I started a new job Tuesday, and I think it may have been a mistake to have taken it. The money is a little bit better than the old job (a 10% raise), but now I have a 45 to 60 minute commute via subway and bus. I expected that part, and figured I could deal with that (hey, worst case I can get some reading done). What I did not know, or expect, is that we are apparently expected to stay until 6 PM ever day, because after all, we're eating lunch, right? Now, maybe I'm just spoiled in thinking that nine to five still exists, but you know what? As much and in as many ways as my old job sucked, it did have that at least. Sure, sometimes I would work a 60 hour week, or have to travel on a weekend, or whatever, but for the most part if I got my work done then I could leave at 5 (or fuck, at 3 if I really had everything squared away). Anyway, the issue is that from my perspective, I have lost three more hours in the day (I've been leaving at 8 and getting home at 7:30 at night) in exchange for another few grand a year, which, breaking things down hourly, means I'm being paid way, way less than I was before. I'm not sure if that is worth it. Not like I can quit soon anyway, because that sort of thing really looks bad on your resume.

And there are some things making me feel a bit suspicious. It's a fairly small company (about 10 people), with several interns and so forth. And nearly all of them are either students or young people working under an H1-B visa, and I suspect none of them have ever worked for another company. Hell, I'm 24 and the 4th oldest person there, behind the two founders of the company and one senior engineer. That is to say, they may not realize that this is not exactly a fantastic setup. I don't know, I may have a different feel on it, but one of the guys there, who actually hooked me up with the job when we came into contact for unrelated reasons, told me that the work hours were really flexible when I was first talking to him about it. I think perhaps he had a different idea of that that I do, as I'm used to being able to show up at 10:30 if I want, or leaving at 3, or whatever (yes, yes, I know I'm spoiled, what else is new), as long as I got everything done, versus this mandatory 40 hours of client work thing. I should mention that both this job and my last job are doing consulting of various kinds. Billing 75% is considered normal. 90% is really high (burn out, it's-time-to-quit high). 100% is just silly.

In all fairness, the IP and non compete agreements are quite reasonable, much better than my old job. Good enough that I can do consulting on the side (legally, that is), which is fortunate because that is exactly what I will be doing in a few weeks. But still, to only have 5 hours after work to do things? That just seems crazy to me. It will be much worst (at least for me) in the winter, when it will be dark by the time I leave and bitterly cold by the time I get home. That will suck quite a bit.

Oh well, I guess that means there are some more questions I need to remember to ask next time I interview for a job. And a couple of friends have started a consulting firm and are lining up some things for me on the side. If worst comes to worst, I can do that full time - I don't know who the client is, but there is a project coming up they are willing to pay me $110 an hour on, which will provide a nice buffer if I do leave. I'm going to give this a while longer, I don't want to have a 2 day job on my resume, but I'm not terribly enthused right at this point, and I can't imagine staying that long, which seems like a bad sign for a job I just started. Shouldn't I still be really happy about it? I don't think I am supposed to get bitter quite this fast...