Back From a Break!

Not to be cliche, but it’s been a while! Yes, I know that’s the usual BS you hear from part time, half-assed bloggers but it is fitting.

So much has happened since the last time I posted. A new website/domain. Several new jobs. Some life adventures. New friends. Love. Loss. A new furry family member.

Let’s start with the more technical side of things…

What are you doing for work these days?

Since my last post was technically written, in 2016 during my time with TripGrid, I have had a few different positions. TripGrid was an amazing experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor in Jake Gordon or better founders than Joe Stevens, Jake Hoskins, and Jake Horn. Jake Gordon taught me more in the year I worked with him than I had learnt on my own or in my professional education in years. Including my brief internship, I worked as part of the two-person core development team at TripGrid for just over a year from June 2015 until July 2016.

From TripGrid I transitioned immediately into a Developer Evangelist role with Raygun, a software application error reporting and analytics platform. Raygun is primarily based out of Wellington, New Zealand but also maintained a sales and management HQ in Seattle, Washington. Going from working with Jake Gordon in our dimly lit office in Portland to traveling across the United States to attend conferences and meet ups was a definite change of pace. As someone who definitely identifies more with being an introvert it was difficult at times to balance the business need of being a visible presence at events while maintaining a healthy amount of “me” time in order to recharge physically/emotionally and keep technically proficient.

While on the conference circuit for Raygun I had the fortune to interact with the Developer Relations team from SparkPost, Mary Thengvall and Aydrian Howard. After hearing about an open role on their team and a lengthy interview process I joined their team as a Developer Advocate in January of 2017. SparkPost gave me the team, support, and technical encouragement to go beyond just being a public face for the company. I really enjoyed the ability to get back to my technical roots and spend some time working on sample apps, projects, and interacting with their AMAZING Engineering team in Baltimore, Maryland.

So what am I up to now? Currently I’m working as a part-time Technology Consultant (contract) for the Multnomah Athletic Club here in Portland, Oregon. On any one day I wear a number of different hats ranging from software support engineer to email marketing specialist and even the occasional dive back into development to work on a malfunctioning legacy PHP application or some wonky JavaScript. I am constantly on the search for full-time, non-contract work but the pickings are slim here in Portland at the moment.

Are you still a Ruby on Rails dev?

When it comes to the tech stack that I work with most these days it still predominantly revolves around Ruby on Rails but I’ve been doing some delving into the esoteric worlds of Elixir, PHP, and JavaScript (focusing on Angular, at the moment). My recent job search has revealed some knowledge gaps that my year working in developer relations created so I am taking a small break to go back over the basics. I’ll detail all that in another post coming out in the next day or two.

What’s your favorite Ruby on Rails moment from this year?

Honestly it was getting to speak about mental health at RailsConf 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona! Mental health is a topic near and dear to my heart so it was an extreme pleasure getting to share that with my fellow Rubyists and other folks. If all goes well, I plan to be at RubyConf 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana in November giving a similar talk.

So what happened to www.jessejames.io?

It still exists but I decided to change up my social media handles to reflect the fact that I’m more than just my name and the town I live in currently. MarginalChaos was born out of the state my life was in at the time. I tend to live on/in the margins of most of my social groups and my life was quite chaotic with all the travel and health issues. So I was the chaos that lived in the margins…the MarginalChaos. Perhaps not the most original or inventive name, but it felt right and I haven’t felt the need to change it since getting things sorted out.

For the time being I’m keeping that site going (or at least the domain) in case I want to use it in the future or some enterprising individual wants to buy it off me. *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

What was this about a new furry family member?

After losing my dear little Carly earlier in the year, I finally decided to start looking for another little furry love bundle to add to my life. This past weekend (August 20th) my partner and I happened to run into a little Siamese mix named Charlie at the Cat Adoption Team location in Sherwood, Oregon. I don’t want to say it was love at first sight but that little guy definitely stole the show. I picked him up after his neuter surgery yesterday (August 22nd) and he’s acclimating nicely.

Charlie is currently rocking the Cone of Shame to keep him from going to town on his incision site, but otherwise he’s a happy boy. His only bad habit that has been noticed thus far is hopping on counters, but that’s nothing we can’t work through!

Is there more?!

Well…yeah. There’s always more to every story. But for today I think this is a good start to getting back into the habit. I’m going to branch out and do more than just talk about tech/programming here so if you dislike that I’ll encourage you to just filter by topic rather than try and read this all chronologically. Unless that’s just your thing, then more power to you.

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