I just realised that last thing I wrote on here was that I had a job. That was six months ago. Well, I don’t have one any more: I left last week.
I’m not going to write too much about my reasons for leaving, except to say that I found being a developer in a completely different time zone extremely difficult – San Francisco is eight hours behind London – and I just found that I couldn’t be as productive as I wanted, or as I needed. It was the people at Stripe that made me want to join in the first place, and it’s the people that I’ll miss the most in leaving.
It’s been an interesting six months, though. I’ve been to San Francisco four times this year. That’s four more times than I’d ever visited the US in my life up to that point, and something I might never otherwise have got around to doing.
If I’d never been to the US, I’d never have realised just how disconcerting it can be to discover that one can be a native speaker of English and still not make oneself understood in a nominally English-speaking country. The American dialect is far more different from the British one than I’d ever realised, and it’s asymmetric: we understand the American idiom from films and TV, but the reverse is not true, and almost every word in everyday life seems to be different, from what you sleep under, to what you eat with, to where you walk, and to where you perform biologically necessary functions. Pronunciation seemed to be a barrier, too. On one occasion, I even had to resort to pointing at the menu in a restaurant.
In many ways, visiting San Francisco was much more of a culture shock than living in France, Germany, Belgium, or Japan ever was. The Mission in particular was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
As an aside, I’m happy to be able to say that I saw nothing of the SF tech stereotype of over-privileged brogrammers at Stripe. Indeed, I was consistently impressed by the level of awareness displayed by my colleagues.
I’ve no doubt that Stripe is going to be successful, and I’m a little sad that I’m not going to be part of that. I suspect I’m going to be jealous of my former colleagues in a few years!
Anyway, it’s nearly Christmas. Time for a break before I decide what to do next. On that note, if you’d like me to do something interesting for money, get in touch!