Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Job Choice

At the beginning of the past week I had two job offers in hand from New York and I had to pick one. The two were:
1. A mortgage lender in Long Island, Reliance First Capital.
2. Kashrus, a Brooklyn company providing software to help kosher food manufacturers

I was really interested in the Brooklyn one, Kashrus, for a few reasons:
  1. Kashrus is a small company, and after some thought I've realized I like the working environment of a small company more than a big company.
  2. It's in New York City.
    • Most of my career I've worked in the suburbs or the edges of cities, while wishing I was in the city proper. The mortgage lender is in Melville, NY, outside of New York City, while the kosher food company is in Brooklyn. It's not Manhattan, with its skyscrapers, but it's still within the city.
    • That reminds me of when I worked at Maynard Rigby, which was in Portland rather than Hillsboro or Beaverton and I liked the location better.
    • And in comparison with my business trips to the U.K. where the office and places I stayed were in Dunstable, which was just too inconvenient to ever go into London on the workdays due to the distance and expense of train tickets.
    • So, being in New York City itself will make it easier to get around, for instance if the Brain Surgeons have a show on a worknight, I could go.
  3. Reliance has some of the team scattered around the world. And while that doesn't mean they're bad developers, but I've spent the last ten years doing distributed work, from the remote sites, and I think having the whole team in one place will be a pleasant change for me again, eliminating that particular challenge.
  4. Reliance is doing the same thing I've been doing for the last three years, the exact same kind of software, mortgage origination. Kashrus is something completely new to me, and I found that appealing. Never before in my career have I had two jobs in the same business domain.
  5. Doing a Google search for Reliance turned up mostly job ads, and about the only exceptions to that were blog and news articles about them being a "predatory lender" founded by some people who caused mortgage lending problems at their previous company, and I had to wonder how that would make me feel.
  6. Last but definitely not least, the interviewers simply impressed me more. When it talked to a couple of guys at Reliance they asked me what things I worked with, what kind of software and what-not, but those interviews were easy to breeze through. When I interviewed with the Kashrus people they challenged me. I had to read online documentation while we shared my desktop in order to solve programming problems they gave me, live... By the end of the interview process I felt like I'd already put a lot of myself into this job application.
So, with all of those, I got the idea that on a day-to-day basis I'd be more satisfied working at Kashrus instead of Reliance.

The Kashrus offer came a little later and at first it was $15,000 less than Reliance's offer, and even including the $5,000 they'll pay towards insurance is still quite a lot lower. Money isn't my prime motivating factor, but that was just too large a difference, especially in New York City where things are really expensive and it might be a difference between living comfortably and struggling with monthly payments on things.

I wrote to the Kashrus fellow and told him that, and within about 20 minutes he came back with an offer that was $10,000 higher than the first one, so that was good and I wrote back to accept it.

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