I need something new in my career.
Don't get me wrong. I love what I do and I've no intention of abandoning the tech scene to, say, start an emu farm. But the current combination of work, family and life in general is starting to wear us all down. It's time for a change.
And frankly, if you're going to make a change, you might as well make it the absolute best one you can. So for the duration of this post I'm going to try something rather difficult – I'm going to switch off my usual unassuming, undemanding nature and give myself permission to be greedy. What's my dream job? My serious, no-holds-barred, anything-is-possible dream job. Hopefully I don't come off sounding like an arrogant jerk.
Because I need to know: does it exist, and do I have what it takes to land it?
I want to be challenged. I want to hack with world-class developers and grow to be one myself. I want the opportunity to learn and to teach every day. I want to be part of a team that loves their code and loves their job.
I don't want to be tied to a big-city office. I want to raise my kids in a nice town in rural Victoria. I want take a working road trip up the coast to see my family and friends in Queensland. I want to take my wife to see Ningaloo and Kakadu. Basically, I want a job that I can take with me and do from anywhere. Or at least anywhere with broadband.
I want to write code that matters.
I want a company that respects open source. That encourages community involvement and knows how to leverage the global software pool to everyone's mutual benefit. That has sensible IP policies about projects I work on in my own time.
I want flexibility. I want to start late if we've had a rough night with a child. I want to start early if there's an idea I can't get out of my head. Once in a while I want to cram the work week into four days and spend a long weekend doing something with the family. And I want confidence that not only will I get the job done, but I'll get it done well.
And as long as my family isn't left wanting, I can give my kids the opportunities they deserve, and I don't feel under-appreciated, then all of these things are more important to me than the figure on the paycheck.
That sounds like a tall order. But surely there must be a job out there that fits my version of the dream, and I believe that I'd be perfect for it. Here's why.
I'm a smart guy. Ugh. I hate putting it so bluntly, especially since "smart" counts for so little on its own. But this is a pitch after all, and I do have the creds to back it up.
I'm determined. I believe that almost any problem can be solved with the right combination of creativity and brute force. Here's just one example: when I was unhappy that a frozen python application was far too large, I spent two days writing a tool to hack dead code from the GUI library and cut over 40MB off the final size of the application.
I'm articulate. I like to write and I love to talk. I'm as comfortable demonstrating a new API as I am discussing social issues in engineering. Lately I've been something of a fixture at the Melbourne Python Users Group and I love the feeling of connecting and sharing with a group of like-minded developers.
Finally, I'm pragmatic. I don't expect this dream job to fall into my lap. But by putting this up here, I do hope to hear about some interesting opportunities that I can set myself toward pursuing.
Do you work in a job like this? Please, share your story in the comments or by email. I'd love to hear about how its working out for you, and whether it's the good life I imagine it to be.
Do you know a company that offers opportunities like this? Please, point me in their direction.
Even better, are you a company looking to hire someone like me? I've got ten years experience from academia to engineering to the web; a big stack of code that I'm proud to have written; and a burning desire to combine an awesome career in software with a happy family and a balanced life. Please, let's talk.