Alright, I think it's time to catch up on some things.
First of all, I think it's about time that I mentioned that I am now officially working for youDevise, a company that works on financial software in the heart of London. I've just finished my first week, and I realized that I still have a lot to learn. The company is incredibly agile, and is a natural step up for me after having worked on all kinds of Java while at Asahi Kasei. I just finished my first week at yD, and it's been a brainbomb so far. So much things to learn, a whole new environment to get used to.
Having been unemployed for months before this, I had generally gotten used to doing whatever I liked, whenever I wanted to. Travel around, no problem. Stay awake until 3AM playing games, fine. Well, no more of that. It's back to business now, and my entire week is focused on work. I really have to get used to that again, and I'm finding it a bit hard to find my peace-point. This also has to do with the fact that I am still on the prowl for a cheaper apartment and have a boatload of things to take care of in my private life. A couple of weeks later I hope I will have a better place to live and I hope that I've gotten used to the job. By that time I might have a truer opinion of working in London.
Of course it's not like I completely slacked off for the past months. I did in fact do a bunch of job interviews in several different places. Some of the companies did not seem appealing to me, and in some cases I did not manage to make a good impression on the company I was applying to. In every case except one it was just a matter of mismatch between my skills and what the company expected, and most of this was to blame on overeager recruiters. I can boil down my experience with recruiters down to this: if you're a programmer and you need any job, use a recruiter, but if you're even the slightest bit critical about where you want to work then you're much better off finding a job yourself.
There was one case though, where I applied for a company I was extremely enthusiastic about, and those who know me know how rarely I get excited about something. This particular company made me want to go the extra mile, and I really did my utmost best in the interviews. I remember going there to interview, meeting several people one by one, answering questions to the best of my ability, and then afterwards totally blacking out on a judgmental level, unable to assess my own performance. A day later I thought I did well. Two days later I spotted some flaws in my performance. But it was only after I got the rejection phone call that I realized that I did not perform well enough during my interviews, on a technical level. It was (and is) a big disappointment for me, and I have not had a lot of disappointments in my life. I keep leveling up and opening new worlds, but on a rare occasion I do get confronted with my own limits. A welcome sanity check, I guess. It's been a while since all of this happened, and I finally have the feeling that I can focus on my new life here in London.
Looking back on the winter of 2009, it was around this time last year that I got the crazy idea in my head to quit my job and go cycling. Or rather, look for jobs in Japan and, failing that, quit my job and go back to Europe after a couple months of travel. I never did look very hard for a job in Japan, and part of the reason was that the job that I had was pretty much perfect. A low amount of stress, a high amount of freedom, and a captivating technical challenge. Today, having worked at youDevise for a week, I realize how different this job is, and how much new skills I will learn from this completely different challenge. On a personal level I had to leave my job in Japan behind and move somewhere else, so I could grow. I forget this sometimes in the midst of cynicism and sarcasm, but I do aspire to be better in what I do, and that is why I am here in London today. To become a better programmer, a better professional and a better person. Because I can always be better.