May Contain Blueberries

the sometimes journal of Jeremy Beker

The only constant in life is change, they say. The last few months have definitely been that way. But change is an opportunity for new beginnings and for me, my time at Food52 has ended and I am starting the journey to find a new work home. Over the past few days I have been pondering what I want to do and with whom I would like to work. I’d like to share some of my thoughts here as I work through them. This change is exciting, scary, humbling, and even a bit confusing as I come out of nearly 8 years at Food52 (ok, 7 years, 10 months, 28 days if I am being pedantic).

The coincidence with the new year is not lost on me, a time of reflection on what direction I want to proceed in. Through my career I have worked for small companies and large, public and private, and as an individual contributor and in engineering management. Most recently I was a Principal Software Engineer. I appreciate this kind of role as it kept me hands-on in coding but also has some of the benefits of engineering management: mentorship, guiding technical direction, and visibility outside of the engineering organization. However, I have run engineering teams before and there are aspects of those that can also be very fulfilling within the right kind of organization.

At this moment, my focus is going to be mostly on Staff/Principal IC roles with the occasional management role thrown in if the company seems like a good fit. I’ve started writing down my wishlists which will certainly evolve over time. I am not really focused on the particular technology facets of the companies I am looking at, it is really the people and culture that matter to create a fulfilling environment.

Must haves:

  • remote friendly, preferable remote native
  • a mission that I believe in and is actually practiced day to day
  • solid DEI practices
  • teams that respect all of their engineers regardless of seniority
  • a respect for work/life balance
  • open and communicative leadership

Nice to haves:

  • missions that align with my personal interests: outdoors, travel, cooking
  • the ability to cross train in adjacent technology that I am not great at (yet)
  • small to mid size organizations (or well defined units within a large company)

No thanks:

  • business models based on manipulation of users’ behaviors
  • “hardcore”

If you have made it this far and would like to learn more about me, here are some useful links:

Here are some great resources I have found for aiding in a job search.

  • Angela Riggs’ Job Search Template offers a simple but highly effective template in Trello for keeping track of roles you are considering and where you stand in the application and interview process for each. It took what was already a mess of emails and notes I had been building at this early stage and made it much more manageable.

  • Interviewing is like speed dating, you only have small blocks of time to decide if the company you are talking to is a good fit for you. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash: “Condensing fact from the vapor of nuance.” Charity Majors (who you should be reading in general) has a great article of questions to try to find those signals as you interview: How can you tell if the company you’re interviewing with is rotten on the inside?.