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A Positive Experience

A fair proportion of my posts over the last few years have been negative, covering technical issues or, latterly, employment disputes. In one in particular, I mentioned a new job in passing. I feel it’s time to expand on this, and describe why I feel that my new employer is the best place I’ve worked in so far.

The company itself is very small – some half-dozen people – and based in an office near to my own home. When I say “office”, I actually mean “purpose-built office over the MD’s garage at the end of his garden”, not “pokey serviced office with impersonal staff hanging around”. And “near”? My journey in to work takes me 7 minutes. As the crow flies, it’s a little over 450 metres.

The first thing that struck me when I arrived for my interview was the pool table in the middle of the room. I queried it at the time, as far too often these are mere decoration and last a few weeks; no, this was regularly used when one or two people in the team need 5 minutes time out. My past month bears this out, barely a day goes by without 3 or 4 games happening during an afternoon.

Things only got better on my first day. It’s standard practise (and, probably not appreciated enough) for a developer to be given a fast PC and two widescreen monitors, but this PC also came with my favourite accessory (which i’d noticed during interview and had made an appreciative comment about), a Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000. As keyboards go I’m no connesseur (i cant even spell the word), but I’ve been a fan of this series since the first model.

Day two turned out to be pizza day, so the MD headed off to Costco, asking on the way out what my favourite snack happened to be. An hour later he returned, laden with pizza, big bags of coffee beans (for the office grinder, naturally), energy drinks for the non-coffee drinker, and a big box of Snickers to add to the piles of nuts, diet coke, crisps and Twix bars that my new colleagues variously favour.

There is work in amongst all of this, of course. As a .net developer my experience outside the Microsoft world is limited, but since starting I’ve been exposed to PHP and Yii, vast amounts of Grails, and even set up a Jenkins server to automate builds and rollout of C# REST services. But whatever problem I face, there is an existing team of developers able to help as I learn my way around.

In summary? It may have been a tough year getting here, but at last I’m somewhere that I think I belong,

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get some sleep. The MD has arranged a karting session for tomorrow afternoon.

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