Onward to a new adventure

posted by Jeff | Monday, December 17, 2012, 7:17 PM | comments: 0

I put in my notice today, after about a year at my job. I feel like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.

I feel like I've been making some strides toward improving my life this year, especially in the summer. I've spent time learning how to be a better dad. I feel like Diana and I have strengthened our relationship (not that it was weak, but we've tried to make it even more awesomer). I'm getting back to taking better care of myself. I've learned to be financially responsible, but not too stingy to enjoy life. I also felt like I might be selling my professional life a bit short.

It really came to a head in October. I was in Orlando for my step-dad's funeral. Death is already something that forces you to contemplate life a bit, but my visit to Give Kids The World Village only forced me to prioritize and appreciate life even more. In particular, seeing how my best friend loves her job there, excited to get up every day and go there, made me think very hard about what I was doing with my professional life.

I originally joined the company because I saw enormous opportunity. I was hired in part to help them figure out how to make software more supportable and maintainable. There were so many obvious things I could see right away, that I'm sure many of my friends around the industry would likely take for granted.

By the time summer came around, my boss moved on to another position. I think he probably saw a lot of the same issues I did around the silos and cultural issues that made change difficult or impossible. The technical actions to take were honestly the easy parts, but literally decades of established culture made those actions difficult to discuss, let alone implement. The organizational structure, about as non-flat as possible, constantly got in the way.

I finally started to get honest with myself about the real potential. Long-term potential for hero status might have been there, but it would come at the cost of delivering quality software. I'm very passionate about that. Going back to my days of consulting, seven years ago, I didn't always write the best code, but I knew how to conduct a small team and iterate quickly, with results. I was fortunate to work on teams after that who shared the same passion to iterate quickly.

So an opportunity came up to run a development team for a smallish company that wants to make its core asset a serious product, best in its class. I've been burned by small companies before, so I was reluctant at first. When they made an offer, I more or less interviewed them back. The owners are really smart guys with a vision, and I respect what they've built in a relatively short period of time. Most importantly, they appeal to that core passion, to deliver great software.

I'll miss working from home, but it will be great to get back to managing people and process as a part of what I do. It's hard to say what percentage of the work will be coding, and what will be the management component until I get on the ground, but I'll be thankful to get back to shipping stuff, regardless.


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