Well that fucking sucks

We got called into an unexpected all hands meeting this morning. Any time one of those appears with no warning is bad news and indeed that was the case.

They're laying off the whole unit and cancelling all the projects focusing only on things that are currently making a profit. So I'm out of a job ... or at least I will be come May they're paying us till the end of april and expect us to keep working till April 3rd (which seems ridiculous all our stuff is new projects in the design phase what would we do for the next month especially the bit I was working on which was a suimulation of the hardware which we now will never need)

So that sucks and given everyone else in the same industry is firing as well as the big boys like ms facebook google and so on it's not looking good right now.

So at the moment it looks bleak. It'll probably pick up I have seen a lot of people hiring just not in the same areas but maybe a change will do me good.

I was intending to go off to pax east later in march but now I'm unsure A: can I actually take time off given the new situation B: should I spend a bunch of money to go given the situation. Gonna clarify the first part and then maybe think on the second as and if that checks out.

It's kind of overwhelming right this moment but I'm sure it will be ok once I've gotten past the shock of it and got going with what happens next. Still I guess I'll be polishing up my CV and I guess I'll need to get a suit or something :S

Some ex colleges from Toshiba took me out to lunch at some dinner place so I had some comradery amongst 50's decor and I'm full of American breakfast and mocha milkshake which did make me feel a lot better. Well that said I'm going to go "work" on the new destiny expansion that came out today


Oh shit mate, I'm so sorry that's been dumped on you. That does fucking suck. Been made redundant a few times, so I know what the shock feels like. Buckets of uncertainty, numb disbelief, bit of betrayal and often worse if all the peeps you usually rely on for camaraderie are eating the same shit sandwich.

Sounds like you're doing all the right stuff - taking it easy and getting some headspace in. Also I agree that a change might be a good thing too. IIRC you're all green carded now, so you're not at risk of being thrown out of the country.

I'll like to offer a vote for small and medium enterprises - they might enjoy your volumes of experience. I appreciate that your kind of work is normally up the enterprise end but it might be digging around. If anywhere has cool little startups that need firmware, it's Silicon Valley.

Fingers crossed for you mate, keep us posted on any developments.

brainwipe's picture

Good news everyone, I finally found someone to employ me again.

Assuming all the various paperwork and background checks pass (seems like they are just waiting on previous employment verification and education verification all the other background checks have passed already because I do crime and take out bad loans the smart way under my pseudonym Dr Rob "Bobby Boy" Lang) I'm starting in the second week of April at Oracle as ... checks notes ... Senior Software Engineer in their LOM firmware development team (which is lights out management basically a separate soc that does server health monitoring and diagnostics inside all their servers).

It's slightly less money than I was on before but not by much and they are throwing in some RSU's so if those pay out eventually it may end up being the same or more money but that is obviously market dependent and they vest over the course of the next three years.

It's been an ordeal that as the passage of time went on got more and more stressful. It did get to be somewhat fatalistic with the lack of responses and constant rejections it did get to the point where it felt like it was a pointless endeavor. I was starting to get people in interviews commenting on the fact I was still out of work and making noises of confusion and doubt which did not help my mental state. This besides the fact that there are record layoffs (still ongoing a ex-colleague just told me the other day he'd lost his job again) so the market for jobs hasn't exactly been a picnic over the last year.

The conversion rate from application to interview was so very low, I was trying to put in at least one application every day and that would equate to about 5 calls a month with recruiters most of which I would never hear from again and then a handful of those would go forward to a real interview with a real person. Over the last 11 months I think total I had maybe 10 serious interviews that got into the later stages. That was somewhat clustered too in that some months I would just get nothing.

On top of that mental stress of searching for work there's the added fun that the US and California specifically is an expensive place to live and not have any income and of course because the american system ties healthcare to jobs no work means no healthcare. So I've had to pay out of my own pocket for all my health stuff which is not cheap on top normal expenses. That chunk of cash they gave me as redundancy pay that first got slashed in half by the tax man is long gone at this point.

