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Life after graduation – choosing a place to work

by Ammar on January 26, 2012

My job search over the past few weeks has got me thinking about what I really want to do in life. I’ve managed to narrow down 5 areas that are most important to me. Aside from what I’m looking to gain from a company, these things are largely things I would need/like at the place I’ll be working at for the next few years

1. Technology

The technology I work with has to be something I agree with. I would hate working on ASP, .NET or some form of VB, it’s just not something I’d like to do. People tend to feel strongly about some languages/packages and can learn to live with others, but they’re some that they cannot or refuse to work with. I’m no different; the technology I work with is something I’ll be stuck with for a few years at the very least, and it’s important that I learn to love the language and tools I use.

2. People

Work environments are made by the people. If the people aren’t fun or at least tolerable, it’s not going to be enjoyable working wherever you choose even if you love the technology and location. A lot of the smaller to mid-size tech companies spend time in the interview process trying to gauge whether the interviewee is someone they would like to work with and someone they can get along with, because having even one rotten apple in the bunch can easily bring the whole team down. For this reason, it’s important to work at a place where a team functions as a cohesive unit, and there’s no friction between people that pulls productivity way down and has a huge impact on the quality if life. For me, I need to be assured that the people I work with are “my kind of people”, smart people that work hard but know to loosen up every now and then to let off some steam.

3. Product

Brand recognition is important. I need to work on a product that is useful, that people use frequently and that has some value to its consumers. I would like to be recognized as an employee of xyz company, a company that people know and trust. It’s not so important whether the company is directly consumer-focused or if it services other companies, but I can’t be passionate about working somewhere that I don’t see the value in the product myself. What drives me to work harder is that I know the code I write will be used by many many people to do whatever they need to do.

4. Work-life balance

Another (marginally) important factor for me is having some sort of a work-life balance. I’m still young and (almost) fresh out of college; I’d like some time to make inroads into the open-source community, join developer communities and maybe even pick up a hobby or two. My life right now is wholly consumed with surviving an onslaught of class, work, meetings and cooking for survival, and I need to know that when I get home after work at 8pm or whenever, I have some time to do things other than eat and sleep. It isn’t as important factor as others mentioned above, but it will definitely factor into my final decision.

5. Location

While this isn’t a top priority, it still has a reasonable impact on whether or not I feel strongly about working somewhere. Being in Boston for four years, I’ve appreciated this greatly and realized how useful it is to be at a place that is both a tech hub and a college town. It’s nice to have all four seasons, convenient because they’re conferences and meetups happening all the time, and a great place to work at with young, fresh geniuses.

Fingers crossed.

From → College, Personal

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