Posts Tagged ‘work’

My New Gig

If you read my last post, then you know I’ve been looking for a new job over the past several weeks.

I have really enjoyed this September Sabbatical. The extra time with my wife and kids has been a blessing in disguise. Alas, all good things come to an end, I suppose. I start a new job this Monday.

I’m happy to report that I’ve accepted an offer from SPS Commerce to be the new UX Design Manager. I’m really excited about it because I’ll be taking on a position that allows me to wear multiple hats and it also presents some pretty significant, but fun challenges and some tough problems to solve. It seems like a fantastic company and I’m really looking forward to working with some bright people.

Thanks to everyone who has networked with me over the past month and a big thanks to anyone that passed along my information with a good word. I never really put much stock in LinkedIn, but through the past few weeks, I’ve realized how powerful that network can be for someone actively looking for a position.

I feel very humbled and very grateful for this gift.

How I Survived Bloody Wednesday

For the first time in my adult life, I find myself unemployed. Three weeks ago, I succumbed to the axe on August 28, 2013, which will forever be known as Bloody Wednesday in Sport Ngin folklore.

Throughout the past several years, as the economy declined, I really never feared for my job. I always thought, naively, that I was safe. That if there were going to be cutbacks, they would cut the slackers and underperformers first.

I was living in a fool’s paradise.

Bloody Wednesday was, without a doubt, the single worst day of my career and even one of the worst days of my life. The news of the layoff came from out of the blue and caught me completely off-guard. It was a gut-wrenching experience.

I absolutely loved working at Sport Ngin. In almost every way, it was my dream job. The perfect blend of two things I really love – design and sports. I had a tremendous amount of influence over the direction of the product. I built a team of user experience designers and we were doing some fantastically fun work, designing Sport Ngin’s next generation of tools to manage sports leagues, teams and tournaments. I had a blast designing two iPhone apps while I was there. I worked with some really smart people, worked for a great boss and made some good friends. I thought it would last MUCH longer than two years. I had mentally ripped up my resume and would have been content to work there the rest of my career.

One day, you’re having a blast designing a new sign in screen for the app, the next day you are sitting at home, locked out of your laptop and wondering, “why me?”

I dealt with a good measure of rejection and quite a few “no, I do NOT want this!” moments for a couple of days. Thanks to the unending support and encouragement from my awesome wife, I was able to get back on the proverbial horse and prepare for the next phase of my career. I still don’t know what that looks like, or even when that next phase will start, but my LinkedIn network has proven to be pretty valuable and I have several leads I am following, some definitely pretty promising.

In the meantime, as I proactively wait for the process to play itself out, I am learning a few things about life and about myself.

  • As painful as this is/was for me, it is nothing compared to the hardship and turmoil many others have to face on a daily basis.
  • Being mindful of the previous point, I have tried counting my blessings, but they are too many.
  • Even when you think you are in control, you are not. So don’t act like you are; instead give control to God and walk in His will.
  • Companies are in business for one reason and one reason only – to make money.
  • From now on, I will put much less stock in the “operating values” of any company.
  • I am thankful for the talents God has given me to earn a living and take care of my family doing something that I am not only good at, but something that I really love doing – not many people get to do that.

All the unexpected time I have now has really been a blessing in disguise. This all happened right before school started. So for the first three weeks of school, I’ve been able to say good-bye to the kids in the morning and be there when they get home, help them with homework and, in general, just spend more time with them. Being at home more during the day has also been a fun time for Cori and I to spend more time together. We’ve been able to eat lunch together almost every day, we have time to take walks together and have even gone on day dates while the kids are at school. And the weather has been perfect. A guy couldn’t have asked for a better time to have days off.

If you know of any great user experience design opportunities, feel free to send them my way. I am confident that this period of my career/life will be over soon. Until then, I’m enjoying what I get. And if what I get is more time with my family, then I have been given a wonderful gift.


All in a Day’s Work

Me: Now, for my next trick, I will attempt to open this 47MB PSD file with Fireworks. Should be no problem.

Alert: An internal error occurred. [ok]

Me: Fireworks, I’m not in the mood today. You WILL open this file or die trying.


It’s not even 9:00am yet.


