Expectations

Another week, another email from a recruiter. This time, however, I thought it would be prudent to respond in the hopes that this is a person who understands there's more to software development than money or technology. First, this is the message he sent me:

Dear Jason,

This is Steve {Redacted} with {Redacted}. I am a recruitment consultant in Tokyo specialized in the technology industry. Pardon my sudden message. I was given your name as an excellent software engineer.

We recently were asked to hire for a new Senior Software Engineer for one of the world's largest companies headquartered in America. They are scaling out many systems leveraging AI & machine learning sitting on container-based infrastructure supporting a desktop & mobile ecosystem generating billions of actions per day.

This is a company we've helped hire many people for over the past year.

This is a senior position and could be a major career advancing move, for the right person. I am considering your profile for this role and would like to talk.

Even if you're not looking now, we would be happy to meet, exchange business cards, and build a long-term relationship. Would you be open for a casual discussion near in our office in Ebisu?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day,
Steve

A pretty run of the mill message, and one that is just generic enough that the person sending it doesn't need to try very hard. There are typically three or four of these sent to me in the middle of the night every week, and most are clearly cut and paste messages or ones sent out by machines with the name of the recipient and recruiter dynamically swapped out to try and balance workloads across available agents. Usually I completely ignore these but today I thought it might be nice to respond and basically make the recruiter work for their commission, if they are really interested in matching me with the best possible company.

This is what I wrote back,

Hello Steve,

Thank you for getting in touch with me. I'm always on the lookout for opportunities where I might use my limited skill set to bring smiles to faces around the world. You said that my name was given to you. Could you tell me who might have directed you? It's been a few years since I've worked in Tokyo, and many of my previous colleagues have since moved on to challenges in other countries.

As I'm currently living and working in Aichi Prefecture, a trip to Tokyo is not something I can do without some pretty good incentive. Also, I'm very particular about the sort of company I work at and the goals of any project I work on. It seems only fair that I give you plenty of notice about this ahead of time, as many recruiters in the past seem to believe that money is my primary motivator. If you know where I currently work, you will know without a doubt that a large bank account does not drive me. I would never want to work at a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Oracle, Apple, or even Microsoft. These companies do great things, but none align with my core beliefs in the slightest.

In your email you mentioned that a potential employer is "scaling out many systems leveraging AI & machine learning". In plain English, this usually means the company is "employing algorithms to take advantage of people's personal information, turning them into products to be sold without the slightest regard for decency or respect." I love math. I love algorithms. I strongly disagree with how many companies employ these systems, though. If you could tell me a little more about any position that you feel I might be qualified for, perhaps we could see if this company is a good fit for my ideals.

Ultimately, any organization that I work for needs to respect a person's right to privacy, which means not selling personal data or otherwise encouraging addictive behaviour through well-timed, well-planned introductions of products or information. Any organization I work for must also be working towards the betterment of humanity in some form. This doesn't mean that they cannot be a public corporation or be driven by financial gains, but there has to be a mission that aims to leave a positive mark on the world. I do not believe this is something we could say about any "of the world's largest companies headquartered in America". In fact, the larger the organization, the less interested I am working there.

My apologies for the long response. Let me wrap up by outlining what I am ultimately looking for from an employer. If you have any clients who match most of these criteria, I'd be happy to meet with you either in person or via Skype to discuss the opportunity or to simply learn more about each other.

Any company that I work for must:

● be working towards improving people or places
● be environmentally responsible
● admit their mistakes / failings
● not offer a product or service that will result in the injury or death of any human or animal
● give every employee with the respect and pay they deserve, regardless of gender, age, religion, or genetic background
● provide every employee the opportunity to grow at their own pace
● treat every person who uses the company's product or service with respect
● understand that family and personal well being must come before arbitrary deadlines and profit motives

I understand this is a tall order, and my wife says there is no company in the world that can offer most of these items, let alone all of them. If you think you know of a company that aligns with some or all of my expectations, please let me know.

Thank you,

Jason F. Irwin

Do you think he'll respond?