Thursday, November 2, 2017

Why I Am Leaving A Great Company and a Good Job

I have been in the IT industry since the early 1980's. My first paid gig was programming an inventory and invoicing system. Since then I have worked for many great companies including Boeing, IBM, Sutter Health, and Ashland Oil working as a developer, systems and network administrator, database administrator, first and second level manager and small business owner. I have had the pleasure and opportunity to work on major high traffic web sites delivering millions of pages a day. My current assignment is that of a security manager with NIC's Indiana subsidiary. We process billions of dollars on behalf of the State of Indiana.

Friday, November 3, 2017 will conclude an eight and a half year run with NIC. When I look back at the many successes I have had with NIC, I can honestly conclude I have been successful. I have had many opportunities to make NIC better and I have succeeded with most of them. I believe the states (and their businesses and citizens) I have worked with - particularly Indiana, Mississippi, and Maryland - are better off because of what I brought to the situation.

I sincerely appreciate having had the opportunity to work with this company and the people I have met and worked with along the way. The old cliché for a break up is “It’s not you, its me.” While this cliché many times gets a bad rap, in this case it is true. I'm about to turn 50. I started at NIC at 41. My expectation was in 8-10 years to be a part of executive management. I have learned and grown a great deal serving this company and many people have helped and supported me leading to my success. My current role, while has some interesting aspects to it, is not where I want to be. I want to focus on running things - both strategically and operationally.

I haven't "quit" a job since February, 2003. It is not easy leaving a job. In fact, it takes a lot of courage. Quitting a job is a choice, an active choice. Quitting a job is a risk. However there is value in the risk. Whether the value of the risk is greater than the option of staying where I am is part of the entire risk equation. Do I fear regret more than I fear failure? I am not a fan of regret. It is negative, ugly, and scary. Failure is also scary, but it is not ugly nor negative. How will my 20-something self react to this decision? How will my 70-something self react to this decision? Have I disappointed my 20-something self? Have I put a smile on my 70-something self?

I guess it boils down to trust, doesn't it? The path to the future is unclear. But, I don't fear the unclear path. I have faith in it. I am reminded of a story I was told many years ago. It holds special meaning in times like this.

A group of boyscouts (could have been girlscouts, who knows!) were hiking down the path one Saturday afternoon. After about a mile down a particular fork, the lead boyscout realized they were on the wrong path. The current path was fairly smooth and was a good path. Unfortunately it didn't lead to where they wanted to go. The scout had a choice. Continue down the comfortable path, or go back to the fork and head down one of the other paths. How would the other Scouts react if the lead said to turn around, or, worse, said to cut through the underbrush in an attempt to find another path that might get them closer to their desired destination.

It is all about scope then, isn't it. What is the destination. There are millions of destinations. What is the desired one for me? As I stated above, my desire is focusing on running things - strategically and operationally. I know where I want to be. Time to cut through the underbrush.

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