Working again

I started a full time job last November. I’m a UCAR employee working for USGS. The job is 100% remote. I’m working on a project to modernize and replace legacy water use tracking and reporting software. The stack is PostgreSQL, Node.js, Nest.js, Vue.js. All deployed on Amazon web services.

I wasn’t able to get them to hire me as a contractor, but I’ve had very little interaction with UCAR outside of timecards and benefits. UCAR has good benefits and seem to be a good company. My only complaint is that the base salary is a bit below market.

This has been a large change from touch game development in many ways:

  • Working 9-5. There is certainly a lot of flexibility in my schedule, but much less than before. This took a while to get used to again and I’m still not thrilled with needing to be up at particular times for meetings and needing to coordinate vacations around work.
  • Javascript. The backend is typescript, but this has still been a big change from working in C#. Modern javascript/typescript is much better than it was in 2007 when I last worked with it. However, it is still a downgrade from C# and Linq. I do have to admit that it is a useful skill to improve.
  • Working with other people
  • Getting paid

The difference between this job and my last full time job is also significant:

  • Not having to dress up, pack a lunch, commute, and be trapped at the office makes the work so much nicer.
  • When I want to take a break, I can do something that I really enjoy instead of wandering around at the office.
  • It is harder to leave work behind at the end of the day, and I’m using my own hardware and A/C.
  • Zoom meetings are less frustrating than in-person. If they start on a topic I don’t care about, I can get some other work done.
  • I also feel like this job is doing something useful for the world. I’m more motivated by making a system for scientists than I was creating software at Raytheon. Even when I was working on the GPS project (which I though was going to feel useful), I was working on such a tiny component and the pace was so slow that it still didn’t seem like a good use of time.

Overall, the job is going well. I tentatively plan to stick with it for a while. I’d like to work fewer hours and have more flexibility on time off. I hope they will be OK with some leave without pay for the occasional long trip.

Wind River Range

We went to Wind River range for a hiking and camping trip right before Labor Day. The weather was great and we even had mostly smoke-free skies.

We spent the first two nights in the car at the trailhead. The first night was planned, the second night was because it took a full day to fix the two flat tires we got on the drive up. Then we spent five days and four nights hiking and camping around the Cirque of Towers area.

The plan was to hike this route:

I’ve also posted a gallery of photos.

Utah Trip

We had made reservations to camp at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in early April. As COVID became more serious and stay-at-home orders started coming out, we decided to leave Denver before it’s stay-at-home took effect.

It was still a couple weeks before our reservation at the Grand Canyon, so we started by going to Grand Junction and doing some hikes in Monument Canyon and a bike ride near Gateway.

After that hiked some of the Paradox trail.

At the end of March, Colorado issued a state wide stay-at-home and so we moved on to Utah. In Utah we did some biking and hiking near Blanding and Lake Powell.

Eventually the area of Utah we were in closed to out of county visitors and we moved over to Capitol Reef National Park.

Finally, we found out that the Grand Canyon was closed and we wouldn’t be able to do our planned hike. We headed back to Colorado, did one more hike in Monument Canyon and returned back to Denver to join the quarantine.

We’d horded enough food prior to the trip that we didn’t have to stop at an grocery stores on the way and we slept in the car or a tent. Our only contact with the world during the trip was at gas stations. Even there we only had to go inside a few times to restock water.