Friday, March 11, 2011

Terrific Testimonial For (And Success Story Driven By) My "Handcuffs" Video On Self-Promotion

I bought the handcuffs video back in October. I've been working since then to improve my standing in the Ruby community and foster the Ruby community here -- organizing the Ruby-Milwaukee meetup, for example, and giving 3 presentations in various topics in December:
(mostly aimed at beginners, because, well, we have a lot of newbs in Milwaukee)

Right before Christmas I quit my job doing Drupal click-together-a-site stuff that was driving me crazy and not paying well (for lots of reasons, not really so much the Drupal stuff) and started hunting for a job in the Midwest. 

While I talked to companies in SF, none of them had a compelling product that I wanted to work on and who thought I was l33t enough. (A lot of companies want to compete on the basis of their competitive salary and foosball tables / RockBand setup.. one Lead Dev even stormed past the "this is what our app does" part and I had to stop and say "Wait a second, I just spent 24 hours doing research on your company to figure out why I'm passionate about your product.." and he said point-blank they were not looking for people that are passionate about their product, just good at Ruby, OOP, and Rails. But all the SF stuff is besides the point because I'm not going there.)

The Midwest is crappy in terms of jobs right now. Everyone I know that doesn't know how to code is unemployed, because even the coffee shops are hard to get a gig at. There's very few startups, and some big, high-stress high-turnaround financial/trading shops in Chicago, but that's not what I wanted to be doing. I eventually got in touch with two shops, both using Rails, that are just past their "startup" phase (entering profitable stage.) One's a startup, one's a consulting firm. They're having an even harder time finding folks that know Ruby and related technologies, because of the great gravity well that is SF calling out to everyone with a clue. So both of these shops wanted a "trial" period where I built a small project for them. I was able to negotiate a higher hourly rate than I've ever had, arrange the startup to get me pair-programming time with a shop that employs two Rails committers (as this shop had built the app initially), pay for all my transit to/from the cities they're in (since they're not in Milwaukee), remote working arrangements, and both are paying me as a contractor for this trial period, which means I'm making good money...

[important note: Matt e-mailed me with a followup. he hadn't been working with Rails committers! he'd been working with people who'd written popular plugins]

I'm now having companies compete to have me rather than me competing for jobs. That's a huge difference in the finding-a-job experience, and it's because I watched your video like 7 times and kept referring to it.

Matt Gauger, Redbull-addled, who should be quitting caffeine like you. The grammar nazi in my brain thinks I should proofread this and Redbull says to send it already, so I'm sending it.


You made good on a lot of the promises of the video, including two kickass jobs, working from home, and working with the stars of my community. And it was a really controversial decision for me to quit my FT job right before Christmas, but it paid off in the attention I could give each interview and prepare for them. Also spend whole days traveling by bus/train to another city to meet teams in person.

You should buy this video - it's awesome - or learn more about it.

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