Saturday, February 09, 2008

To everything, there is a season

I haven't really posted much lately. Some of you know, my life, it is changing.

My wife grew in home that was in constant change. She thrives on change and in some ways, needs change to feel normal. I grew up in a home with near pefect consistency. My parents still live in the same house we grew up in a town that resists change.

But as of yesterday, I have thrust change upon myself in a grand way. I quit my job of almost 10 years and said goodbye to the only place I've worked professionaly. Now, I'm not an idiot. I didn't just quit to be unemployed. I think I'm the only person I know that has been continuously employed for 23 years (I'm 38 - not 60). I've never been laid off and I've never been fired or quit without either already working a second job or leaving to go to another job. This string continues and I'm moving to a new employer.

In the spring of 1998, I was the Assistant Manager at a OnCue store, a brand of Musicland. It was an OK job, but I was going to school for Computer Science. Not exactly the career I was studying for. My faculty advisor approached me one day with an opportunity. A local company was looking for interns to be software testers. The pay was a little bit less than what I was making, but the company seemed really interesting and would give me valuable experience for the after graduation job hunt. I took the job and began almost 10 year journey to today.

Through the years, I went from "just an intern" to the Development Manager. I became the architect for most of our companies products. I spent at least 8 hours a day here 5 days a week. This place and these people were definitely, a major chunk of my life. I really liked working here and I was very comfortable for a lot of years.

But the status quo changed and I found myself contimplating change. I started a process of just taking a look around to see what was available. When I saw the job market for computer programmers, I found a very scary sight. There were almost NO jobs in our market. When I'd finish college 8 years ago, there were jobs every where. It was a buyers market. But now...nada. This was the source of some seriousFUD.

The initial job hunt did not go well. I got one interview and now I had more FUD. After summer, I gave up for a while and just tried to focus on what I had, but the stress was growing. The company I'd been with for these past 9 years wasn't growing much and we were a long way from the Fortune 500. Now a days, I'm first and foremost a Dad. My family and their well being is the most important part of my life. If anything were to change the status quo for my company, what would I do? Its not like the old days, there were no jobs.

A Christmas miracle was in our future as the one interview I had last summer was finally producing fruit. That manager had called and suggested I apply for a job posting. I got the suit out of the closet one more time (casual attire at the other job :-) and did the interview. And this time, I got the job! But wait...what about my current employer? What would happen to them? My wife and I weighed all the options and thought about this for a few days. Actually, I didn't sleep for a few days as I compiled all of this. Again from the top, I'm not big into change.

We decided that it was best for me and our family to take the new job. And thus, 3 of the hardest weeks were on their way. My first task, to tell the owner of the company, my boss and friend that I was leaving. This was so unbelievably hard to do. I could tell by the look in his face, he was very surprised. I grew in my professional and personal life through this man. I don't ever want go through that again, but it is done. He asked me to not tell anyone for a few days. As he said, "The biggest rat is leaving the ship..."

Working with my co-workers without telling them what was about to happen was surreal. Going to meetings and helping them plan for the future, a future that they didn't understand, was not fun. I wanted to tell them, but I couldn't. I love playing poker. The feeling of running a great bluff is always fun...but this, this sucked.

Last week, we had a company meeting. This is how my boss wanted to break the news. He had some very good news to share and my story. I hope this helped. But their faces were also very surprised. These people are more than my co-workers, they are my friends. My heart knew I was disappointing them, I felt as if I was betraying them. But first and foremost, I'm a father and husband. In the long term, this is what is best for my family.

So I had a little over one week, a lame duck. I worked to make sure they could move on without me. All the while, I'm just wondering, is this the right decision? I have a corner office, a window and a door. I'm going from big fish in the little pond to little fish in the big pond.

This whole time, I just didn't know what to write. I wanted to write about everything that was happening, but I know people that read this blog also work with me. I need to see them and work with them. Until yesterday, yesterday I said goodbye. I got the last of my personal belongings in a box. A shock everyone's hand. I fought back tears. I know its not manly to get misty, but I hate goodbyes.

I know I'll be seeing my friends again. I'm not dead. But next time I see them, we will only be friends. I won't bump into them anymore in office. We won't just chat. I'll miss them dearly.

So for the first time in a very long time, I'm "between" jobs. I start the next chapter of my life on Monday. I dive into the big pond. I know things will be fine. But it is a bit daunting. Only time will tell. This weekend, I plan on enjoying time with the family. My kids are sad, this is the only company they've ever seen their Dad work at. I was on the same block as their elementary school. I could walk there in under 5 minutes. But now, I lose that.

If you've made it this far...sorry for the strange ride. I don't know if I've said this the way I hoped or if anyone really cares. But that's the story and this is my blog. Turn, turn, turn.

Happy Birthday G!


Sandy C. said...

You are incredibly brave to take this leap of faith. Good for you! Although it may seem daunting now, just remember the opportunities that lie ahead. Wishing you a wonderful weekend with the family, and best wishes with your new endeavors

Up To My Ears In Mini Horses said...

Good luck in your new position. While leaving a job that you have been in for many years is scary, as the previous post stated, there are opportunities ahead because of the switch.

Nap Warden said...

Wow, I didn't realize how hard this was for you. I left the trading game after 15 years. I had the same partner for 15 years! I cried like a baby when I walked out with my box of stuff. It's hard, but there are better things on the horizon:)

Like a new look for a poker blog;)