporary nature. There's a possibility for a permanent position once the contract is over, but I'll really have to evaluate that when the time comes.

In the meantime, long hours or no, I'm just happy to finally have found something I can do and enjoy doing it. 

Posted: Tuesday - March 22, 2005 at 09:26 AM