This happened about 9 months before writing this post. I've joined a proprietary trading company, working on the HPC side. So far, I've done fleet wide data collection and analysis using Julia and Python pulling from large time series DBs, and creating Jupyter pages, installed a new job scheduler, written data collection code and specs, and most recently added support for a complex app to use the newer job scheduler.
I've enjoyed all of it ... its a really fantastic place. People are top notch, very nice, quite humble. They have a "lets get it done" viewpoint. I can have a positive impact here.
Cray was one of the best jobs I've had as well. Originally brought on board to help with HPC in the cloud, which if you think of it, a large on-prem HPC company thinking about how to survive and thrive in the cloud ... It was refreshing. I got to reconnect with many of my former colleagues and friends from earlier periods.
I worked with really cool tech, solving highly impactful business issues (not just tech issues). I was supposed to be growing a group to provide support for this.
Then 3 weeks after I joined, Cray got bought. By HPE.
I suppose I could end the post right here. A 1,400 person company where I can make a positive impact, being digested by a 60k person behemoth.
It went about as I expected. Which is why I left.
No need for details, Cray was a great company. The acquisition was an exit for (long suffering) shareholders. Sadly, while HPE was trading around $15/share around time of the acquisition, they quickly fell to $8/share. Only recently recovering to $15/share. This matters, if you had stock grants which converted at acquisition. Basically, a factor of 2 haircut. Yeah, that was painful. I walked away from the rest of it.
I looked around for new digs and found a startup. They looked good, though, as with all startups, they are lottery tickets. I put in my notice at HPE, and as I was about to start at the startup ... the prop trader made a ... good offer. More HPC. More hands on work (while I like leadership positions, I also like my hands to get into the beating hearts of supercomputers, and turn them to 11).
Basically, I'm more wired to be in a smaller organization, working on hard problems of value to the organization, or research that might have some practical value. I'm not as good in situations where there are long approval chains and significant diffusion of responsibilities. I'm good at making decisions, planning and taking actions. Cray encouraged this. HPE, not so much.
I should note that the prop trader is always looking for excellent HPC folk. The work is fun, the work-life balance is great (5pm comes around and I close ... my ... computer ...).