I just turned down an interview with Apple.
There are a few companies who, when they call with a job offer you’ll respond with “fuck yes”. Apple is on that list for me. And yet…
A recruiter called me the other day. Apple needs someone and my particular skillset and background. It seemed to be a pretty good match, and she’d been looking for a while. An internal tool building kind of job, in a language I enjoy, for a company I admire? Fuck yes. Would you be willing to move? “Fuck yes.”
Examining the actual job posting and pondering some of the recruiter’s comments made me wonder if the skillset they were asking for was actually the what they really wanted, but it was still close enough to be worth trying for. It’s Apple after all.
But then we did a little research. For an additional $600 per month we could get a one bedroom apartment in a complex in some nearby burbville*, versus our 2 bedroom house abutting a park in Cambridge. Yeah, I’d have a bit more cash at the end of each month, but I’d still be stuck in a cube, in a soul-sucking burbville, in an apartment complex. Even if we could find a place by the nearby state parks we’d still have to deal with burbs, sprawl, and strip malls every time we ventured outside for anything.
Alternately we could move to some beautiful portion of Vermont and I could telecommute to my current job. The drop in living expenses would be bring me about as much additional take-home as a salary bump from Apple. Yeah, the project’s not as interesting, and the company’s not as cool as Apple (few are), but being able to work in a home office I created? Being able to causally fuck-off for 20 minutes without stressing about pretending to work, as every coder I know has to do, because it’s not humanly possibly (excluding severe autistics) to focus on a single task all day long?
If you’ve got the self-discipline to work from home and still get your tasks done on schedule, the bump in your quality of life is so dramatic that it easily cancels out many of the workplace frustrations, and totally trumps extra cash. To me the idea of being able to look out my window and see trees, to take a break to play with the dogs or chat with Dachary… That’s worth so much.
So, I thanked her for her interest, and turned down what’s likely to be my only chance to work at Apple… unless of course, they find a position I could telecommute for. Or, if they set up shop in the middle of the woods. ;)
A good life is better than a good paycheck any day of the week. Even if that paycheck’s from a great company.
* I consider track housing to be the urban planning equivalent of the office cubicle. The lower half of California is rife with these things, and the more standard burbs aren’t much better if you ask me, but just to be clear: I do currently live in Cambridge MA, which is pretty far from a view of beautiful trees, but I do love this city, and if I’m not in the woods, it’s one of the few places I’d be happy living. That being said, we have been discussing finding a place in VT with trees, and a nice net connection. ;)