Quick Question: When you where applying for undergrad, did you visit any of their campuses to get a better ‘feel’ of the institution? Maybe even had an overnight to really experience a few hours of the real deal? Wasn’t it great?
Another Quick Question: When you where applying for jobs, did you ever actually talked to an employee to get a ‘feel’ of the company that was not during an interview? Thought not. Accepting a job offer needs to be treated the same as accepting a college admission. You’ll be spending the vast majority of your day at the office; you want to make sure it’s a good fit for both of you.
For me personally, I accepted Next Jump because it provides me with the opportunity to grow as a well-rounded person. I don’t see myself as a code monkey clocking in to put bread on the table, but rather as a Next Jumper who gives it his all to improve a company that helps him grow in different fronts.
With that being said, welcome to Next Jump! The name is Ezra, nice to meet you. No, no, the pleasure is all mine. Let me answer a few questions that might be buzzing in your head. Who exactly am I?
I’m Ezra, a software engineer in the Next Jump Boston office. I got my Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Cinema & Media Studies at Carleton College and my Master of Professional Studies in Interactive Telecommunications at New York University. I’ve been with Next Jump since June 2012.
What do I do?
I work within the Rewards & Institution (R&I) pod. First, a pod is what you think if I say a pod of whales; a group. Our pod’s focus is to build solutions to drive customer engagement for affiliate partners who face challenges with customer acquisition and loyalty. In case you fell asleep reading that: we provide the extra love & nurturing for organizations that need some extra attention. Pods range from helping organizations as a whole to building & maintaining a very specific products (like the travel widget) which get used throughout our framework.
What I wish they told me in school?
Meetings and decks will become part of your daily life. Sure, I would like to think of myself as a developer who’s coding all day, but I’m also attending meetings and creating decks for the pod. These meetings range from presenting weekly results to the whole company to discussing the next steps for a project with select pod members. These meetings and decks help my co-workers & I all be on the same page.
What do you do to keep sane at work?
This is where having a gym on-site has been a godsend. I used to run Track & Field in undergrad, so after a full day of classes I was able to hit the track and recharge my mind & body before heading off to do homework for the night. I apply the same idea at Next Jump; after a few long hours of coding (and meetings), I head over to the gym to clear my mind and give my body a much needed boost. Then it’s off again to coding for a few more hours.
What hours do you keep at work?
This one took me a bit to wrap my head around: We don’t keep ‘work hours’. It is not about clocking a steady 9 to 5 during the weekday, it’s about getting further into our projects and meeting the required deadlines. It’s also about knowing when we work best. I am the most efficient in the morning and late evening, so I tailor my work schedule to fit my efficiency. But if you must really know, I’m typically in the office by 9:30AM and leave around 8:30PM.
How’s your life-work balance coming?
This really depends on how you’re looking at it (glass half-full / half-empty). Most people see life & work as two separate entities that can co-exist but never intertwine with each one; I prefer to see it as two entities having a symbiotic relationship. Socializing on the job is constantly happening, be it a friendly (read: fiercely competitive) ping-pong patch, spotting a buddy on the bench press in the gym, to attending Coronitas. Coronitas, by the way, is when the whole office gathers together on Friday evenings to celebrate individual & group accomplishments, which is then followed by a social group activity. When it was my turn to run the activity a few weeks ago, I hand-built a carnival-style roll-pin game. It was a bigger hit than I envisioned; a few co-workers kept playing after the event was over.
So you code, attend meetings, and lift all day?
I’m also involved with Next Jump in a few different ways. A few months ago I became the ‘Left Hand’ of my fitness team (Team Apollo) & of the team in-charge of Super Saturday. At Next Jump, groups are made up of a captain, a coach, and Left & Right Hands (think of it as helpers to the captain). As a Left-Hand for Team Apollo, I rally & encourage my teammates to get at least two workouts a week, which include anything from lifting to dancing to playing ping-pong. As for Super Saturday, I’m responsible for making sure other team leaders (catering, testing, hospitality, etc) are meeting their requirements, on track, and helping them out in any way possible. Overall it’s an opportunity that Next Jump has given me to foster my leadership, soft & social skills, and confidence that otherwise would not be possible if I was just doing my ‘job description’.
Do you ever get time to eat?
A good meal means a quiet stomach and a happy Ezra. Given that we work long hours, Next Jump provides us with healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. I personally think it’s a great benefit; I don’t have to beat the breakfast/lunch rush or worry about dinner plans and gives me back time to concentrate on my work. Since the food options provided are healthy, I also don’t have to worry about post-lunch food-coma kicking in and taking away my valuable time.
Am I always creating the next big thing?
Unlike college, where we were constantly coding new projects from scratch every week as a way to learn, I am mostly doing maintenance, fixes, and upgrades to existing projects. It’s a great way to learn how the existing code works and a logical way of adding new features to a robust product that users trust.
Do you do anything with your coworkers?
At the end of the day, your co-workers become your friends, just as your classmates become your friends. You end up going out to dinner together, throwing surprise birthday parties for them, partying together, and even dancing awkwardly with them. I believe this video sums it up quite well: http://jfh.me/boston.html (PS: I’m the Shufflebot)