I Found My Next Job, and It Surprised Me

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A month ago, I wrote a post about being funemployed. It marked the beginning of a month-long experiment: an alternative approach to employment. Instead of applying anywhere, I listed the traits I was looking for in my next job, and linked to the post via Tweets and on Hacker News. I wasn't sure what to expect at the time, but I was hopeful.

The experiment was more successful than I could have dreamed, resulting in greater than 40 companies reaching out. The list included young companies looking for a CTO, companies you've never heard of, some you most definitely have, and a few I've no doubt you'll be hearing more about, soon. It also provoked mixed reaction. From accusations of being a "prima-donna" [sic], to those of being snarky, to the (completely unwarranted) accusation of brilliance, an experiment like this brings its share of commentary.

I've learned a good deal from the experiment, I think, but this post is not about that. Right now, I want to share some news I'm excited about.

In a couple of weeks, I'll be joining the team at Appriss, which just happens to be in Louisville.

Who?

It's fine. I'll forgive you for looking confused. I'd lived in Louisville for years before I'd heard of Appriss, actually. There's a simple reason for that: they're busy doing good and meaningful work, not drumming up publicity on Hacker News. They've been around for almost 2 decades, are profitable, and are continuing to tackle new and interesting problems with new products, of which Ruby is an increasingly important stack component.

Why?

First and foremost: the work that Appriss does matters. If you're one of those who have used their VINE system, you know why. VINE, Appriss's first product, is a system designed to notify victims of violent offenders in the event of their release or escape from custody.

That's right: Appriss creates software that is literally saving lives.

It's not just VINE, either. They are working on lots of software for individuals, communities, and law enforcement, all with the goal of helping people stay safe and informed.

The work I'll be doing matters in a way that wasn't apparent until contrasted against the numerous other opportunities out there. It's hard to sit down with yet another payment processing company, e-commerce startup, or social networking company, when in the back of your mind you're thinking "well, that's cool, but it's not exactly 'help a victim of violent assault sleep at night' cool, is it?"

And it's not just the difference that Appriss makes for the users of their software, but the difference they'll expect me to make as a member of the team. There are a lot of great possibilities here. Let's just say that Appriss knocks my "expect me to make a difference" requirement out of the park.

With that in mind, let's examine the rest of the list, shall we?

My next job will be remote-friendly. Appriss may be located in Louisville, but that doesn't mean I'll be heading into the office every day. They're already really remote-friendly, and always looking for ways to improve.

My next job will not be a contract. No 1099 here. Standard W-2 gig, with a phenomenal benefit plan that actually rewards you for taking an active interest in your health. They even have an on-site clinic at the office. This is a developing discussion among forward-thinking companies. Apple and Facebook are already there. So is Appriss.

My next job will compensate me better than I think I deserve. Without getting into specifics, this is one area that I thought would have limited me to working remotely for companies nowhere near my back yard. Suffice it to say that Appriss offers a competitive salary, and had the best benefits package of any company I talked to.

My next job will involve work that makes me want to program wet and naked. The amount and kinds of data that Appriss deals with presents all sorts of really interesting problems, and the knowledge that the work I do will really matter to people only makes me more passionate about doing it well.

My next job will stretch me. This is a domain I've never worked in, with different problems than I've solved before, and a great team of veterans that have deep domain knowledge and have been doing this work for over a decade, in some cases. I will learn a lot here.

My next job will give me opportunities to share what I've learned. Appriss absolutely wants folks who mentor (and want to be mentored). It's not just an opportunity, but a requirement for my role.

My next job will encourage me to take advantage of speaking opportunities. Yep! Starting with sponsoring my trip to RubyConf to keynote next month. Not too shabby, since I'll only have been on payroll for a few weeks. They are actively encouraging me to pursue other speaking engagements as well.

But wait! There's more!

Aside from ticking off every checkbox in my list, there are other serious pros to this opportunity. First of which is that, as you probably know, I really, really like Louisville.

On my more pessimistic days (yes, I have them!) it really kills me to be living in this city I love, but feeling like we'll never have a thriving ecosystem of companies using Ruby, while the .NET and Java machines lurch onward. While I love remote work, it's not for everyone, and I want my friends who want to live here and want to write Ruby (or heck, anything that isn't .NET or Java) in an office (the horror!) to feel like they have options that tick off all of their checkboxes.

If Appriss is here, it gives me hope that there may be others, or at least, room for us to create others. This makes me happy!

Surprise!

So, if you'd told me a month ago that I'd conduct a nationwide search, get interest from companies in (to name a few) Portland, San Francisco, New York, DC, Berlin, and even the Russian Federation, and wind up finding that a company right here in Louisville was the best option for me, I'd have responded with "you're crazy." Yet, here we are.

I'm super-psyched to see what's in store for me at Appriss. And if it took a nationwide search to draw the contrasts that made this fit obvious for me, then I'd definitely do it all again.

Here's to "my next job!"

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