The end of an era

It's official: as of about 5 and a half hours ago, I am no longer a public servant. My job search is over and I've had my last day at my unnamed local government employer.

I'll be starting my new job on Monday. I was hoping to have a week or two off between jobs, but their (semi-official?) lead developer is leaving at the end of the month and they wanted me to have some time to work with him and get the hang of things before that. On the up side, this also means I have less time to worry and stew, so it's probably not such a bad thing.

The new job is as a web developer for a fairly large and well-known video site, which will remain nameless. I'll be working on a team with 3 other developers doing all the front and back-end coding and design for the site. I figure that that, combined with the large volume of hits the site gets, should be a pretty good learning experience. Certainly much better than my civil service job, where everything was a one-man project with maybe a handful of users if you're lucky. Plus the new job is a LAMP shop, so I'll actually get to do UNIXy stuff at work for a change, which is kind of neat.

I should probably note that, since my professional experience is 100% Windows-based, I got this job based largely on my open-source hobby projects. That and the rest of my resume, a code sample, a good score on their truly evil knowledge-based written test, and a very long interview. But the point is, let it not be said that working on free software isn't useful! I have now proven to my wife and mother-in-law that all that time I spent coding for fun was not wasted! Victory!!!

On the down side, the new job is about 95 miles from my house. That's an hour and a half drive one way. It's also about $18 a day in gas at current prices. And we can't move right away. And I'm not getting a raise (at least not to start), so after fuel costs, I'm actually taking a net pay cut.

So all is not sweetness and light with the new job. But if nothing else, at least this is a step forward career-wise. It will be a good opportunity to grow as a software developer and to get some higher-end experience. It's also kind of a scary change, after being in the same place for the last 6 years. But it'll be good for me. I need to move on to bigger and better things, and this is a good first step in that direction.

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