Last day

Today is my last day at my job. Yes, the one I started in January. I start a new job on Monday.

My soon-to-be-former employer has been a decent place to work and I haven’t been unhappy. I lucked into a good boss who was helping me see some of my blind spots and was challenging me to grow as a leader.

There were things I didn’t enjoy about this company, things typical of a company in its business climate at its phase of life. And I didn’t see a growth path beyond perhaps a promotion to Senior Manager. But given that it didn’t hurt to work there, I thought I’d soak up as much experience as I could. I’m still early in my engineering-leadership career and I need to build credibility.

About eight weeks ago a recruiter from another prominent local employer of software engineers contacted me about joining them as an engineering manager. I know that this company has completed a business and technology transformation that was starting to pay off in their marketplace. They were also using more modern processes and delivery methods. That’s exciting stuff. But the job was a lateral move at the same pay and I told them that I couldn’t consider a change unless it was for a higher position and more money.

I figured that would be the last I heard from them. I was stunned when they contacted me again a couple weeks later, saying they’d recast the position one level higher with a compensation package to match.

Having worked for many software companies in this market over nearly 30 years, I know people pretty much everywhere software engineers work in central Indiana. So I contacted a couple people I know at this company and asked what they think. They were enthusiastic about the work environment and about the company’s prospects, and said I should join them.

So I went in for an interview. It went well, and they offered me the job. It was easy to say yes. This choice is right for my family now and for my career in the future.

But it feels all kinds of wrong to quit a job after just five months. Having managed people for 20 years I know full well how disruptive it is. I did not enjoy telling my boss, who has treated me well; or my team, which I enjoyed very much, that I was resigning. Fortunately, they took it well.

I’ll come home tonight with my things in box, which I’ll carry with me to my new job on Monday.


42 thoughts on “Last day

  1. Wow Jim. Life in the fast lane. I am so pleased to read this post. I can honestly say I am excited for you and wish you all a smooth transition into the next phase of your life. Fabulous news. Go get em. All the best. B.

    • I’m extremely fortunate. I’m reasonably good at what I do, but more importantly there’s a shortage of engineering leadership talent.

  2. But that commute! I found myself driving past your new employer’s location (where I assume you will be, anyhow) during the leading edge of rush hour and thought of you. Major highways from point A to point B is both the good news and the bad news.

    I know that voice in your head that says you shouldn’t leave a place after 5 months. But I also remember the first senior lawyer I worked for who told me that a person needs to be fair to himself. Good luck!

    • It should take about 25-30 minutes when I leave at 8 am. That’s not terrible. It’s also not fabulous. Fabulous is walking from one room of your house to another. :-)

  3. Andy Umbo says:

    I salute your advancement and say “good luck”. I was always searching for the “right” group of people and corporate culture, difficult to find; and would have changed jobs at a moments notice if I thought there was an emotionally and educationally better situation. I’ve known people uprooted and moved across the country, and then let go before they could even get started ’cause the company decided to go in a “different direction”. It’s best to be on the moral and ethical high ground, but a company could let you go in a minute if they changed their minds, so ‘caveat emptor’ all around…

  4. DougD says:

    Congratulations, I hope this one fulfills expectations on both sides.

    On loyalty, one thing I have learned from 23 years at the same company in two tours is that they are not loyal to us, so don’t be too loyal to them. Just be fair.

  5. analogphotobug says:

    This is very inspiring. I’m giving myself until the end of the year for a full recovery, but I’ve already been attending meetings via teleconference and know that the company I work for is spinning its wheels. Nothing exciting going on there. Time for me to move on.

  6. Good luck Jim and enjoy yourself.

    I found myself “displaced” last year which wasn’t a happy time and I’m now in a role completely different to the one I had before. I was very nervous about the change, but the new people I’m working with are great, the work is interesting, and I’m able to use some of my old skills to improve the way my new colleagues work, which seems to be going down well.

      • Yeah, it’s a good feeling. I’m still inexperienced in a lot of the things the new role involves so it’s great to be able to add value through the things I do have experience in.

        • I’m in a similar place. I am in the same industry I’ve been in for 30 years, but have shifted from quality assurance to engineering. I have a lot to learn but am using a lot I’ve already learned to be effective.

  7. Heide says:

    Congratulations, Jim! It’s a huge testament to your skills and work ethic that your new employer went to such lengths to hire you. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity for you! Though I can relate to your concern about leaving a job after just five months, I’m sure all of your colleagues would have done the same if given a similar choice. Well … happy first day of work on Monday!

    • Thanks H! I did get some very nice compliments from a lot of co-workers this week about my skills and abilities. On the other hand, there’s a shortage of engineering management in this market and it makes positions hard to fill! So there’s a little from column A, and a little from column B, in why the new company came after me so hard. Check my LinkedIn on Monday for where I landed!

  8. SilverFox says:

    Congrats on the new job; you have to do what’s right for you and not feel guilty about it.

  9. Jim, congratulations on keeping the faith and working through a turbulent period, employment wise. Your courage and persistence is paying off.

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