There Is No Cat

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New job

The past few days have flown by at a dizzying pace. I'd been looking forward to moving on to the next phase. I just didn't know it would happen so quickly.

Last Friday marked eight weeks since I was laid off from my previous job. The job search was active, certainly much more so than when I was out of work in 2002 and 2003, and I had a number of interviews, but nothing was coming through.

That changed.

Friday morning at 11, I had an interview for a Front End Web Developer position at Magnani Caruso Dutton, a medium-sized creative agency in Manhattan. They've been around for several years. One of the recruiters I was working with told me in the course of prepping me for the interview that their interviews often went quickly and that I shouldn't be alarmed if it was over in a half hour. And so it was; by 11:30 I was back on the street and headed for home.

I hadn't even made it on to the train before I got the call. I was sitting in Penn Station when my cell phone rang. It was the recruiter with some good news; they had made an offer. That totally floored me; for one thing, I had been told that they had a couple of other candidates to talk to. I guess I made a good impression. :-) Also, I gathered that they had the impression that I had some other things going on, which was true, although they were things I wasn't truly interested in (for example, if the publishing company I interviewed at a couple of weeks earlier had called with an offer, I would have been presented with a difficult decision, as the job was with some very impressive people working in a way I like to work, but the corporate culture was one I didn't consider a good fit). Maybe they felt they had to strike while the iron was hot. And so they did; I got that phone call 45 minutes after the interview ended. I didn't want to discuss money and stuff while I was sitting in a train station, so we waited until I got home, but I think it took all of 60 seconds once I got the details to accept the offer. I was positively giddy on the train home.

The position is what they call freelance for now. Where I come from, it would be called a contract position. To me, freelance is where you work on various projects with unstable hours and pay your own taxes. Contract is where you work through a contract house and they take care of the taxes and stuff and send you a W2 at the end of the year. But as long as the money is green, I'll call it whatever they want. As another indication of how quickly they make decisions and things change, I started there on Monday. There's a possibility the job may become permanent/direct at some point, but it's not clear to me after two days when that might happen.

One of my biggest frustrations in my old job (the web part, not the running payroll part) was the tendency marketing and communications had to go to outside agencies for much of the fun stuff, leaving mostly the drudge work for us. We got a few bones, but most of the stuff you could sink your teeth into went elsewhere. I've largely been aiming my job search at small companies, and in particular at creative agencies and startups. So I got exactly what I was looking for, and now I'll be on the side that gets to do the fun stuff.

The other really good aspect of this new job as opposed to the old one is that they seemed to be particularly interested in my knowledge of web standards, semantic markup, and CSS (plus DOM-based Javascripting and Ajax). Those things don't seem to be on the radar at all in New Jersey, where most web development is firmly mired in 1997, but in New York City, they're becoming almost essential and appear to be in demand at the moment. Not everyone, not even most places, but enough places that there's finally a market for my approach to building sites. Finally, all those years in the wilderness trying to spread the good word are paying off. You're not going to find many people out there who have been using that approach for as long as I have. I was determined that on my next job, I would be able to take advantage of all the stuff I've learned over the years and wouldn't be trapped in the muck of table-infested legacy code. It appears that I've succeeded.

The one sad part about this is that I'm not sure how much time I'll have available for blogging and other hobbies in the future. The one good thing about my old job, the one thing that kept me there for so long, was that they were local at first, and then when they moved out of the area, they let me work from home. So work only consumed the hours between 9 and 5, which left me time for the stuff that kept me sane. Now that I'm working in the city, the commute alone has largely wiped out what used to be my leisure time.

Posted at 1:48 AM
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anita Rowland

I was very sorry to read this evening that Anita Rowland passed away Monday afternoon after a long battle with cancer. I never met Anita in person, but have been reading her weblog since approximately forever, swapping comments both there and here. She had a way of making people feel welcome on her site, a real generosity of spirit. I know I don't blog much any more, but Anita remembered; just a few weeks ago, she found me on Flickr and added me to her (surprisingly short) list of contacts there.

My condolences to her widow, Jack William Bell, grandson R, and the rest of her family.

Posted at 12:36 AM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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