In her article for Inc., Margaret Heffernan speaks plainly about how flexible hours inspire productivity. I am totally on board with her take on this, but what struck me most was this bit on rules in general. Makes me wonder what the implications are for parenting, because she’s right — monitoring and enforcing rules is no fun.

“…I have always resisted rules, for myself and for others. Why? Because once you have rules, you have to enforce them—and there’s no more tedious task in life.”Margaret Heffernan

Pursuing a New Opportunity

I hate the process of moving. Its one of the times in life where teleportation, transmogrification and The Force would really come in handy. But as much as I dislike it, I’m actually looking forward to doing it this time because of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. Last week I accepted an offer to join The Nerdery in Bloomington, Minnesota. And about a month from now, I’ll be moving there to start the new job — up there in the Land of [Frozen] Lakes.

Why Minnesota?

For several years now, we’ve been wanting to move out of Texas. Somewhere closer to family, maybe. Or maybe a place with lots of trees. Or maybe to a place with mountains – or the beach. Actually, we weren’t sure where we wanted to go, but we’ve kept an open mind. We never really targeted Minnesota, but when the opportunity at The Nerdery came along, we took a long hard look at Minnesota and the more we thought about it, the more appealing it became. Yes, I know its cold there. Its cold in a lot of places. I have family in the area (I lived in Minnesota during my elementary school years before we moved to Texas) so its not a completely foreign place — to me, at least. In addition to being close to some family members, we are looking forward to lots of outdoor activities like hiking, camping, tubing, skiing and generally a slower pace of life. And yes, snow.

The Nerdery

Working at a place with outstanding company culture is huge for me. That was one of the “must have” items on my list and The Nerdery definitely embodies that. This is from the The Nerdery Profile Page on LinkedIn:

Based on staff surveys of nearly 200 web pros who blur the line between work and play, The Nerdery ranked #1 on Mpls-St. Paul Business Journal’s 2010 Best Places to Work list. A popularity contest? You bet. We’re also #6 on Minneapolis Star Tribune’s 2010 Top Workplace list. Founded by three programmers in 2003, The Nerdery has made the Inc 5000 and Biz Journal’s Fast 50 list of fast-growing privately owned companies for the past three years. The Nerdery was honored in 2010 with The Quality of Life Award and The Jefferson Award for corporate philanthropy/nerdy-deeds-done-dirt-cheap through our Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, at which volunteers have donated a million dollars worth of web development services to 39 nonprofits.

I’ll be working as a UX Designer on the User Experience Team. I’m really looking forward to joining a talented band of professionals and working on exciting web projects and expanding my skills on projects like mobile and social media applications.

These are some pretty big changes, but we, as a family, are excited about the opportunities to grow, learn and experience new things. If you have any tips for living in arctic climates or any suggestions for exploring the greater Minneapolis-St.Paul metropolitan area, please do share.

Make Friends, Not Contacts

Love this: "Networking is bogus, though. We live and work in a world based on relationships, not transactions."

Joining Ascendio

In just a few short days I’ll be writing the end of one chapter of my career and starting a new one. I’ve been looking forward to the next chapter for some time now. Over the past year or more while contemplating the next step in my career, I made a mental list of characteristics that might comprise the “ideal” place to work for me. I’ve never written those things down until now.

In addition to some basics that go without saying — good pay, location, nice people to work with, etc. — there were some more specific and harder to find aspects that I desired.
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Leaving Rosetta Stone

After 2 tours of duty over the past 4 years, I am leaving Rosetta Stone. Some of you may not be surprised, as I’ve been looking to make this move for some time now.

I started working at Rosetta Stone on the web team in 2006. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about web development and I’ve learned a great deal about myself. The company produces an absolutely top-notch product and I’m sure they will continue to be successful. But for me, it is time to move on. Read the rest of this entry →

Quotes from Rework

Last night I finished reading Rework, the new business book from the guys at 37signals. Every part of this book was excellent (great illustrations to go with great content). I’ve read quite a few business books – Good to Great, Primal Leadership, First, Break All the Rules, Built to Last, etc. Rework is easily the best business book I’ve ever read.
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Netflix's "Reference Guide on our Freedom & Responsibility Culture"

This 128-slide deck is chock full of awesome.