Monday, January 07, 2008

So, here's what's been going on...

Hello all,

As I mentioned, I've relocated to the Bay Area. I'm now living in San Jose with my girlfriend Natalie.

I must confess that there are elements of this move which are, frankly, scary. I left a good and stable job without having any work waiting for me during a time of the year when opportunities are slim. Compound this with the fact that I don't have a lot of savings to fall back on (and bills eating what remains at an alarming rate) and I think that you can appreciate that there are some stressful elements to this move.

On the positive side, however, I am now living with somehow whom I have loved and admired for many years and I am feeling happier than I can remember. To be sure, love alone is rarely sufficient to make a lasting relationship, as too many foolish teenagers have discovered down through the ages, but even if it isn't a sufficient condition it is certainly a necessary condition for such a feat. Neither Natalie nor I are naive. We both know that my moving out here has its risks and we have carefully considered those risks and have decided that what we have to gain is worth taking them.

Be that as it may, once I start drawing a paycheck, I will feel much better about the near future. Unfortunately, I work in an industry where getting hired is a multi-step process. In most cases there's a pre-screening where you talk to a recruiter to determine whether or no you are interested and qualified for the position at hand. This is usually followed by a technical phone interview where you are asked questions to verify that you have the knowledge to match the requirement. This is then followed by at least one in-person interview which often involves meeting with several interviewers who ask you additional questions. This can transpire over a period of weeks or even months.

Part of what makes this a difficult process is that being a SQL Server DBA covers a lot of ground. To a first approximation, there is no one who knows everything there is to know about SQL Server and even the most experienced DBAs will have gaps in their knowledge so part of the process is making sure that you're up to date on those areas where it most likely that you'll be quizzed but even the most core aspects of database work is still very broad, so I need to refresh my studies on everything from indexes, to commitment levels, to schema design and normalization, to data transformation, and many other things besides.

At this point, I've had several phone interviews (most of which went well) and two in-person interviews (one which went very well and one which, frankly, I think I flubbed, much to my chagrin). I've also also been following up leads from friends and associates and keeping a very close on on the job boards.

To her credit, Natalie is being very patient about helping to cover my expenses in the interim (which doesn't reduce the sting of having to have my girlfriend pick up the tab more often than I'd like) and it looks like I've got enough saved to last until the end of February. If worse comes to worst, I can start doing temporary clerical work to make ends meet while I continue to look for a serious position.

I must admit that there is a certain irony involved with being a working professional. If I were still eighteen and unexperienced, finding work would be trivial not only because I'd be looking for entry level work, but it would also be easier for me to find that kind of work. Even if I decided that I'd like to be a grocery clerk, now, no grocery store would hire me for the justifiable fear that I'd leave the moment I got a better job.

My work situation aside, the Bay Area is lovely. We just had a major storm pass through but, aside from a rather scary drive to Berkeley that day, it wasn't much of an inconvenience and, really, getting rained on is so much better than getting snowed on, in my humble opinion.

I will grant that my appreciation of the Bay Area contains a bias given that I grew up here but I will, never the less, aver that it is one of the best possible places to live. I find myself constantly amazed at the diversity of people and places in this region as well as the sheer physical breadth of the place. Aside from the traffic (which isn't as bad as I remembered) and the costs (which are much worse than I remembered), there is so much to love about being here.

I do find that there are things I miss about Colorado Springs. I had a good set of friends and colleagues whom I shall miss and the scenery was quite incomparable. Be that as it may, and with all due respect to Springs, I think that I shall be happier living in the Bay Area as I find myself to be more more in sync with the local culture.

On a final note, the blog is back. Obviously, putting posts up is near the end of the list of my priorities so I won't promise daily updates for the time being. Never the less, it does have some priority and I do promise that I will continue to post as often as is reasonable given the totality of my obligations.

I want to wish all of my readers a good New Year. I hope that 2008 will treat each of us kindly and well.

Take care.

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