Life's Full of Tough Decisions

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Some important news. To kick off my 28th year, I’m stepping down from my positions as lead front-end developer at ruzuku and as co-organizer of Refresh the Triangle. I feel like for most of my career I’ve been doing a lot of Doing, and right now I really want to spend some time Learning and Creating. So I’m taking a breather to do just that. Also, we’re moving to New York City as soon as I find a job there.

So for the next few months, all my energy will be going into getting a job and moving our household to NYC while working on crazy CSS animation projects, training under a JavaScript waterfall, fighting SVG bears and the like. It’s going to be awesome. But it’s also bittersweet.

Check out this Pen!

Goodby Ruzuku

I’ve loved working with the Ruzuku team. Not only did I get to invent and build some UI features I’m still quite proud of, but I feel like I was definitely able to get some Ruby on Rails experience under my belt (including upgrading to the asset pipeline—no mean feat!). Abe, Rick, Miriam, Kamal, and Jackson have been great to work with, and I can say that this was the hardest I’ve ever had to think about leaving a job. But with all my mounting obligations, there wasn’t enough time to also work with the things I’m really excited about and give 100% to my day job. So I’m leaving, making room for someone who can give their all to the company. I’m sure they won’t have to wait long

Leaving Refresh

A few years back I started a web professionals books club. A year later, the local Refresh team stepped down, the entire book club decided to join forces and organize the foundling meetup. It was a powerful experience, and I loved feeling so close to the local community and working with the other organizers! But now that I have a full summer of conferences to speak at, I won’t be in the area enough to be the organizer the Triangle deserves. So I’m appointing local front-end developer and colleague Nate Hunzaker to take my place on the team. I cannot think of someone more enthusiastic about front-end development to fill my seat at the roundtable. I look forward to attending many more Refreshes—when I’m in town!

Rachel Time

I’m taking a few weeks off to catch up with friends and family, play with the technologies I’ve been dying to experiment with, launch a screencast, and test drive my new CSS animations workshop before diving headlong into selling the house and securing a new position. This period of time will be known as Rachel Time, and I will ferociously guard it!

Giving Back and Screencasting

There are a lot of things I’ve wanted to contribute to that I’ve been putting off, but no more! In the next few months, I will be pitching in more with Ladies in Tech, writing for Adobe Developer Connection, and even attempting my own screencast about emerging interactive technologies and NUI’s, digital storytelling, and technical components like web audio, SVG, canvas, and CSS animations. I will call it “Infinite Canvas” in honor of Scott McCloud, who coined the phrase to describe the storytelling potential inherent in the fluid medium of the browser. More on that soon!

Conferences and Workshops

My spring/summer conference obligations this year stacked up quickly. While I’m not making actual money from doing these, at least not enough to pay for my own health insurance, I love the travel involved, meeting new people and old Twitter friends, and teaching something I’m excited about—animations with CSS and web audio! If you’d like to come see what I’m so excited about, check out my current lineup (or recommend me for a conference near you!):

Training Under a Waterfall

On my monitor is a post-it of things I’d like to make and work on. The list has been growing longer and longer, and I want to spend some serious time making a few of these things come alive. You’ll see them very soon. A few days of focus is all I need. I hope I will dazzle you.

I’d like to finish taking my HTML5 Game Development course and study core programming concepts (so I can argue about functional vs. OOP with the best of them). I’m also taking some time to learn other illustration techniques and dig in deep with the web audio API. Oh, and convert most of my WordPress sites to Jekyll.

What I'm looking for in my Next Position

I am looking for a new position, but I don’t expect to find the perfect fit right away. In fact, given the few weeks I want to spend on my own projects, I’m banking on not finding Mr. Perfect Job immediately. I know what I want from reviewing what I’ve found lacking in previous positions, and I’m determined to take my time and try to get a better spread of these things in my next one.

I love creating, storytelling, speaking, and teaching, and I’m told that I’ve a knack for all of those. These things are fulfilling for me.

I want to learn more about JavaScript testing and programming in general, and I like working with people who create beautiful things but aren’t necessarily technical (so long as they label their Photoshop layers!).

My Expert Things, the things that I know inside and out, are CSS3 animations, sass/Compass, Susy grids, responsive design, building and maintaining large amounts of CSS, jQuery and intermediate JavaScript.

My Favorite Things, the things I am studying and improving on daily, are CSS testing, canvas, SVG, and web audio. Soon I will be adding these to my Expert Things list. I haven’t added them yet because I’m still in that phase where I’m actively learning enough that I can teach concepts as I master them, and I’m modest. I don’t claim mastery until I’ve sucked the marrow from the bones, and these bones are still juicy to me. That’s why I’m excited about them I want to work with other developers, and at least one front-end or JavaScript developer who knows more than I do. I don’t mind if I end up in a position where I’m expected to be the expert when it comes to my Favorite Things or my Expert Things, but I want a senior JavaScript developer I can collaborate with and learn from.

So I’m looking for something like that. Got a lead? Hit me up?

Life's Full of Compromise

Of course, I don’t expect everything to go exactly as I want it to. If I cannot find a position in New York City that meets my above description, either I will have to compromise on my expectations or accept a position in a different location that does meet them. It’s not the end of the world in either case. All I want is a stimulating environment and a stimulating job. I think that’s reasonable. I’m a good, hard worker with lots of curiosity and good judgement. Now to find others like me in a place I want to be.

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