4 June 2006
That uncertain feeling
It’s a rare thing for me to be alone these days. I imagine it will become even rarer as time goes by. I don’t mind. I never really liked it as much as I said I did. It’s always hard to tell; with the wrong people, it’s sometimes better to be alone.
I’m alone this weekend because Laura is in San Francisco. She’s there because she’s looking for a place for us to live, because we’re moving there, very soon. My last day at work is the same as hers, June 23rd—three weeks from now. We’re planning to move the week after that. It’s all happening very quickly.
It started with an opportunity for Laura to take a job there. San Francisco is a place we’d both talked about wanting to live someday, and it seemed like a good opportunity. As it turned out, the job wasn’t the right opportunity for Laura, but it was an opportunity for us. It was a kick in the pants that got us started making plans. By the time Laura said no to the job, the wheels were already turning. We had decided to go. We’d told our friends, our bosses and families we were going. We wanted to go. So we are.
It’s a scary thing, moving across the country for the first time. A lot of things are uncertain, and I don’t handle uncertainty well.
But I’m young—we’re young. We’ve always talked about living somewhere else, at least for a while. Maybe we’ll come back to the midwest someday to settle down. Maybe we’ll get restless and move all over the world. But right now we don’t have kids, or a dog, or a mortgage. If we don’t go now, it will never get easier later.
As far as getting a job, I have some good leads already and I’ve had very promising conversations with some people I think I’d really enjoy working with. Laura’s looking too, but neither of us has anything nailed down yet.
Like I said, I don’t deal with uncertainty well. Unfinished projects where I don’t know the outcome stress me out like nothing else. (You should watch me in the kitchen—I clean up after myself as I go along.) But I’m optimistic about this. And I’m becoming shockingly self-aware spending so much time talking about myself in job interviews.
Interviews are strange social interactions. You’re talking to someone you’ve usually never met before. They know a lot about you, but only what you’ve told them. It’s your job to tell them everything you can about yourself to make them think of you as both capable and likeable.
Above all, you want to communicate certainty and enthusiasm. I’ve discovered that it’s hard describing what I do (and what I want to do) without sounding equivocal. I consider myself a hybrid designer and developer. I’m a designer with code skills or, if the situation requires it, I’m a coder with good design sense.
What is it that I’m passionate about? Where do I see myself in five, ten years? What is it that I want to do? I want to stay in the middle. I’m most intrigued and excited and inspired by the intersections: design and engineering, imagination and logic, pixels and code.
I believe there’s a need for people like me. A project doesn’t succeed with just pure engineering or pure design thinking. They need to be taken together. Why not in the same person?
Still, it’s hard to sell. Because talking about it creates uncertainty in people. Engineers think I sound flaky, designers think I sound boring. At least that’s what the paranoiac in me thinks.
I’m looking at a future mixed with certainty and uncertainty. I’m certain we will move to San Francisco at the end of this month. I’m not certain yet where we will live. I’m not certain where either of us will work, or when we will even have jobs. I’m not certain how much of our savings we’ll need to use, or how long it will last us if we need it. I’m certain we’ll survive. I’m certain it will be a learning experience.
So if you work in the Bay Area and you’re looking for a good designer with code skills, or maybe even a coder with a design sense, I’d love to hear about it. I’ll be in town next week. Let’s get in touch.
And if you’re looking for a talented designer with print, online and marketing experience (who’s also a hot lady), I know one of those too. I think she’s amazing. In fact, I’m certain of it.