This is an informational post for all those friends and family of mine that have shown interest about the new position I just attained.
It's at a nifty company called Zaaz. They're a software design agency, specializing on rich, interactive experiences (click the little "Open" button above the search bar for their sales pitch). They work predominantly on websites for clients, but also dabble other in things (like mobile apps) from time to time.
I got hired on as a quality assurance tester - it's kind of like the job I had at Microsoft, but muss less rigid, with a culture that suits me better, and with a lot less emphasis on programming and automation (which makes me very happy). They also seem keen on allowing me to occasionally help out in other disciplines as needed, allowing me to get tiny nuggets of UX and client-side web dev experience over time. Oh, and my round-trip commute will be about 10 minutes. I live, like, 6 blocks away.
On the downside, technically I'm not actually working for Zaaz just yet. I got the job through a recruiting agency called CampusPoint (whose website could use a little of Zaaz's expertise, incidently) and the position is a "Contract2Career" position. Basically that means that CampusPoint is actually the one paying me for a as-yet-undefined probationary period and they offer absolutely no fringe benefits. No healthcare, no 401k, not even a bus pass; all I get is a paycheck and shit to do. Still, it's better than unemployment, and if I can manage to work an hour or two of overtime a week (which is highly likely at a tech firm) that'll help offset my healthcare coverage at least.
Testing isn't exactly what I'm aiming for, but testing roles are not all the same, and this one seems to be a better fit for a UX-driven person than the one at Microsoft was. We'll see how it goes, but for now I'm optimistic. :)