So I recently made a huge life change in relocating from Blacksburg, VA to Oakland, CA - in doing this I ended up changing employers (from Rackspace to Tilt), becoming a renter (rather than a homeowner), cleaning out my house (multiple times), staging my house, rehoming my cats, selling my house, closing on my house, and driving over three thousand miles across the country.

About six weeks after arriving I wrote up a post about my move and ended up not publishing it. Ultimately the reasons behind my change were so completely specific to what I do and don’t want out of both life and work that I can’t imagine them being useful or interesting to anyone but a younger version of myself. The general theme around the move was that I was sick of small-town living and ready to try out a bigger city and see if I like it.

So now I work at Tilt as a frontend engineer. I’ve started out as a member of the public site team (we’re responsible for the company’s web properties - both desktop and mobile web). After working for three and a half years on the same team at Rackspace it’s been really good to start with a new team in the user-facing space. As an example of how different things are, Conan O’Brien has been using our platform to power a fundraising drive this week. This sort of thing never happened working for an infrastructure management company.

Technology-wise, I’ve been doing a lot of React and hope to have some new technical content up here shortly. For functional testing (browser automation) I’ve been working with (and really enjoying) Nightwatch. Mobile web in particular has been a great area of learning as this was something that we just didn’t do at my last job - mobile is a critical story for end user focused applications and a good chunk of our traffic.

Going back to being an individual contributor after being a team lead for the last two years has also been interesting. Selfishly it’s good to know that I still have a lot to add to a team in terms of the lines of code that I can crank out. The biggest thing I’ve noticed in making the change “back” is my own time management: there is a lot to do every day, and it’s important to prioritize tasks so that that the important ones get done while still ensuring that I’m able to chip away at long-term improvements.

I’ve been loving the Bay Area. I live in Oakland’s Longfellow neighborhood which is generally a “sleepy” residential neighborhood. Like the rest of Oakland it’s pretty diverse; this has been one of my favorite aspects of living in the East Bay after 15 years of college town life. It’s been good to live among a wide variety of people - it feels like I am living in the world rather than a very tiny subset of it. I haven’t been affected by the nearby protests other than seeing an unusually elevated number of police helicopters in the evenings. Since arriving I’ve been to three music concerts, been out to eat at some great restaurants, and drank some really great cocktails.

I’m an early morning riser and my commute is generally taking the F bus into the city and BARTing back in the early evening (the traffic makes the transbay bus a pretty slow afternoon option). Our office is located near Caltrain which isn’t conveniently located near the Transbay Temporary terminal or any of the BART stations so my commute involves 2-3 miles of walking a day.

After months of instability it’s nice to have all of the existential panic replaced by dull annoyances around commuter life and police helicopters.