did I hear that right?

Feel educated? Try this geography quiz.

Huh. A special credit card for observant Jews, which doesn't work on the Sabbath. I'm wondering if I missed something in all my reading: it seems like they could just have a regular credit card and...not use it on the Sabbath.

    "My dear Watson," said he, "I cannot agree with those who rank modesty
    among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly
    as they are, and to underestimate one's self is as much a departure
    from truth as to exaggerate one's own powers."

    Sherlock Holmes, in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter"

So it's official, I have a job offer from Company A! I'm trying to slow down and breathe and savor the moment: talking to the manager on the phone, once it sunk in, I almost fell over. For a salary range, I gave them "a baseline idea of N1 to N2", where N1 is (CURRENT_SALARY * 1.21); they offered me (N1 * 1.08), plus 3 weeks of vacation. (To make the math complete, they offered me (CURRENT_SALARY * 1.42), or (CURRENT_SALARY * 1.29) if you include our bonuses, which happen to have been very good for the two years I've been here.) That's a pretty substantial raise, to a level I hadn't expected to see for at least another two or three years.

I have a fascinating mix of reactions to this. On the one hand, I know I'm good, smart, articulate, and have good manners, and that having all three of those in the same computer programmer isn't terribly common. On the other hand, I have a bunch of other stuff going on. The insecurity that I'm actually some sort of elaborate fake: this has not held up well over time and my habit of being able to deliver on my estimates of my skills. Feeling overwhelmed that someone would think to pay me that much: in general, none of my various talents have translated into being particularly well-paid by industry standards (we'll ignore the fact that my industry and profession bear little relationship to reality, and compared to most other American workers we are all obscenely well-paid).

And then there is the vision I was raised with of life after college, based on stories of my parents' experience, which, as it's turned out, has simply not been my experience. It feels a little goofy, because they worked themselves through college and graduate school and into the workforce, and tried very, very hard to give me a lot of really great opportunities, many of which I took, and here I am. But when I grew up, in the 80s, $500 was a fairly high credit card limit for someone with a good credit history, and if you wanted it higher, you had to call and ask. I heard lots of stories about years of eating macaroni and hot dogs, when entertainment was playing cards at a friend's place because going out was too expensive and everyone was young and just starting out. By contrast, I graduated, moved to the heartland of American technology with a degree in computer science, and immediately started earning more money than I'd ever seen before, and in general since I started, living within my means has included doing fun stuff like traveling a bit, eating sushi and Indian food, going to concerts and movies, being able to have nice things (for my peculiar value of "nice" meaning "looks pretty cool and I can beat the crap out of it"). Having grown up with a thoroughly different idea of what my twenties would be like, every now and again I step back, take a look, and it's all kind of surreal. On days like today, I don't have to step back, because it's right in the front of my thinking.

As the time comes for us all to leave here, I've been having some nice conversations with my boss, sort of reflecting on my time here and what I'll be doing in the future. Nice conversations, acknowledging the good code I've written and discussing the crappy code, and what I need to do to leave everything maintainable for him. I actually have a new project this week, which startles me because (a) I've spent a few of the past several weeks not doing much work, and (b) there are 10, maybe 12 days left in the month of December when I could actually get anything done. But it's good, nice closure now that I'll definitely be employed after I leave.

Second round of interviews with Company B sometime on Monday. Apparently they like me lots, but have some concerns about whether I'm senior enough. Lucky for them, the two people who weren't in the office last week are the ones who do more in-depth technical interviews. So I'm studying, preparing to get seriously put on the spot next week. (Amazingly enough, there are things I don't know. Who would have thought?)