I was trying to recall a suitable literary quote involving whales as a title, but we'll have to settle with this one, which involves dolphins leaving the planet. I'm not leaving the planet, but I work for a company that has dolphins, and my contract at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment ends in a couple of weeks.
A year ago, I was just getting back from Seattle, interviewing for a gig at Microsoft that clearly wasn't right for me. At the same time, we were looking at our options for escaping Cleveland before another a winter (boy did we time that well), and I was dropping out of a short contract that paid crazy money and made me miserable. The world was ripe with possibility, and frankly it was pretty exciting. Things came together suddenly when I scored a contract gig with SeaWorld at the corporate office. It was the first and only job I pursued in Orlando.
Everything that I expected to get out of the job happened, which probably makes it the first time in my professional life that a job was exactly what I expected. It wasn't all puppies and rainbows, I knew what I was getting into in terms of the state of things, and I felt good about what I could contribute. The technical details are likely boring to most people, but I can say that I delivered a lot of value and worked in a lot of strategic efforts that people there weren't already thinking about. That makes me happy. I was able to develop some of the politicking and patience skills that one of my managers at Microsoft taught me a great deal about, necessary to deliver the "right" things.
The only real regret is that they couldn't figure out a way to convert the position to a full-time job, but it's not personal. It's validating that a lot of folks hate to see me go, which feels good because I felt very invested in the job, especially for a contract gig. I'll really miss the people there.
In any case, I'm moving on to a full-time position with a technology company that's growing quite a bit. I think it will be very challenging, and I'm encouraged (and maybe slightly intimidated) by all of the very smart people I met during the interview process. It's also primarily remote, but with enough face-to-face opportunity that it will still feel connected like an office job. I think that hybrid will be the best of both worlds.