Last month I started my new job with Merit, and just four weeks prior to that, I had no intention of leaving my then-current job. I had no plans to leave where I was, and frankly was excited to see various clients, projects, and initiatives taking off after much hard work. That was, of course, before I met Merit.
Before I continue, perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is Marshall Broussard, and I am currently a Developer Success Manager/Solutions Architect with Merit. Prior to that, I was a Sales Engineer for a fintech startup, and before that, a Sales Engineer/Sales Lead for a cybersecurity startup. Both companies were conveniently located in my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, A.K.A. where Californians move when LA is too expensive. So, I hope you can understand my sentiment when a former colleague began the conversation with, "Hey, any interest in relocating?", and my first thought was, "Yeah, but definitely not to San Francisco." At that time, leaving my last company wasn't even on my radar.
The next thing I heard, Merit's Chief Product Officer, Viral Kadakia was emailing me to schedule a screening call. At the end of a great call, Viral let me know that the head of recruitment would be in touch to schedule my onsite interview day. That day would begin, in true startup fashion, at 10:00 A.M. and not end until the late afternoon. Being flown out for a day of interviews with a Senior Software Engineer, Product Manager, the CPO, and the COO showed me that this company was taking things seriously, and this was my first green flag.
Fast forward and I'm getting lost on my way out of SFO. My former colleague picks me up at the airport, and we're on our way to an amazing taqueria. For the entire evening I pick his brain, doing my best to uncover the closet full of skeletons that I know is just waiting to be found:
"What is company culture like?"
"What about the runway/funding?"
"How well do departments communicate with each other?"
Are processes well established and documented?/Do they get established and documented as they evolve?"
"What's the worst deal that Sales has pushed through onto Product/Engineering?"
"What is the relationship like between Product and Engineering?"
I could go on, but those are only some of the questions that I asked, and I'm sure you are already thinking of what you would ask if you had someone on the inside for your next interview. However, while it may not be the case for your list of questions, the worst answer to any of mine was still firmly in the group of "best case" answers. Green flag number three.
Right, although I hadn't mentioned it yet, green flag number two planted itself firmly as I stepped out of SFO and into the impeccable climate of the bay area. Even with a few hours in climate controlled airports and an airplane, I could appreciate the difference between Las Vegas's 110 °F and this balmy 70 °F weather. Seriously, every day has been absolutely perfect weather here.
Moving into the interviews the next morning, I was again struck with Merit's organization - this was clearly a well-oiled machine. Studying the API docs, blog posts, and website helped me through each of the interviews, and along the way I continued in vain to try and find those skeletons by peppering my interviewers with questions ranging from the company's vision to the organizational structure of various departments. Spoiler alert, I accepted the offer that followed these interviews, and it was only shortly after that when I finally found the first serious issue: My new kitchen has an electric range, electric! And, while I understand that to many this is a point that may have gone without notice, for me it was and is anathema. To date this is the worst part about taking this job, and I have a good feeling that it will continue to be.
I'm only a handful of weeks in at this point, and clearly Merit has yet to lose any of its initial shine for me. I have been welcomed into an amazing team that has felt earnestly grateful to have me, and the feeling is decidedly mutual. Perhaps I will have to write an update once I finally find which closet we hide the skeletons in, but that definitely won't be today. I couldn't be happier that I quit my job for this!