January 21, 2004
Bring on the Food Pellets!

After two years of happy self employment, I surprised myself last week and took a permanent job. I joined Cerisent, based in San Mateo, CA. They sell the best XQuery engine on the market today. It's the most compliant, most scalable, and most powerful. I first met the Cerisent team 18 months ago on a contract gig with a company looking to evaluate XQuery vendors. Cerisent ended up being our vendor of choice. About 6 months ago Cerisent hired me as a contractor to help put together an XQuery course and some demos showcasing their technology. They liked me, I liked them, and now I'm a Cerisent employee.

It was a tough decision. One thing I hate about regular day jobs is that you get paid the same amount every two weeks no matter how well you perform (so long as you do well enough not to get fired). Save the company a million dollars? Two weeks pay. Save the world? Two weeks pay. As a contractor, the harder and more you work, the more you get paid. If you don't perform outstanding work, you don't get any more gigs. Checks are a direct result of specific work, and cashing the check makes me feel a sense of accomplishment.

Compare to a day job. At a day job you're like a hamster in a cage fed a steady diet of food pellets. No need to hunt for your food. It just drops in.

But I took the day job anyway. For three reasons. First, I like working at Cerisent. On Monday mornings I've found myself looking forward to work. The company is well organized and effective. Second, it's a young startup and so any outstanding work still gets noticed and (equally important) any subpar work gets noticed too. I can make a difference. Third, this hamster got startup stock options, and if the company succeeds like I think it will, the sky will open up and rain down a big old pile of food pellets. Food pellets like that I can live with.

There's a fourth reason too. The company fully supports my work on an XQuery
book for O'Reilly and gives me dedicated time to write. Plus they don't expect me to abandon my speaking and conference obligations and other outside interests. It's a good deal. I'm a happy hamster.

Posted by Jason Hunter at January 21, 2004 03:10 PM
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