Thursday, October 5, 2017

Day one as a free agent - looking back

This is my therapy for working through the emotions of being RIFed this is not any commentary on my previous employer.
As I open up about my experience, I hope to be helpful to others in at least letting you know you are not alone in your experience.
This is me, pretty raw.

Thursday, October 5 2017 6am

I thought I was doing pretty well this morning.
Then I saw a ping from a long time co-worker through LinkedIn.  That was okay.
It was when my phone reminded me that it was time to go to work...  That really stirred up the emotions.

It suddenly dawned on me that I have not bee out of work for 30 years.  20 of those years in the IT industry.  The changes I have seen and been part of in some way.  It is crazy.
But, it is this that makes the emotion - the abrupt loss of comrades.  Folks I have worked on projects with, suffered with, celebrated with, tackled big ideas and problems with.
The forced end of time on the office really touches this emotional well of feelings.  This is where the feelings come from, very guttural and powerful.

I have always been a person that was broad across a number of technologies.  It gave me a valuable wide angle lens; the systems view of IT.  The dependencies, connections, combinations and touch points.  How this impacted that and so on.
I have worked with a number of younger folks that lack this view, or approached another way; lack the experience to have this view.

I have long had two statements for every manger I have worked for:
  1. Keep me relevant
  2. My job is to make you look good.  Your job is to be my shit screen.
Keep me relevant - that has always been important.  It is my way of expressing that I want to grow and I want to be involved in the company growing, in one simple statement.

My job is to make you look good - that is one that some folks have had a hard time with when I mention it.  It is me appealing to something that my manager needs, he / she needs successful people and a strong team.  That makes them look good, and keeps them relevant and valuable.

It is all a synergy of feedback loops.  And quite honestly, these simple statements of relationship I think have been very powerful in my past success.  Doors have been opened for me, and I have been allowed to organically take and make opportunities as a result.

I cannot be more grateful to my last manager (who ended up being my neighbor (that was strange for a while)).  He saw something in me and harnessed it, supported it, opened doors, and allowed me to just go.  It was great.
I did not fall into the 4 years and I am bored trap.  The work stayed interesting and challenging.  And that is so incredibly important.

I also found a mentor for a couple years in there.  Not with my former employer though.  He helped me realize many things and to envision others.  That is a relationship that I need to renew, without the encumberment of the employer relationship.

But in writing this one thing has occurred to me.
While I left behind lots of valuable works, great ideas, and intellectual property - they can't keep what is in my head.  I still have ideas, I still have knowledge, I still have worth and value.  All of those experiences - those belong to me and not to my former employer.
That is my worth as I look back to figure out how to look forward.

I have carried with me a couple office artifacts for many years now.  One a cover from an Internet magazine long gone (not an online magazine, a magazine about the business of the Internet), the second a Calvin and Hobbs cartoon.

Right now I am listening to the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor which should only be played on a pipe organ, and the best version I have every heard was recording by Virgil Fox at the Fillmore East.  C minor is the umami of musical keys.  It is earthy, rich, flavorful.
I have listened to this piece for years, generally as loud as my speakers can tolerate without distortion. It is 15 minutes that always helps me clear my head and release emotional tension.

Today, I am posting early.  I have some resources to check out, and I am going to spend the afternoon with my tattoo artist, finishing the work he started a few months ago.
Nothing more relaxing than some time under the needle.

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