With me getting considerably more focused about my 2020 technology stack I knew that I needed to change the way I earned my living. I no longer wanted to just work on temporary projects and have the "just make it work" attitude. That never worked for me and I think it me way too long to recognize just how much it held me back in my career.

With the changes in mind, a 26th birthday coming in a few months, and the burning desire to find a company that fit my values, I started to do some recon.

The Search

At first it was the usual big-name company searches.

Apple had a couple openings in Vancouver for some roles I strongly feel I would have enjoyed. Web Frontend Software Engineer, and Front End Engineer (Javascript, Web Components, CSS3), Apple Media Products. I applied but didn't feel like that was my calling. I don't love Vancouver the way I love Calgary, so I wasn't really fond of the idea that I'd be committing to a position in a Vancouver office.

Next on the list was Stripe. They had a Developer Advocate role that really, really interested me. Now we were headed in the right direction. It was also one of their first offerings for a Remote-based position.

Less notable mentions but still super interesting were Electronic Arts (EA) and Jagex. Jagex was a super cool experience because they flew Jaimie and I out to London (all the way back to Europe!) for the final interview, and pampered us. It was a childhood dream come true because I played RuneScape for many years, the prospect of maybe working on their web platform infrastructure was (and still is) surreal. I might post more about that trip at a later date.

There were a few other select agencies and firms that grabbed my interest, but they all had wildly different technology stacks compared to what my goals surrounded and I no longer wanted to rely on passion projects to push my bar. I wanted that to be my daily experience. With people who loved writing code and understanding the internals like I did. Bonus points if it was in a FinTech space, but it needed to be at a technology-first company that had the same technical visions that I do.

The Stroke of Luck

After only ~60 days of intense searching a LinkedIn notification came from someone that worked at Neo Financial. Holy Shit! I immediately recognized that this is the company I had to work for. Even if that meant I worked for free (don't tell the hiring staff that though!). It didn't take too long to go through the process and after I received the offer of employment, the real excitement started to set in.

I already wrote about Neo, so I'll skip repeating the same thing, but long-story short, they're perfect.

City Life

Jaimie and I left our cozy little condo in the summer to go on a Europe trip. The plan was ultimately to just see what happened after returning home with family for Christmas. Whether that meant we returned to Calgary, moved elsewhere like Toronto, or checked out a totally new city, in an brand new country like London (UK) was unknown.

Neo sealed the deal. I accepted, and Calgary was once again to be our home. We couldn't be happier with the space, the view we had before is what kept me going, even during the toughest of times; so the view we have now (which is considerably better) is a more than welcome change.

Stampede 🏇🏽

The Calgary Stampede is a long standing tradition where our entire city transforms into a western spirited force. People from all over the world visit Calgary for the ten days of western themed entertainment, music, food, carnival rides, and fun. One of the biggest spectacles at the Stampede is Chuckwagon Racing. over 20,000 people gather each evening to watch wooden wagons pulled by four horses speed around a half mile track to compete for over a million dollars in prize money. This is truly the spirit of our community.
Photo by Bryton Udy / Unsplash

At the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic is the big media focus. It's ripping through countries and causing loads of health concerns globally. My biggest hope is that it settles down in time for the Calgary Stampede. It's a wonderful event and so much of the current gatherings have been cancelled (All major sports, Concerts and more) so if that doesn't change, the Stampede will either be delayed or cancelled and it was a major point to why Jaimie and I wanted to return to Calgary before the summer.

Banff National Park 🗻

Photo by Matthew Fournier / Unsplash

Now I must admit, that in the time Jaimie and I lived in Calgary previously, we didn't take full advantage of how close we are to the beautiful Banff. We frantically squeezed in some time between other plans on weekends but didn't take the time to go exploring the National Park like we should. This time around, I want that to change.

NHL Games 🏒

Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
Photo by James Yarema / Unsplash

I'm a Sharks fan. No questions about it. I love being so close to the Saddledome when they come to town, walking distance to the arena means no parking struggles, minimal hassle and the freedom to eat reasonably priced food (groceries) from the comfort of our own home before the game. Jaimie is a Vegas Golden Knights fan and we both just all around love hockey, so it's a great past-time for us.

17th Avenue 🎉

I wish I had more pictures during the night life but I just don't seem to. This is what I was told to be the "party central" of the city. It's fantastic during the summer months. Countless companies with patios, and as you can see, the occasional police on horseback. The night life gets pretty insane, but I like to get involved once or twice each year.

Calgary Central Library 📚

The central library is nuts. Just ... nuts. First time I walked into it I was at a loss for words, the quiet quarters are perfect for crushing through work. It's massive, has plenty of meeting rooms, loads of activities for people of all ages, and of course books!

Calgary Zoo 🐼

I mean, who doesn't love going and checking out animals? The Calgary Zoo has an annual pass that Jaimie and I have wanted to get since day one. Now that we're returning to Calgary, we have every reason to and spend loads of time learning about the various animals during all of their informational sessions.

We've had some of our absolute best days at the Zoo and I look forward to many more.

It's wonderful to be back. I missed the city, missed the sunny days (compared to Vancouver's frequent rain) and just excited to be starting the next chapter of life, once again back in Calgary.

It feels good to be home.