Random geekery since 2005.

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Making Changes

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About a year ago, I took a chance on my career.  I left the stable, secure world of Microsoft to join and help found a startup.  I don’t regret this decision at all.  But I failed.

I failed because I didn’t make my expectations known.

I failed because I didn’t figure out what was expected of me.

I failed because I was scared to stand up for myself.

I failed because I didn’t communicate effectively.

I’ve always prided myself on being an excellent communicator, but it showed me that I’d made a mistake.  I took the job for the money, for the prestige, and for the wrong reasons.  I chased promises rather than reality.  From Day #1 I was counting the days to our acquisition.  This is absolutely the wrong approach, and I wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t taken that chance.

So I’ve decided to start making some changes in my life.

First, I am going to exercise every single day.  Between work and travel, I wasn’t taking any time for myself, and my energy levels reflect that.  I need to be healthier at 40 than I was at 30.

Second, I need to find “the right job.”  I’ve had a few of these in my career, where I can’t wait to get started every morning, and don’t want it to end every night.  I’ve started a pretty extensive job search, but it’s a slow, slow process.

Third, I need to get back to focusing on my family.  The weekly travel to startupland didn’t do any lasting damage to my relationship with my family, but I owe it to them to give them everything I have.  None of this other stuff matters if I can’t spend my time with my wife and children.

Finally, I need to find a hobby.  I’ve been scattered across a number of “interests,” but I’ve never really landed on one that really consumes my time.  I love golf, but it’s time consuming and expensive.  I like playing with Lego Robotics, but mostly with my kids.  I love writing, but I never seem to find the time to do it (as evidenced by the infrequency of my posts.)  The one I keep coming back to, however, is writing.  I’ve been sitting on the first 20 pages of a sci-fi novel for a couple of years now, and I think it’s time to dust it off and bring it to life.  Keep an eye out for something from me later this year, I hope.

I don’t like failing.  I don’t like accepting that a decision I made was a bad one.  But it was, and I did.  Here’s to making the next decision a good one, and making several aspects of my life better than they’ve ever been.


4 responses to “Making Changes”

  1. chuloon Avatar

    Ever since I met you through Microsoft, I’ve always admired you for how passionate you were about the technology world and I’ve used some of the philosophies you’ve spoken about to guide my own career.

    It’s only a failure if you didn’t gain anything from it, and it seems you gained a lot of perspective. Thanks for blazing the way for those following a similar path!

  2. Jim Holmes (@aJimHolmes) Avatar

    Good on you. Some time ago I took a position where a lot of promises had been made. I found out it was the worst choice I could have ever made — on the VERY FIRST DAY of the job. I spent eight or nine months trying to make it work, but there was just no way.

    I learned a lot from that failure, and it came right in the timeframe I was trying to refocus myself on my family.

    Good for you on figuring out your priorities. That’s a hard thing to do, but it’s worth it.

    It’s taken me a year to get over the wreckage of that bad decision and get my head back on straight. I’m sure you’ll figure it out more quickly!

    Good luck!

  3. sadukie Avatar

    This makes me very proud to call you not just a friend but also a great role model and someone I’ve looked up to in my career. Admitting failures and owning up to them is something that you do, and it makes me admire you more.

    I like where your thoughts are in what you need to do going forward. If there’s anything I can do to help you in your journey ahead, you know how to reach Kev and me.

  4. Michael Christopher Avatar

    I hope you never doubt the impact you’re having by sharing your thoughts, your experience, your heart and your pain. You are brave and beautiful, and I’m grateful for and inspired by your honesty.

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