Friday, June 26, 2009

Five years later

Me with a large beard and a musketeers outfit

Five years ago I was in a committee responsible for greeting new students in computer science and engineering at my university. We organized activities and parties, and made sure that the new students got their studies up to a pace that would help them through their education. We did all of this while putting on a theater act lasting throughout the entire greeting period of two weeks, for which I grew a large beard.

At about this time of the year there was a team building exercise where we were supposed to draw a picture of how we imagined our lives five years from then. I drew the view of a city skyline from a high floor hotel room. My description was that I imagined myself traveling a lot for work. That I worked on interesting, cutting edge software projects around the world. And that I made good money doing so, not really spending that much, since I didn't really see anything I needed to spend money on when most of my time would be spent working.

Three weeks ago when I looked out towards the San Francisco bay from my 25th floor hotel room at the Intercontinental where I stayed during this years JavaOne, I remembered that drawing. The view from my room was a lot like the view in the drawing. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the vision I had five years ago was reality now.

The thing I love the most about this is of course that the part about working on cool, exiting, cutting edge projects is true. Both of the projects that get the main part of my attention fit into this category. Neo4j is an up and coming database where I have the privilege to be doing tool and integration work, as well as advanced data persistence programming. Jython gives me an opportunity to work on advanced JVM technology and cutting edge techniques for optimizing code. All together a good mix of technologies, challenges and people.

One part of my vision, I'm sad to say, has yet to come true. I am not making as much money as I expected. In fact trips and conferences are rather expensive. But apart from that I spend about what I expected on other things. This is a minor detail however, I'd much rather work on projects I enjoy than be bored with a high salary.

I also expected that I would be single, since I didn't expect anyone to put up with my traveling, working and being away a lot of the time. I am very happy that I got this prediction wrong. My girlfriend Sara is wonderful, and I am blessed to be sharing my life with her.


Jonas Kac said...

Great post!
It's always nice to hear stuff like this! Keep up the good work! And soon the money will come to, but as you have pointed out, it's not the goal it's the means to reach them, and so far you are reaching them without the money :)

Emil Eifrem said...

Wholehearted +1 on previous comment. Very good post. And here's to us sorting out the big bucks eventually -- let's continue to build cool stuff, work on stuff that matters and create more value than we consume. Then the phat money will hopefully be a side effect of the Good(tm) we've added to the world.


Tobias said...

If you look closely at the picture (you might want to click it to get the big version) you can see the reflection of all the students I was responsible for in my sunglasses.
It is a really good picture courtesy of Nils Nyman.