I just want to make sure everyone knows that I'm good at what I do. I gave a presentation to our department about the new application our team has been working on. Before the presentation the department head presented me and my two coworkers with Silver Awards for the previous application we put together. A nice little recognition which comes with a monetary award of $350.
I then presented our new application designed for the use of many of the people in our department. An application which the software team has created 3 times previously over the last many years and which the department never really liked. This iteration was enthusiastically received by even the toughest critics in the group who, rather than detail why the application wasn't going to work for them, said they liked it and requested some very small features which I then implemented by the end of the day. The department head later let us know that he was very pleased with the presentation and excited for us to get to the next application.
I feel pretty good. I researched and selected the Grails framework which we're now using to make our small team of 3 (now 4 and soon to be 5) incredibly more productive. I designed and wrote the previous application and drove many of the choices which resulted in the positive reaction to the new application.
I'm really enjoying my job. My work is almost entirely autonomous. So I get to decide how I'm going to do things, solve interesting problems, recommend changes to critical design issues and create good, solid code. My boss is great and my coworkers are excellent as well.
Because of the nature of the job, I didn't have a whole lot of information when I decided to accept the offer back in April 2009. I'm really glad I took the job at LLNL over the other offer I had. I don't think I'd be nearly this autonomous or happy at the other company.
The only frustrating part that I deal with regularly (aside from personal email not being available at work, though they are running a pilot program to remove that block) is that I can't write interesting blog posts about what I'm doing. (The other offer I had would have had the same restriction.) But the work is interesting and the impact is larger than I usually get to know. It's not unusual to have my boss say something like "Someone was using that new application and they really liked it, but we can't talk about what they were doing in this building." And since I pretty much never go to the buildings where we could talk about it I end up not knowing. But applications that I wrote are being used on an international scale to help keep people safe. And that's pretty cool.