Simon Emms

Software Engineer, Technical Leader, Solutions Designer

I am an ex-Podder


Hey Simon, I'm sorry to be sending this. We've made the hard decision to reduce the size of the Gitpod team and you are affected.

That was the Slack message I woke up to on the morning of Tuesday 24th January 2023 from our CTO and my time with Gitpod was over, along with 20 other colleagues and friends.

So, guess it's time to find something else then.

One of the most recurring questions I've had in the past few days is "what is it you're looking for Simon?". The first thing to say it that, until 10am on Tuesday morning, I wasn't planning on looking for anything. But that ain't going to pay the mortgage, so here's some thoughts...

I have about 15 years of experience and I'm bloody good at my job. I don't want to be Engineer #7,384 at a company. I have been a technical leader at many places and want to go somewhere that would benefit from that experience.

The job title doesn't matter, but what I'm doing does (that said, bonus points if I have a job with a comical acronym). Dependent upon the structure, the ideal job might be CTO, Staff Engineer, Architect or Senior Engineer. The important thing is that I want a role where I can work with other brilliant people and provide the technical leadership to either the whole company or a section of it.

I care about what I'm doing. When I went to Gitpod, I took both a salary cut and a responsibility cut, but I did that because I believed in what I was doing. I want to go somewhere where I'm working on something that matters.

I like working on difficult problems. They're exciting, interesting and challenging.

In 2022, I did four talks in the UK, Spain and the USA (I'm still claiming KubeCon as I wrote the talk, even though I caught Covid the week beforehand so CTO Chris had to deliver the talk). This was something that I really enjoyed and I had very positive feedback about the talks. I don't want DevRel to be the main focus of my next job, but I would very much like it if it was something that I was supported to do as a sideline.

I want to work with a brilliant and diverse group of people. I've loved working with engineers from across the world at Gitpod, learning about different ways of working, different cultures and different parts of the world. Bonus points if you have a hiring policy that levels the inherent privilege of straight, white, heterosexual male engineers (like myself).

Remote working only. I'm fuelled by tea and I only buy the best (Yorkshire Tea, natch). After the pandemic, this really shouldn't even be a discussion point any more, but I wrote some thoughts on the subject pre-pandemic. I live in a beautiful part of the country and my desk looks out onto my garden where I have goldfinches, robins, sparrows and blackbirds cavorting around in front of my desk all day long. When I need 10 minutes away from my desk to mull over a problem, I'll go and watch my bees foraging. A quiet, inspiring office with good tea makes me work better - it certainly beats commuting.

Money is NOT the motivating factor. As a guide, I'm looking in the region of £100,000 - the closer the role is to my ideal then the more negiotiable this is. If the role isn't particularly close to my ideal, then the money IS the deciding factor - in that case, to quote Spike Milligan:

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't buy you happiness

And I'm not going to do a technical test. By all means, I'm happy to prove my credentials in a conversation, but technical tests are a fundamentally broken and flawed system. And asking someone with my experience is a waste of time (and fairly insulting). If you need to see I can code, you can look at my GitHub or testimonials from the people I've worked with.

Finally, the only absolute no-no. NO GAMBLING COMPANIES. Ever. They're a cancer on our society, preying on the most vulnerable people and who provide little-to-no value except to their shareholders. I don't want to go to sleep at night knowing that my house is being paid for by people suffering with addiction problems.

This is my ideal. I don't expect all of these to be met by my next role, but I want to get close. If you have something you think is suitable, please put a time in my diary so you can tell me about it.


Photo by Zdeněk Macháček

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