In October 2008, I lost my job at GED Integrated Solutions. While I didn’t relish the hour-long commute each way, I still enjoyed the work. It was a drastic change from working in the telecommunication industry. Rather than working with phone calls and later text messages, I created and worked with tangible products.
It was fun working with a diverse team and effectively creating and building products from scratch. Sure, working with machines had more risk than sitting at a computer all day. But, it was a great experience.
Unfortunately, the 2008 housing market bubble burst, and I was suddenly looking for new employment along with ~40 of my colleagues. In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been a shock. But, I had not paid as close of attention to the housing market as I should have.
So, in late 2008, I started my job search. Since I had been rather fortunate in finding employment previously, I wasn’t quite sure where to start or where I would end up. Eventually, I found a position at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).
I started in what used to be called the Distance Learning department. My initial responsibilities were to troubleshoot and maintain existing custom software. Over time, I took over ownership of development and server maintenance.
Eventually, I built up a good working relationship with the Information Technology Services (ITS) department. In early 2012, I transferred to ITS proper. I continued maintaining applications for the Distance Learning department. But, also became responsible for ~30 servers as well as developing College-wide applications.
While I was working on expanding my software development skills with ITS, I took another step forward in my educational journey. In 2013, I completed my Masters of Science program. Looking to expand my leadership skills, in 2014, I joined Toastmasters and Tri-C’s leadership development program. In 2016, my hard work paid off, and I became the Director of Application Development Services.
Now, I’m about to begin a new journey. The ongoing pandemic has changed my perspective on many things (as I’m sure it has for many). The College also provided what is effectively a buyout option: If I opt to leave now, I get paid based on my longevity and unused sick and vacation. Since I’m maxed out on my banked sick and vacation time, I chose to separate.
It is difficult to leave what has been a stable and rewarding position. I will miss not only the people on my team but my peers on the leadership team also. I’ve heard that people leave bosses and not jobs. While that is true for many, it’s not true in this particular case. In fact, Tri-C gave a similar option last year. One of the reasons I didn’t take the buyout option the previous year is that I enjoy working with my boss everyone in ITS’ leadership team.
Someday, I may list all the reasons why I left and what I considered before leaving. However, I am intentionally giving some time to let emotions and feelings settle.
My last day is today, July 30, 2021. I will still be teaching both at Tri-C and SNHU. But, for a few months, that will be the limit of my work responsibilities. In the immediate future, I’ll be taking a much-needed vacation.
This is one thing that the pandemic has illuminated: I need a better work/life balance. Actually, I think that “balance” is a myth. What I want to work toward is a better work/life blend. Being able to work remotely for the last year or so has helped me better achieve that blend. Instead of commuting, I spend that time getting more sleep and taking walks with my wife.
I’m still not quite sure what to be when I “grow up.” There are many jobs where I would be a fantastic candidate. But that doesn’t mean that it would be the best place for me. I’m hoping to get some clarity while I’m on vacation. But, that hasn’t stopped me from connecting with recruiters and doing regular interviews.
I’m not sure what the next step in my career will be. But, I am excited about the next chapter.