I've been lucky enough to have savings I can call on which meant I wasn't as worried about the lack of income as I might have been but still watching that balance spin downward month on month was not ideal, it's also the sort of thing where it feels like wasted money which could have gone to other things.

Had things continued much longer I had a few plan b's. I was considering maybe retraining, there's a lot of money and jobs in AI/ML and with Cyb I have some education there (mostly forgotten ... what's a neural net again :D) but what little I remember is some 20 years out of date at this point so doing a course or something on that to refresh and learn the new stuff might have led to some opportunities (I did see a few low level firmware roles that crossed over with AI/ML and even interviewed with one outfit in the AI accelerator business). Another option was some less involved training improving my portfolio of knowledge in the exisiting market like doing something about RTOS development or IOT and wireless stuff. I've mostly done bare metal and there were quite a few roles that required knowledge in something like FreeTOS or Zephyr or VXWorks so that could have given me a bit more of an appeal.

I also considered some more out there options like become an indie game dev spend a year or so and burn through my savings build a game and hope I can then sell it, I looked at a few of the indie game dev's how much did I make videos and mostly concluded that would be a huge gamble and difficult to do in california the cost of living being so high even a "success" would probably not pay the bills. I did try getting into some sort of mainstream game dev role mostly via tools or support functions since without a triple A title under your belt or some sort of track record most of these outfits won't even consider you that didn't pan out beyond one interview at bungie (this was before they then slashed a bunch of their staff). Plus the money in games dev is pretty bad and they've been having their own layoffs so not many jobs available.

Anyway I'm glad things are sorting out and looking forward to the role it seemed like it would offer some new and interesting things to learn as well as overlap with stuff I've done in the past.

I've been keeping myself busy but most of the stuff you need for interviews is all the nonsense trick question optimization problems none of which really apply to real work lot of pissing about with binary trees or linked lists or sorting. Most of which in the real world you either just pick the best option or it's built in already or the situation is way more complex and requires a lot of thought design and experimentation to get an good solution. So most of that is tedious memorization of the "best" ways to solve the common set of interview questions about sorting anagrams or palindromes or other such bollocks. It will be good to get back to actual work and actual problem solving again.

A couple of outfits , literally a couple as in two of them, did actual mini projects where they gave me a week or so and a task to code which was a much more fun way to do things. One of them had me write some firmware for a micro-controller with bluetooth preferring esp32 but allowing for others (I had a few esp32 laying around so that worked out well) doing things like running a timer to update a data field in bluetooth with reading a button with debouncing and accessing an adc and averaging the value while flashing an led. It was a simple but more realistic project closer to real work and it allowd me to fuck around with esp32 and esp-if which I'd never really used. I wish more of them did things like that although I understand why they dont given time it takes and resources. Some of the interviews I did were really poorly targeted one of the amazon interviews was all about what databases to use for what problem something I know nothing about and didn't apply to the job in question (it was another firmware role). From when I was tasked with interviewing people I've been of the opinion that you can't learn enough about someones capabilities in the interview time frame to be useful at best you can get an idea of fit and personality and having gone through a bunch of other peoples interviews my mind hasn't changed.

Anyway I'm mostly just relieved the job hunt is over.

It's not all good news I filled out their work laptop request and they are going to give me a bloody mac. If I'd known that in advance perhaps I'd have thought twice about accepting ... :D

Evilmatt's picture


Outstanding news, mate. Bravo. And phew. Oracle by all accounts aren't a terrible company to work for. Server firmware is a good thing to get into too - I expect that the world of dev is going to bifurcate where the stuff I do will become progressively higher level and abstract and AI driven and the low level stuff will improve (Rust etc) but will become even more evil.

brainwipe's picture

I don't think this working lark is going to take off. I had get up early every day this week and then spent 4 days at "the office" and made almost no progress grinding out the new shiny weapons in destiny 2 and that's not to mention the absolute wreak its made of my progress on latest Helldivers 2 warbond.

