Waking in the middle of the night..
I've never been one for tossing and turning in bed at night. Generally I sleep like a log – out cold for the count.
However – if I wake in the night – I get up and spend a while working which usually chases away whatever demons are lurking about in the cognos.
The past month has been a little hetic with interviews and a couple of projects I am working on – hence the poor frequency of posts on the blog – and I have been waking in the wee hours more often. In fact I have woken more times this month than I have in the last 10 years.
Tonight I cannot sleep and there are 2 reasons:
- For some reason I am worried about our neighbours who are expecting their third child anytime soon. Each time I wake – there is usually some activity going on next door and I check our front window that separates us from the lake and also looks down onto the road into the village. This morning I saw their car driving into the village. I hope all goes well – if things are hotting up for them. 🙂
As to why I am worried/anxious for them….
I have absolutely no idea. They are great people – but we aren't particularly close. We chat sometimes when we bump into each other – they are usually very forgiving of my Italian. Last Christmas, Settimio, the husband came up to me in the supermarket and gave me a hug & an Italian kiss (both cheeks – no tongue) and wished me Auguri (seasons greetings) in the supermarket. Being part English (by birth) I was surprised and a little mortified and being part Italian (by disposition) I was happy to feel part of the family. They live in a small apartment and have 2 great kids already – we sometimes hear them running around, or coming in and out – often giggling and having fun. Last summer they were outside with Settimio, all three sitting in their swimming trunks, throwing darts at one of the olive trees with varying degrees of accuracy. I was a little worried about my car parked next to the olive tree…. But only a little. A car can be fixed. A bubble of happiness – playing in the sunshine on a summer day after a cooling swim in the lake – stays with us forever. Even for me seeing it from the outside.
- The second reason that I guess is an upcoming interview at Microsoft on Friday with the VSTA/VSTO team. The onside interview is renowned for being intense – so I've been brushing up on my knowledge and researching topics I haven't touched in a long time. The hard bit, I guess, is that I am interviewing for an SDE and a PM role with them. The Product Manager (PM) role I feel fits my skills/experience/apptitude better – my coding in C# – for the Software Design Engineer (SDE) role -is, as I said on the phone interview, a little rusty.
There is a lot, and I mean a LOT, of info out on the Internet on various websites, Wikis and blogs from people who have been through the Microsoft interview process. I'm compiling a list of the resources I found most useful and I'll publish something once I have docked with the mothership. The most helpful so far are:
- Tyler – A top to bottom writeup of the how/why/where and when
- The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing
I've also discovered the Safari bookshelf by O'Reily – a great resource of current and past books on a whole bunch of topics. Great for swotting on topics you haven't touched in a while – or for just keeping yourself fresh with tech and tech thinking.
Finally – I stumbled over a couple of things over the past week that have been helpful.
The first is OneNote from Microsoft – a superb app for taking and making notes. It's been a big help in keeping the paper trail to a minimum. It's web savvy – so you keep all your references when pasting from websites when you need to supplement your own notes. It's a little quirky in places with some of the functionality not being intuitive but stick with it and you'll find yourself using it all the time. It's so easy to use and incredibly useful.
The second is a quote that I found on Joel'swebsite that I think is relevant to those in the IT environment:
Thomas C. Gale, the famous Chrysler automobile designer who retired in 2001, meant when he said that "Good design adds value faster than it adds cost."