Working in New York

I recently published a post which covered a bit about our personal journey in NYC over the past 18 months (approx.). Here I wanted to write more about it from a working perspective.

I’ve known Paul Holland and Keith Klain for a while now. I met Paul in person for the first time back in 2014 when we both attended and spoke at StarCanada in Toronto. About a month later we saw each other again in Sweden for Let’s Test. Later that year I met Keith in person for the first time when he came out to Australia to keynote for Let’s Test Oz. Of course, I had known both of them previous to these encounters through the online testing community.

At Let’s Test in Sweden I recall getting up early one morning to partake in a game of disc golf (yep, I had no idea what it was either… but it’s fun, so check it out!) which Paul was running. He’s bloody good at it, but don’t tell him I said that. While throwing discs and trampling the Swedish country side (and, as it turns out, collecting a deer tick) we got talking about Paul’s recent move to NYC to work with Keith. What they were doing, and attempting to do long term, was inspiring. It wasn’t just good testing work, it was also making an impact socially. I know our memories can deceive us, but I’m confident in quoting Paul as saying… “Do you want to come work with me in New York?” I laughed it off. I thought to myself, it’s too big a move. I can’t take my entire family across the other side of the planet. I can’t even comprehend what NYC would be like after living my whole life in little old Adelaide, Australia. Well, apparently I can. Approx. a year and a few Visa hurdles later we landed in NYC!

I’ll be honest, the move was tough. It would be one of, if not the, hardest things we have ever done. NYC for a holiday… fun and exciting. NYC to live… fucking scary. You can read more about this stuff in the other post.

June 1 was my first day on the job, and what do I walk into? A public RST class being lead by Michael Bolton, with co-presenter being Paul! I had taken RST back in 2012, but that was with James Bach… so I was looking forward to the course from a different perspective. Attending an RST class is a pretty big deal for an Aussie, we don’t get the opportunity very often while down-under (in Australia), so I was stoked!

After the course I spent more time learning about the business, helping out with some pre-sales stuff, and also getting the office organised (building book shelves, etc.) as it was only very recently completed. Travelling out to the South Bronx each day was an eye opener, but as with most things… you get used to it.

What the company was doing, and what they wanted to do, for the community was outstanding. You could not only take pride in the operational work you did, but also the positive impact you were having on people’s lives. It made getting out of bed each day that much easier.

My first and only client (as I stayed with them throughout my time in NYC) was a global financial services organisation. You can read more about my time with them here. It was a huge learning experience for me, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

The client work kept me pretty busy, so unfortunately I couldn’t get involved as much as I would have liked in the consulting side of the business. However, I did learn a lot from Paul and Keith. It’s unfortunate that it broke down the way it did. Early in 2016 Keith left, and Paul also departed later the same year. For those that want to know more about it… don’t ask me – I’m not interested in talking about it or potentially fuelling any bullshit that’s out there. Those that need to know, know… and those that are true friends won’t judge without finding out the truth from the source.

The client work, along with my personal life (trying to get as much out of the city as possible while there) also meant I didn’t end up doing much with the awesome NYC Testers meetup group. I managed to get along to quite a few of the meetups, and they were always well organised and useful. I didn’t get the chance to present, despite their best efforts, and for that guys, I’m truly sorry.

To my team in the ‘Chicken Room’ – You guys kick arse! One of the best teams I have ever worked with. An often frustrating and complex project, but you held it together really well. I’ll miss you all very much.

Tristan and Cochrane – Thanks for being my homies when I most needed it. Peace and love.

NYC Testers – You’re a shining example of what a meetup can become, the power it can bring, and the friendships it can create. Kate, Anna, Tony (Tiggr – yes, I left the ‘e’ out on purpose), and Perze… keep on doing what you do! I hope to see you all again some day.

Paul – There are few people that can make me laugh as much as you can… all while teaching me important things about testing. Thanks for your ongoing support. It’s a shame things didn’t work out differently towards the end there mate. However, I do look forward to working with you again in the future… I’ll make it happen somehow!

Keith – There are few people who can curse as much as you can… and get away with it! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… best boss ever! Thank you for everything. You went above and beyond the call of duty, and I’ll be forever grateful. I also look forward to working with you again in the future mate!


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