My time in Austin, TX is drawing to a close. Next week I am moving to the Bay Area. (Alameda Island if you know the area.)
I got a new job in downtown San Francisco. I have been working there since Nov 11, 2013. I spent the first week actually in SF, staying in a hotel downtown, and I’ve been working from home here in Austin after that. (If you’ve been reading along, I went full time as a girl on Nov 9th…)
The office is closed for remodeling right now, so they figured rather than ask me to move out there and then work from home anyhow, why not just stay here in Austin for an extra month and enjoy the holidays here… and then move when things are very slow and we’re closed for the holiday break.
My old gig was for a company that I’m going to call Intergalactic Probes. (That’s not actually the name, hehe.) I worked on the team that kept all customer-facing web assets up and running. If someone from outside of the company could reach it, my team owned it. It was our job to ensure the stability and uptime of the website, a mission we took very seriously.
I’m proud to say that when I got there the website was really up-and-down, but 2013 was the highest level of stability that ip.com had ever seen in the company history. (Again, not the real URL!) I can’t take the credit for that, I was just a member of the team that did it, but it was a good challenge. One of our subdomains was “sine.ip.com” and the joke inside the company is that we named it that as a warning to our customers that it goes up and down and up and down. 🙂
The old gig was very corporate. There were 7,000 employes in the company and it was publicly traded, which meant things like SOX were very much in effect.
The new gig is … totally different.
It’s a small company – around 200 – and while it’s not a startup, it’s way smaller and way more laid back. There are more people in the eCommerce team at IP than there are in the entire company here.
I’m on the operations team for the company’s products. We operate at a much bigger scale than I ever did at IP. At IP my team worked with dozens of production servers – here we have thousands. It’s going to take me a while to get spun up, but I’m enjoying all of the new things I’m getting to learn.
If there’s one thing I learned at IP, it’s that I am not a corporate kinda gal. When I worked for the school I was on a small team. We had the power to do whatever we needed to do to get things done. At IP it was heavily siloed, which I found extremely frustrating. What seemed like simple things to me became very complex because suddenly I was having to do cross-team communication and all sorts of cross-team things to do what felt like something that should have just taken me a few minutes to do.
I know this is very normal in corporate environments. The folks on my team were largely from the corporate background and were just used to it. Their normal response is “yeah, that’s how it works.” And I get that. In a big company, it has to be siloed like that… that’s how I was able to leave and it was not a big deal. My total impact, while important to the area I had control over, was not that huge in scope. It’s easy to replace someone in that sort of situation because everyone’s roles are well defined. I get it!
It’s just not my style. I like being on a small team that owns the entire stack.
I have zero ill will against IP. If I had kids and my job was not the main thing in my life, it might have been a paradise. They treat the employees very well and the management is very easy to work with. They were super, super nice to me and I am very thankful for that. Most of the people I worked with were either parents, or planning on being parents, and in that sort of lifestyle, IP is a great place to work.
I dreaded for years how I was going to come out at work. I’d been there long enough that everyone knew my by my old name. There were no unisex bathrooms. I am sure we could have made something work, but it was a huge stressor to me knowing that sooner or later I’d have to come out at work and tackle these issues head on. (To be fair to IP, the senior management of the company had my back and I’m pretty sure they would have done anything they could have to make it work!)
Oddly enough, even for a company that’s 30+ years old and founded and headquartered in Austin, I would have been the first openly trans employee. I’m not sure that’s an honor I really wanted to have.
On my first day at the new job, it went like this. “Hi everyone. This is Bunny. She’s our new engineer.” …and that was that. All the stress I had of coming out at work, and it was over in like three or four seconds. Switching jobs was the right move without a doubt! It took all of the stress away. I guess that’s a big benefit of working for a tech company in the Bay Area.
My new team is amazing. They didn’t even bat an eye. I’m just one of the girls there now. I wish all transwomen were as lucky as I am in this regard.
I was in the Bay Area last week looking for an apartment. I knew I had found the right place when the apartment manager and I had a long, fun talk about house rabbits. Turns out she fosters for HRS and has four rabbits in her apartment. She even brought me a cute buck named Clover to hug and play with when it came time to sign the lease. No, I’m not planning on opening my doors new bun just yet, but it’s really nice to know that when I’m ready, there will be no issues with my apartment manager. 🙂
I always seem to find the house rabbit people no matter where I am. This time I did it before I had even moved in!