Again, I've been away from this particular channel for an unacceptable number of months. I say unacceptable because although I'm busy being a parent and running an IT department I feel like I've bypassed writing about a number of things I've thought were either important or worth sharing simply because I've gotten rather lazy about doing anything here. I've announced this site either dead or sleeping so many times that doing so again would just make me feel stupid. Eight years after the first post that would be more annoying than anything and I'm much happier being directly annoying than through some sneaky and underhanded measure.
Point one: I'm entertaining job offers again. It dawned on me (mainly due to unrelenting harassment from a seemingly endless number of recruiters) that my current job is another case study in underpayment for services rendered and unbelievable scope creep (this in the sense that I spend more time dealing with budget concerns and phone bills than anything else) and that I should probably move on. That said, I'm waiting to hear about a position that is one of the best that I've ever been considered for and it is making me impatient as all hell. Part of that is wanting to leave my current job as soon as possible now that the option seems feasible but another entirely is how much more fun the new place would be and how much less bullshit it sounds like. The key thing that makes it exciting: No Windows servers at all. Zero. It's either Linux or OS X or a hosted solution (Hosted Exchange which doesn't sound terrible at this point) or doesn't exist. I've administered what amount to exclusively MSFT networks for a long time now and I'm pretty fed up with it. Granted, they're easy as fuck to make small changes to (AD isn't the worst thing in the world these days) but when something does go catastrophically wrong, between featuring some of the worst error logging I've ever seen and reacting differently to similar environs for no logical reason, shit gets painful quickly and I spend hours reading through horror stories reminiscent of my own on Expert Sexchange until I find some miraculously opaque solution or just burn things down and start over. I'm a little tired of that and the duct tape and baling wire feeling of my network. When working on things that are time and sanity consuming (this is, of course, the nature of the job) I'm haunted by the feeling that I'm going to reboot the machine only to have an NTLDR error come wailing out of its crypt like a malevolent Egyptian curse to tell me that all my crops are going to fail and my weekend has been banished. Do not like. There was a hysterically funny blog post I remember reading years ago (but cannot find thus no link action) that compared administering Windows boxes to being a member of a cargo cult, sitting in a palm tree tree with half a coconut held to each ear and pointlessly muttering "Roger Wilco" endlessly until you die and/or lose your mind and that sums it up succinctly I think.
The funny part is that a goodly number of potential employers completely fail to see multi-platform experience as a good thing. I interviewed a couple weeks ago with a ginormous company and completely aced all levels of the technical interviews (there were 4 before I ever talked a person face to face and each individual interviewer noted that I had a very easy time with their questions) then showed up at their corporate HQ for a three hour interview festival (hate these by the way, nothing keeps me snappy like sitting in a random conference room for a third of the day) which went swimmingly while talking to the developer and QA folks I would potentially be working with. Then I hit the stage of interviews that are typically easiest -- the direct interview with the person who would be my boss. Simple, right? No, the entire 30 minutes was dedicated to voicing his concern about my experience with both Apple and Linux platforms and how their business was dedicated to Microsoft and only Microsoft and how there was no future in anything else. He also turned a little red when I said that I manage my network from a Linux machine with a VirtualBox installation of XP for applications that are Windows-dependent and told me that 'That wouldn't work here at all because we use images.' Um, okay, so let's get back to the actual interview, dude. As far as I can tell I entertained all of his real questions as best as I could (including the weird DOS one. Wha?) and left fairly confident that I would have an offer that I would likely decline. I got a call from the company's head recruiter guy (who was swell and actually sounded more technically competent than your average corporate recruiter) who told me that although my interview results ranged from excellent to stellar someone else was chosen because their background was more in line with the company's chosen IT future. The recruiter actually seemed kind of embarrassed to have to tell me this and to be told that I would not have accepted the position because of the verging on platform-racist attitude their technical director had towards pretty much anything that wasn't Windows.
It was odd to say the very least. The more unsettling part about this entire round of interviewing is that weird 'This is my platform. There are many others like it but this one is mine' has been a near constant at least with the huge companies. In the other cases, it has been more like 'This position is not concerned with x platform at all and won't ever expand to touch that so we need to be sure you're not in love with that or actually like it or would know how to fix it if it were broken' which is equally weird. The company I actually want to work for, on the other hand, was really receptive to my breadth of experience and admitted that my Windows experience was worth having around as they're not committed to any one thing specifically and that if something on that platform turns out to be the thing they need then they'll adopt it. See, grown ups make me want to work for your company and bringing out weird insecurities in the actual interview don't Luckily, crazy seems to rule the process so I haven't even needed to decline any of the other positions and have moved merrily on my way away from companies who can't even deal with the fact that one of their sysadmins might have had a fling with another operating system. I feel kind of embarrassed while the interview is going on and wildly relieved when it over. It's been a learning experience of sorts but the Google-style infinite repetition quiz show and uncomfortably long and mostly irrelevant (you say anything attempting to link the above with my posting style and I will interview style that is becoming the default for even the piddliest of companies I'm about out of patience for it. The folks who were honest enough to admit it are as wearied by the process as I am. So, wish me luck with this one that I really want because I'm pretty goddamned tired of everything else.
I didn't get that job. The new head of the IT department decided to bring in one of his friends instead. Typical.