BY: Inha Leex Hale

Goodbye Zend

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As most of you probably know, I’ve been working for Zend Technologies since medio 2007 (first DevZone, then eBiz team). But to all things comes an end, and I have signed the “Termination agreement” that Zend handed me, which means I will no longer be working for Zend as of May 2nd, 2011. This also means I’m open for new opportunities.

The opportunity at Zend was my shot at playing with the big boys. There have been fun times, frustrating times, moments I will cherish forever and moments I have already forgotten. I have learned, a lot, but most importantly got to meet and work with amazing people, some of which I now consider good friends. But besides the good things, there have also been challenges, which have been ultimately the reason why Zend and I are parting ways. Ever since Matthew and Daniel left the team, there has been not much “team chemistry” between me and any of the developers of the team. I’m not sure if this is due to the cultural differences (all remaining developers were Israeli) or personal differences. Of course, the distance (they work locally in the office, I work from home, on a different continent, some 500 miles away) didn’t help in that either. Then communication becomes crucial, and if neither party is fully proficient in a common language, then there you have your challenge. The chemistry was there between my manager and me, but after he moved on to a job description that did not include managing the team I was in, the challenge became an issue.

Besides that, the job description itself gave me less and less of a challenge, ever since the initial (huge) project was completed and implemented. Over the years, tasks became to appear dull, and felt pointless and repetitive. It felt like “holding the fort” instead of accomplishing something or even making progress. Both Zend and I have attempted several things to resolve this, but no real change was accomplished in this. I can only conclude the description and me weren’t a good match, and at some point you just got to realize it doesn’t work out. I have thought about quitting a lot of times, but the awesome people and a feeling of betrayal to them when I would leave kept me at Zend. Now that Zend also can’t justify the costs anymore, it’s time to move on.

Credits

Now that the moment of leaving is defined, I can only feel thankful to dozens of people, who made my life and work fun, worth waking up for and going the extra mile when it was needed. I’d like to name a few by name, who caused an even bigger impact than the already-awesome “average” Zender: Thank you:

    • Boaz Ziniman, for trying everything in your capabilities to keep me happy
    • Cal Evans, for giving me a chance, and being such an awesome friend and mentor
    • Matthew Weier O’Phinney and Daniel Berstein for being such an awesome friend, mentor and teammate
    • Nili Gafni, Revital Hasenfratz, Shiry Benshar, Moira Cabrisy, Beth Gomez, Debbie Ottersteter, Avigail Ofer and Katja Reck, for giving me such good times and fun that everything else was worth it. If I could choose to work with you again, I’d sign without hesitation.

I could probably list every Zender here, had I worked with them more closely. I don’t know how they do it, but I don’t have hard feelings against anyone there.

The future…

And with that said, I’d like to make public that I’m now actively looking for new opportunities. I will not start freelancing (yet); while the frequent change in projects and the customer interactions sounds attractive, for now I still want the certainty of a long-term (6mo or longer) contract with a single employer. I am open for both on-site (Netherlands/The Hague,Utrecht,Rotterdam area) and remote positions, and even relocating is an option albeit that I’d like to find out first that the “relation” works, before the world gets turned upside down.

My talents lie in finding creative solutions that solve problems for customers, and I get the most satisfaction out of implementing solutions that save them time and/or make their lives easier. At Zend, the most fun projects were where through casual conversation or “watching customers work” I identified kinks in human/process interaction and was able to suggest and implement improvements, often trivial, that freed up customers (internal) to use their talents to the full extend instead of wasting it on no-brain-required tasks or going out of their way to conform to “the system”. My ability to see things from a customer POV together with quick learning usually get me the compliment of being fast, and the thanks I get for improving something people didn’t even identify as an issue is so incredibly rewarding. My whole life I have worked with customers in some way or another, be it in retail sales (shop manager), 3rd line technical support or development, and I can’t imagine a job where I wouldn’t interact with customers, internal or external. I guess I’m not so much a real developer, but more a solutions provider, and code is just a tool to make people’s lives better. Apparently I’m pretty good at that, judging by these quotes of previous managers:

“As a matter of fact, I’ve got to be pretty insane to have handed you off to Boaz, you are the best contractor I’ve had.” – Cal Evans, Resume review 2007

“You are the most passionate developer I have worked with” – Boaz Ziniman, performance review 2010

But I can only be good and productive in a good environment, so I am looking for a company/team that can define itself with keywords as “social” and “friendly spirit”. Communication is crucial to me, without “watercoolers” (virtual or not) I end up in a vegetative state. A high salary or a raise is fun for a week, but friends and social interaction (virtual or not) keep me happy on a day-to-day basis. Besides that, I need a target in my job description. Stuff like deadlines, roadmaps, goals, etc. A job description that can be summarized as “water-threading” isn’t suited for me; I get certainty and security out of being able to measure myself against defined expectations.

Should you have any questions, or maybe even have or know of a suited opening, feel free to shoot me an email at remi(a)wolerized.com (UPDATE: I’ve signed with Barracuda Networks). In case you’re a “headhunter/recruiter”: If you can only refer to the company as “a client”: don’t even bother, I won’t reply to your emails.

Thanks again to everyone, Zender or not, for making this time worthwhile. It’s not the blogpost I had in mind after this silence, and it’s a lot longer than expected, but I do wish you all the best in your current position and any future endeavors. I hope we stay in touch, and maybe our paths will cross again in the future. I feel blessed for your companionship, and I hope to update you soon with where I will be working next.

~RW

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Released: on Mar 30, 2011 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs (CC-BY-ND) licenseCC-BY-ND

Comments (5)

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  1. Timothy says:

    Best of luck Remi. I trust you’ll find something soon that’s the perfect fit!

  2. Michelle says:

    I hope that you find something very interesting to do in the future, with skills like yours you will go far :)

  3. Karla says:

    Dear Remi,

    I wish you a very good luck for the future.
    I hope that you find something that you make you happy.

  4. Thanks Remi for your kind words.

    I truly wish you the best luck for the future and hope you have more chances to show your quality as a person and as a developer.

  5. Katja says:

    Hello Remi,

    It’s just sad to hear that you’ll also leave Zend (as many other Zenders did within the last years due to the huge cut back on which they are – unfortunately – still working).

    I’d like to thank you for the kind words, and I wish you ONLY the best (and luck :) for your future!

    Best,
    Katja