I find that I am almost regretting giving up my job in Amsterdam. Of course, I probably would have been let go in any event. In the two months that I worked for them, over 40% of their employees either quit or were fired. My personal sin was trying to explain to one of the owners that we needed to take the time to engage in the arcane arts of "documentation and testing". He replied that if I couldn't figure out how everything worked from the code, I shouldn't be programming. Interestingly, the lead programmer told me that my code was some of the best he's seen in the company (in VBScript, no less!).
Now, I'm back in the US and have definitely learned an important lesson. Sooner or later, I'm likely to need to look for work again. I'm going to ask about their software development process before I accept the job. Level 1 companies are seldom anything but grief (and a fat paycheck, with sufficient VC funding).
Amsterdam: I remember the programmer who sat to my right. When he would bother to come in, he was often covered in sweat and shaking from DTs. He was fired for being incompetant, though, not for his drug use. Nobody there cared who used what drugs so long as they produced. I felt out of place being one of the few employees who didn't use anything stronger than caffeine.
It was also interesting to note some of their attitudes towards Americans like myself. One of the new progammers was an Argentinian Canadian who spoke English, French, and Spanish fluently. He and I were chatting in French when I noticed that the office went quite. I turned to my boss and asked him what was going on.
Boss: You speak French.
Ovid: Yes. I told you that when I was hired.
Boss: But you're an American!
My brother, who's British, studied French for four years, German for three years, Latin for two years and only speaks English. My father lives in Germany and speaks German and English and used to be fluent in Russian (since he lived in the former Soviet Union at one point). I have one of the most spread out families that I know. Why do I have to be stuck in the US when my family is in Europe?