Sometimes when you’re staring off the edge of the cliff it’s to leap to your death, other times it’s to dive into the warm water. It’s up to you to decide…
I’ve known for many months that my company was very much on the losing end of our orgy of mergers and acquisitions. So for the last few months I was given an impossible task and waited for the inevitable. I’d pretty much stopped sleeping and was experiencing a lot of the physical and mental effects of that level of unrelenting stress.
So today I got escorted into an office and explained how great the company was and how my team just doesn’t fit their grand vision but not to worry the company will be o.k. without myself and my team.
It was a relief actually.
In December, our workgroup was in shambles. We’d basically completely quit pushing product out the door and morale was in the crapper. So, the head of the division moved and I was thrust into the position with zero warning and even less training. Mind you, we have a very deep and pervasive hacker culture where we don’t really ever do training for anything, you just have to hack and figure it out. Things like having 5 systems for managing time clocks…stuff like that. Fun times.
Good news, we turned the team around and we’re able to turn out a site every 2-3 days. Our consultant team was also humming since we increased it from one consult a week to upwards of 3-4 per day.With the new management, this wasn’t good enough. We’d known for a very long time that we were rapidly distancing ourselves from WordPress as much as we could. We started using the inferior Weebly for a whole list of reasons. Not Drupal, not Joomla!, not even Concrete5. Though nobody said it out loud, WordPress was dead.
I know over the past few months I’d grown somewhat not entirely pleasant to be around and quit being a good friend like I’ve always prided myself being. Funny, but even through the worst parts I still truly enjoyed coming to work since I love doing project management and working with a team of talented WordPress experts. Easily one of the top 3 teams I’ve ever worked with. After we received the death sentence, we really opened up to each other. I did hear that hear about a couple of really complimentary things from my team. My favorite and honestly one of the most complimentary things that has ever been said about me was “Scott’s pretty much as useless as you can get but if you are in trouble he’ll run naked and screaming into combat for you and save your life.” High praise for a manager considering the source. I also got told by a handful of people that my behavior was ridiculously professional as was my entire team. I took pride in those comments. Still, leaving work was painful considering how much I truly loved where I worked. I was not in a good place.
However, something happened on the way home. I stopped at the liquor store to get some very strong spirits and a cigar that can double as a chair rung. I got to the counter and the guy behind the counter blurts out “Oh hey, are you Mr Croom?!” Turns out, it was one of my math students from a good 10 years ago. He mentioned that he can “run a till like a mother fucker and know how to comparison shop like a boss too”, something I’d remember when I was trying to teach them math for the real world. That brought me back from the despair ledge. Sometimes, life has a way of being funny.
I’m oddly at peace. The aforementioned strawberry moon shine and cigar are helping to be sure, but grace has something to do with it as well. Change happens, and it’s up to you to figure out if it’s going to be good.
Now to figure out my next steps and to go back to being a better person…