Month: February 2007

Movin’ on

For those of you who haven’t already heard, I turned in my resignation at Boston Scientific today. My last day will be March 14th.

I’ll be starting at UnitedHealth Group on March 19th as a Web Developer.

Now before anyone gets the idea that this decision is some kind of knee-jerk reaction to the recent layoff unpleasantness, let me just say that it’s not. It’s related to the layoffs of course, in the sense that I wouldn’t have been looking for a job right now, but that’s it. Once I’d actually interviewed for the job and had gotten a feel for it, I’d already decided that I would take it if the offer was acceptable, whether or not I was laid off.

The big plus for me with the new job is the type of programming work involved. At Boston Scientific, the work is mostly with event-driven real-time applications, primarily written in C/C++. What I’ve always liked most is working on database-driven software, and my main strength is in Java. The new job is doing Java webapps, heavily database-driven. So. The choice was pretty clear.

What this means is that for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be spending my spare time knocking the rust off of my J2EE skill set and reading up on Spring and Hibernate. Beyond that, I’ll be making sure everything is cleaned up at Boston Scientific to make sure nothing is lost when I leave, a task that should be pretty easy as I’ve just done that in the week leading up to the layoff date.I’m actually pretty down about leaving Boston, partly because it’s still a good company to work for, but mostly because I have the best manager and co-workers imaginable. I hope I’ll have the chance to work with a group like that again someday.

Anyway, this calls for a night out in the next couple of weeks. I’ll let you know when there’s a time and a place.

Misallocation of resources

Recently, I was at the library flipping through a copy of a book titled Bitter Java (which is about the language, not the drink), and glanced at the copyright date to get an idea of how out-of-date the book was, the library being full of useful programming books like Java 2 For Dummies and Programming Macros for Excel 5.

The book was copyright 2002, which means that it may be of some use, because it’s a book of lessons learned, rather than a development guide to the state-of-the-art, but what really caught my eye was this:

Recognizing the importance of preserving what has been written, it is Manning’s policy to have the books they publish printed on acid-free paper, and we exert our best efforts to that end.

Of all the things to print on acid-free paper. A programming book.

Realistically, programming books should be printed on the same wood chip-infested stock used for comic books; comics probably have a longer shelf life on average.

As a matter of fact, I’d appreciate programming books that disintegrated into compost on their own within five years of purchase. My programming library is full of crud pertaining to Visual Basic 6 and CL for the AS/400. Unfortunately, they’re books, which means that they can’t just be thrown away, and they’re also obsolete, which means that they can’t be given away. The last thing I need is for publishers to try to ensure the things are still around for my kids to dispose of.

Five weeks gone by . . .

I expect that within twelve hours of posting this, I’ll finally know whether or not I’m still employed by Boston Scientific. Either way, it’ll be a relief to have it over with.

I said in my last post that I hadn’t volunteered to be laid off, and that I was fine with that decision. However, I realized I was lying to myself. I mostly rationalized the decision to not volunteer because it absolved me of the risk should I have a hard time finding a new position. However, once I realized how many people had volunteered and how many people had managed to find positions in unaffected departments within the company, I realized that I really did want to be let go. Damn. So, for the last three weeks I’ve been living with the knowledge of my mistake of not volunteering and what it could potentially cost.

At this point, I’ve decided that I will be leaving the company soon, whether it’s by my choice or theirs. With the number of my coworkers who will be gone and the completely different scope that my department will have in the future, I realize that this is the perfect time to move on. The cost of leaving on my own is a very substantial severance package. The choice to volunteer is obvious in hindsight, but of course that doesn’t do any good now.

So, hopefully tomorrow I’ll be posting about my newly found lack of employment.

Wish me luck.