June 17, 2006

Four Years at Webshots

Posted in Me, Work at 5:24 pm by mj

I just realized this as I was waking up from my nap: today marks my fourth anniversary at Webshots. (My official hire date was June 16–a Sunday in 2002, with my first day being Monday.)

Technically, I’ve been doing work for Webshots for almost five years. As an engineer at Excite, I was, among other things, responsible for Webshots’ photo search starting in the summer 2001. I have fond memories of complaining to my manager, “Who the frell are these people who can’t give us a valid XML feed?!?” Over the years, I’m sure I’ve caused more than one partner to exclaim, “Who the frell is this bozo who isn’t using our API correctly?!?” And the world turns.

We’ve only made two indisputably bad hiring decisions in the past four years. There was the numbskull who tried to bring proprietary code from a former (competing) employer into our site (he was fired on the spot, and all of his code removed before we launched the product he was working on), and the guy who wrote more Daily WTF candidates in his short time than I’d believed humanly possible.

Today, the Webshots engineering and webdev team is better than it’s ever been in the over ten years of Webshots’ existence. Being part of CNET also means there are other engineering teams across the organization whom we can leverage for core infrastructure, and even, on occasion, bells and whistles. (One of those cool groups is responsible for Solr. I envy the people on that team.)

Four years in one organization is about the time when most people–even happy people–start re-evaluating their careers, and I admit I’ve been doing some soul searching myself about how to take my career to the next level. The things that make a job worthwhile for any engineer are being surrounded by smart people, learning new things, finding new challenges, and getting things done. I don’t have the perfect job (who does?), but I’ve found a lot of all four lately.

But the really nice thing about this anniversary? I start accruing an extra week of vacation every year! Yeah, baby!


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