I've never been in one company for that amount of time before. The longest I worked anywhere was from about 1996 to 1999, my first 'proper job', which was also the first years of my being a technical writer. Before that I never knew such a job existed. If I thought about it at all, I assumed the super smart lead programmers in a company write a product's technical documentation, instead of a total newbie who a week before thought Java was an island somewhere near Indonesia. Ha, logic. :-)
It's definitely been an incredible experience and none of it would have been possible without the unique culture at Sun. It's been commented on many times, but I'll say it again (also based on having worked in 4 or 5 software-related technical writing jobs prior to working for Sun): Sun Microsystems provides the best working environment for programmers (and ancillary staff, e.g., technical writers). I couldn't ask for more freedom than I have here. I couldn't ask for a company that puts more faith in the wisdom of its employees than Sun. I've never worked somewhere before where I can wake up in the morning and think: "Hmmm. How can I best help my target audience today?"
In this case, "my target audience" is "NetBeans Platform users", which is a big plus since they're friendly, helpful, and working on really interesting projects—writing complex desktop applications for a wide variety of end users, from pharmacists in Tunisia to technicians in Poland and from collision repair shops in Australia to war fighters in the US!
At first, I assumed the e-mail above was some kind of spam. (Or an April Fool's joke.) Then it turned out not to be the case. This is the handy gift I chose to commemorate this special occasion: