This non-technical post is about why I am leaving a technical company after working there for 17 + years.
If you are thinking this will be a post that will resemble this:
then I’m sorry but you will be sadly disappointed.
My reasons for leaving are about doing new things rather than hating on the old things…
I resigned from my position as Operations Manager at Jade Software on 22nd December 2017, it was the 6,311th day that I had worked there. It was also the 6,969th day of my IT career — it seemed the right kind of day to do something huge.
Some people would say — but you didn’t work 6,311 days there — you’re counting weekends too!! To which I’d reply that when you work for a company that is energetic about doing things — it is infectious to be thinking about work on the weekends or writing emails/planning future work/projects.
It’s funny looking back at my time there — I originally was only going to work 23 months but I found after a year that I loved working there.
If you look at the longevity of the people that work there — there are people who’ve worked there over 30 years. It is that kind of company where people who are passionate about technology and stuff — stay. And they’re good people too!!
These people could easily leave and get really good money elsewhere. But they don’t because we believed in what we were doing there, that a lot of other things at Jade outweighed more money.
I was very lucky during my time at Jade to be part of a team of guys who were passionate, brilliant and committed to what we were doing. We socialised together and shared a love of getting the work done and having a beer, and eating hot n spicy food.
I think there is some saying that goes “why do do you go to work each day?” and the answer is “the people”. The reason I stayed so long at Jade was the people and the fact that every 5-8 years the company reinvented itself and/or did a stepwise change. It was exciting to be part of that. The culture at Jade was one of striving for excellence and also having fun along the way.
In some respects I used to think of Jade as this beautiful woman who was like a fickle mistress…. As at times I would drop everything to do things for my job. And have to explain to those dear to me why I was doing such things. Because it was awesome brilliant times making things – that others struggled with – work.
In a sense for those who loved this Jade woman – she consumed us, was at time a jealous lover but rewarded us well. As all fickle mistresses should.
On the day I resigned I bought 6 bottles of the wine below which inspired the above sentence (Note: I did not drink all 6 bottles at once to come up with the sentence above)
So why leave?
One of the reasons I am leaving is so that there is a breath of fresh air within Operations. 16 years ago today (7/1/2002) I started as the Operations Team Leader – a newly created role and so I’ve led my team through new technologies, company-wide redundancies, introduction of SQL Server, NT4 —-> Windows 2016, removal of everyone being oncall and even PowerShell.
My aim over those years was to manage as I’d want to be managed. That we were a team which meant that my staff’s opinions mattered more than my own and that I wanted to be told if I was wrong – but I fully expected an answer/solution to what I was doing that was wrong. My staff knew that at 3am they could call me if they were stuck and if necessary I’d drive into work — because I expected the same. I didn’t like the word ‘manager’ as that just reminded me of David Brent like paper shufflers. I wanted to lead my team and for them to actively participate in the direction we’d go.
As a team.
BTW – telling my team I was resigning was hard.
The other reason I am leaving is around the fact that I left home when I was 18, I went to university to study Chemical Engineering in another city.
Leaving my (small) home town of Napier was hard at the time, in fact the first year was hell. But worth it — as it made me the man I am today.
And that in lies the analogy I’m using for leaving Jade, I learnt so many wondrous cool things whilst working there, my talent was incubated by some of the most technically brilliant people I’ve met. I matured as a person both technically and socially and now is time to leave ‘home’ again. To leave the confines and security of a job I loved and go out into the real world again.
I want to try my hand at consulting (and contracting) — some exciting news soon…
I want to help companies achieve some of the awesome stuff we did at Jade around DevOPs and specifically with databases.
I want to continue to make a difference in the community and help people learn (and laugh).
I want to make a fair bit of money so I can (finally) upgrade my car.
This next part of my career will be exciting, I am a little nervous about what the first few years will be like, but I feel it is time to leave. That nervousness BTW is what I use to drive myself, I thrive on energy whether it is good energy and not-so-good energy like stress. Before I speak — around 2 hours before I look like I’m going to throw up and a mess. But that is my way of centering myself and getting ready to make people laugh and learn.
So for the past 2 weeks — each day I have confronted the nervousness that I feel and remember how I felt on 11th September 2000 when I drove to my first day at Jade — I wrote a list of things I wanted to learn in the first 3 months…. because I was nervous I didn’t know enough. Thanks to some guys who would later become senior members of my team I’d learnt those things within 2 weeks.
That is the special kind of place Jade was — where the right kind of people would help you out, would go out of their way and also make you feel like ‘family’. If I ever employ enough staff to have a team again I want to emulate what I did and the culture we had at Jade.
I’ll be sad to leave but so glad I stayed.