I don't know which is more sad: the fact that I haven't had a single interview since I got laid off from Be; the fact that Be's auction was held yesterday; or the fact that I still care.
While I don't have a degree in anything yet, I have seven years of technical support and quality assurance experience under my belt. You would think that would at least get me a tech support job again right? Apparently not. Add to that the fact that I've been programming in various languages on various platforms since 1984, and you would think that I'd at least qualify for a junior development position right? Nope, guess not. What about the fact that most of my former bosses rave about me and the quality of my work? Don't even think that'll get me some where. How about my HTML, PHP, PostgreSQL, and Unix administration skills? Forget about them.
To put it simply, I'm pretty much at the bottom of the barrel, with unemployment about to run out. So what can I do? Just the things I've been avoiding all this time: 1) start my own business; 2) work for some retail company and be highly under paid; or 3) go work for a fast food place and consider ways of putting myself out of my misery. But is there yet and option 4? Could I not continue to search for new opportunities until I am truly a wretched thing? Hmm.... that seems to me to be a reasonable option considering the alternatives. Of course, option 1 is also beginning to look mighty good though I have no idea how I'd be able to pull it off.
The next item up is the auction at Be. Yesterday was probably the official last death knoll for the once greatly underrated, but highly loved company. During my short 1.67 years there, I had a lot of fun, a lot of frustration, and many opportunities to learn. I think about the opportunities Be missed just while I was there and wonder how great the company could've been doing now. No one listened to me, at Be, when after the release of BeOS 5 PE that we had the opportunity to gain alot of ground. No one listened to me, when I said that we could ride the then cresting wave of anti-Microsoft sentiment by just pushing a little harder on the BeOS front. I honestly believe, to this day, that had we pushed BeOS a little harder, such as getting BONE and the OpenGL rewrites into public beta in the summer of 2000, that BeOS would've captured a huge amount of market share. Combine that with a bit of clever marketing at a time when we had no BeOS marketing urge at all, and I think Be would've been pulling in significant revenues. At least enough to have survived the horrible market of 2001. But that's just me; a person that has watched a few of his employers do truly stupid things and drive themselves out of business.
So why do I still care? For me, Be was more than an employment opportunity. It was much more like a family. I even liked the people I didn't know that well, and respected the co-workers I didn't like. I felt like I was walking among gods every single day I worked there. When I went for my in person interview, I almost had a heart attack when I discovered that I was going to be interviewed by Dominic Giampaolo. I couldn't wait to work in the same building as Marco Nelissen. I was eager to have the aura of knowledge flow over me from so many of the great engineers and near legendary employees. Was I disappointed? Hell no! Even when I was working in the Quality Assurance department, swearing that I was going to get fired at any moment, by one of two bosses that just didn't seem to have a clue, I was eager to go to work every single day.
I can't say that about any other job I've had. Even when I learned that I was being laid off, I was looking forward to going back into the office for the following two weeks, working as if nothing happened. Even after my clueless boss took my key the day after I was officially laid off and was asked not to come back, I understood that it was necessary to prolong Be's life. I was just sorely hurt that I wasn't considered for my abilities above and beyond technical support and quality assurance to keep on with the adventure. I would gladly have taken a pay cut to keep myself in the presence of these greats at Palm. But I wasn't considered an asset. I'm still a bit stung by that barb, but I'm past it.
I just hope in my heart that I can find an employer that can become as much family as friends and co-workers as Be did. And I hope that all my former co-workers are doing well at whatever it is that they're doing. And I hope that all my friends are happy and doing well. And most of all, I hope my wife knows how much I love her.