It’s official, the job search is over and I’ll be starting as a staff software engineer for ActBlue later this month. Why did I choose ActBlue? They are non-profit and while they pay competitive salaries, there is no equity. They have bonuses to help make up the gap, but there will be no big payday at the end of this road. At this point in my life, the idea of possibly hitting the lottery again doesn’t excite me.

The role

Before I left GitHub, I wasn’t sure I wanted to work in security anymore. After my first take-home exercise for a “first security hire” role, that sweet taste of writing code sent me back to a happy place. Initially, I didn’t want to close any doors, so I was looking at engineering roles at companies of all sizes in just about any industry (but still tech first). My network skews very heavily towards infosec and so the first round of people to reach out to me offered engineering roles at security companies. The idea of doing non-security work in a security company didn’t excite me for the most part and I had a slight fear that I’d end up going back somehow.

All three of the offers I received were for non-security roles. So what will I be doing? I’ll be working on the Authentication Authorization and Access Control (AAA) team. “LOL i ThOuGhT yOu WeReN’t DoInG sEcUrIty” ya ya, technically this role does report to the security org but it is a 100% hands-on engineering role. I recently did a guest appearance on OWASP DevSlop on this topic, and I genuinely enjoy working on it. Will I still be nerd sniped into, e.g., conversations about content security policy? For sure.

The interview

I’ve never felt more comfortable in an interview. ActBlue’s interview process did check most of my boxes in “The perfect interview (for me)” which was a good start. They seemed to be genuinely interested in me and I never felt like I had to prove that I wanted to be there (related: “Bro do you even code”). Everyone I met during interviews genuinely seemed like they wanted to be there. Having gone through what felt like a year of constant interviewing at GitHub, I know I didn’t always show up 100%.

The culture

I explained some of my minimum work/life balance criteria in my “boundaries” post. ActBlue has admittedly struggled with the transition to remote culture. While everyone works remotely, they are still transitioning to GitHub-level remote-first company. My experience in this area was one of the things that got everyone excited and knowing that I can influence this has me excited.

The team

I interviewed with people outside of the team, but I was able to meet everyone I’d be working with on a day-to-day basis. Everyone was very friendly and laughs were had in every chat. The team has used video games as a pandemic relief and that’s all I’ve been doing in my time off. There’s even a Civ player!!!!! One of my coworkers was described as “meticulous” which is how I wish I were described. I am mentally firmly on the “order” side of the order to chaos spectrum, although that doesn’t always play out in real life.

The company

The most diverse place I’ve ever worked was my first full-time job at the University of California, Irvine. While it was still white male dominant, many ethnicities were well represented. The school itself is fairly diverse, although certain demographics are absent to some degree. While a white dude was at the top, upper/middle management was dominated by women and people of color. The school itself was left-leaning and the workforce was even more so. Politics didn’t come up too often, but almost everyone was a democrat. My wife still works there and she said nothing has changed.

My first job after UCI was very different. One person of color in my org. Almost entirely white dudes. Most were of the republican or contrarian edgelord types. I would never discount someone for having opposing beliefs, but the things I’ve heard people say were shocking.

The most diverse interview panel I’ve ever been a part of was ActBlue’s. They are very upfront that this is a diverse and progressive workplace striving for even more diversity and progressive causes ❤️.

Getting a job to own the conservatives or something

I’ve never been shy about sharing my political beliefs, perhaps to a fault. Do I think Joe Biden is the greatest thing since sliced bread and the democrats are perfect? Hell no. Are the democrats immune from hypocrisy? Again, hell no. But do I agree with the idea that people are struggling to make ends meet no matter what they do and it’s out of their control. Do I think that systemic oppression is built into every breath of daily life? OK that’s a bit extreme but ALSO YES.

I’m looking to grow my understanding of things and learn about ways I can help progressive causes. I’m absolutely terrible in any debate format but being around like minded people will better prepare me for current events. I’ve always felt that I’m the left’s version of a fox news viewer who eats the spin and is easily outraged and while I may not grow out of it, this may be the only way.