I need that explosive crossbow and Helldivers 2 doesn't run on the mac they force me to use to "do my job" and for some reason they don't like me connecting my steam deck to the corporate wifi. It's practically some sort of black company over there with the restrictions. Not to mention the cafeteria only has 4 types of to go sandwiches, 2 types of soup, a salad bar, self serve cold cuts, and only 5 different hot meal options. An absolute farce.

Anyway In all seriousness it's been an adjustment after nearly a year of not having to get up in the mornings but I'm slowly making my way through the long list of trainings and setups I need to do before I can do any real work. The 4 days onsite was a bit of a surprise I'm pretty sure they told me 3 when I was being hired one of those "I've altered the deal prey I don't alter it any further" it's fine they seem pretty flexible if I actually need to work from home for any reason and it's not far to the office it's almost walk able (about 45 min according to google so I may try that some day).

They've got me in a little office not sure if I'll keep that or not seems to be some sort of argument between the boss and who ever handles facilities there who want to put me on a bench in the carpark by the bins. They've put my name on the door but by stuffing a bit of printed paper over the other name and I've been told to claim innocence if anyone questions why I'm sitting there. So I'll enjoy having a small office while it lasts.

Oracle is obviously a very big company and while I've worked for big companies before, Toshiba was pretty large but only in totality it was somewhat siloed so the bits of it I dealt with were a few hundred people. Now the division I'm part of OCI is thousands of people. I've never been somewhere where they've gotten to the point where they've had to put everything into the system. Every week they run the same set of new hire meetings with hundreds of people and everything is in the system.

That is both good in that if I need some bit of kit the system just lets me order it and assuming my manager approves it turns up unlike previous places where the only way to get new stuff is to steal it off the desk of someone who's left or moved or gone on holiday for too long. Of course I can only select from the things in the system plus all that bureaucracy adds some overhead to things. Still everything like HR IT and benefits are also in the system so I can setup my healthcare options myself by accessing the website and don't have to rely on someone in HR to set things up and find out three months later they didn't bother and I've had no health coverage that whole time because they are useless at their job like what may have happened at OCZ.

The office is the old sun santa clara campus which is pretty nice. It's also the site of an insane asylum which was destroyed and rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and at least two of the buildings from it survive so it's haunted by the angry ghosts of both those insane patients but also sun microsystems. Some of the people in the area around me are from the sun days I've not tested whether they are actually ghosts and or insane asylum patients.

I've been in offices that claim they are on a "Campus" but that usually means there is a small concrete bbq pit with a rickety bench and few trees at the back near the carpark where all the smokers hang out. Here it's an actual campus they have something like 25 different buildings in a horseshoe shape with a park in the middle and the carpark round the outside it's all nicely landscaped with fountains and all sorts. This is also one of the smaller Oracle campuses in the bay area, my friend and I guess now colleague who works out of the redwood shores campus says it has three different caffeterias :S

And speaking of cafeterias, this is the first place I've worked that has its own cafeteria, I gather it's somewhat diminished from the "good old days" pre pandemic but still offers hot and cold food at subsidized prices.

So it's going good so far, since it's the middle of the month I'll even get paid fairly soon so that's nice. Plus now my healthcare will be a 30 dollar deduction from my pay rather than an 800 dollar a month bill. I plan to celebrate by buying myself a new coffee mug ... although mainly because I knocked my usual one on the ground and it shattered.

Evilmatt's picture

Noticed some weird changes in the sort of messages I'm getting on linkedin now I'm employed again.

A lot of the same low effort shotgun speculative messages of the"greetings (username) I see you work at (company) that's great I love (company) they make the best (product). I think you'd be great for this investment banking role that has nothing to do with your experience or interests" form

But now I'm also getting several that are not offering me jobs I'm not qualified for but instead trying to sell me services. I got one guy trying to sell me on investment management another real estate.

I never got that before but then I guess neither kioxia nor it's predecessor Toshiba memory were known names. They must be assuming I'm making bank here at Oracle and want to get a cut of that pie. Of course in reality I'm making slightly less that I was.

Evilmatt's picture