Category Archives: life

A Year in (of?) Review

calendarAs I pulled my blog up this morning, I realized it is only a few days short of a year since I last posted. A year. Incredible. Not because it’s been a year since I have added something here but because of how 2017 changed me. Without getting into too much detail, I lost the person in my life who I thought would be there forever. She was, in my mind, elastic and ever patient. It turns out she was not and was more than willing to give up an intricate and challenging friendship without much explanation other than about a forty minute conversation without much of a warning. We had been joking around in text in the hours leading up and I’d sent her some URL’s through email which she responded to.

If this sounds bitter, it is not. I made her departure very easy. I was not in a good place and that had nothing to do with her but I put a lot of it on her so when a knight in shining armor came into her life and immediately started painting me in a bad light (again, I made it easy), then she was more than willing to drop our friendship and run. “He made some valid points.” was her response when I asked her if this was her decision or if he had given her an ultimatum. I had my answer but it didn’t make watching her walk away any easier. To his points, I’m guessing they were pretty spot on. I was in a horrible place and unknowingly I was probably taking her with me. She did what I could not, she got out.

In the months that followed, I had a few unpleasant moments. I couldn’t go into downtown Dallas and avoided it at all costs. I nearly ran into her one day in a mall and had to pull out old stealth moves to avoid her. I’d break down at random times and cry like a hungry child. I was a mess but I hid it well from everyone including my fiancé. Well, most of the time. She knew what was wrong because I’d come home from that “last meeting” and told her everything about what had happened but in the coming days I’d tell her I was fine and she accepted it. I went on to deal with the hole alone.

I kept a six month journal because that was the time my ex-friend had told me she needed to sort things out. I figured a journal of daily ramblings might help and it did. It turns out that six months was just a buffer and that she had no intention of returning to our friendship and trying to figure things out. I bought it though and kept that journal faithfully with the intent on giving it to her when we met in six months. It now resides in my safe.

If this all sounds melancholy I apologize. It was to be honest but things got better. I am part of a Ren Faire for two months a year and while it was still difficult in those months, the fair was a fun distraction. I had also met someone at work who has since become one of my good friends. An unlikely friend but a good one. Summer is a blur to be honest.

August came and was a turning point of sorts. I had some kind of silly hope that I’d at least get a Happy Birthday from my old friend. That day came and went and I began to accept that she wasn’t going to call, that I wouldn’t wake up to another friendly text or get an email saying “look, I just need more time, I’m moving, big things are happening, I’ll give you a call someday when I get settled.” Anything would have been better than silence. Instead, her family slowly started dropping me from Facebook.

It began with her sister, after I posted “Have fun!” on a trip she was taking to San Diego. I imagined my friend and her sister talked and that she told her I was nuts, or that I was some horrible person and so she removed me. In reality it probably was not that dramatic.

As fall came and wedding season picked up (I own a DJ business), I had plenty of distractions. Between fall weddings, lifestyle events, planning a trip, Help Portrait and other things, I was pretty occupied and Christmas came quickly. We planned a trip in the new RV (the old one was stolen in July) to the Grand Canyon which turned into 10 days and six National Parks, meeting a new friend and joining up with some other friends on the road and a night in the desert on BLM land. It was an epic adventure.

When I came home, I posted a Throw Back Thursday picture of my old friend on my photography Instagram with a message of understanding and support. Her two cousins, one of which I’d seen not four weeks earlier at a volunteer event and even talked to about my friend, her cousin, were the first two people to “love” the post. Less than two weeks later both would delete me from their profiles and block me. I imagine at the request of my old friend. Where a year ago, I would have immediately assumed anger, I did not, instead choosing to believe that seeing my comments or posts on her cousin’s profiles might be difficult for her. Whichever is true, I accepted it instantly and there was little of that gut wrenching sensation I would have had previously.

So what did I learn?

If you made it this far, congratulations because that is some depressing stuff above. It was depressing to be sure but here I am, still breathing and that is the point after all, isn’t it? Breathing? Continuing on.

I learned that it was possible for someone who no longer wanted me in their life to continue to affect mine nearly a year after they departed. I learned that I can never let that happen again. I learned that I can sink into a pit of depression at levels far deeper than I had ever thought possible. I also learned that sometimes it takes a jarring life event to wake someone up and make them realize who they are.

In the end, it’s very possible that even had our friendship been pristine, she would have pulled out of it anyway. One thing my old friend was unfortunately prone to was manipulation in the name of love and love is what happened. I’m almost certain that if her new love had said “I don’t want you to have any male friends” that she would have complied. This near certainty is bolstered by something one of her family members mentioned to me earlier in the year when they reached out perhaps feeling sorry for me.

I learned that my belief in open communication is a good path and because of the events of 2017, my communication has gotten much better with those I love. I rekindled some friendships that had gone away due to lack of communication, ended some that were detrimental to my life and my relationship with my fiancé strengthened beyond belief.

I learned that I should support my friends no matter what I believe and then be there to celebrate with them or hold them as they cry, whichever the outcome. I failed horribly in this with my old friend and it absolutely contributed to the outcome. Even had we split due to the possibility mentioned above, it would have been an easier departure for both of us.

Most importantly, I also learned that I can change. Without trying to sound like an “old man”, people my age are usually set on a path they established long ago and do not want to change. I went the other way. Over the last year I have gone from an angry, “screw everyone who doesn’t like me” to  someone who values input on who I am and someone who would rather say “You make a good point, I should take a look at that about myself.” Many things have changed. My political leaning even changed which, honestly, beforehand I really didn’t lean either way and was happy in the middle but as I began to actually stand up for what I truly believed in, I realized I lean more to one side than the other.

Something I am still working on is trust. If anything was damaged by the events of the last year, it was trust. When someone jokes with you like nothing is amiss in the hours leading up to their sudden departure, it takes a great deal of trust out of you. This has manifested in not getting to know people like I once did. I used to want to know someone inside and out as soon as possible, I craved their story. Now I tend toward staying with those I already know and trust. My work friend was the exception, she told my walls to f-off. I also have become somewhat of a recluse. Depression has that effect on people but though I’m on the other side of it these days, I still prefer to stay in my house working on projects, hanging out with close friends, my fiancé or the dogs. I’m sure in time that will level out as will other small details.

All in all, I can say as I write this that I am happy. I miss what is lost but I’m thankful for what I’ve gained from the outcome.

Personal Crossroads

d64912afea_2012-originalWhen I was about 19 or 20, I moved to Longview, TX. It was my first apartment along with my first real “job” on top of being 120 miles from home. It was a new adventure. I turned 21 and another first happened; I bought my first handgun and later, my CHL.

I’ve been around guns all my life thanks to my uncle, who not only taught me to respect them from a young age but also how to care for them, when to use them and when not to use them. I credit him alone with recognizing that I was very interested in firearms and instead of hiding them away, invited me to handle them and later to shoot them. He passed away many years ago but he will always get the credit for giving me a proper respect for firearms.

If you know me well, you know I enjoy the right to own firearms and add another level of protection to myself, my family and my home. If you know me extremely well, you know I am proficient in using them when the need arises. You rarely see me advertising this right on Facebook because I don’t believe it is something that needs to be advertised. You will also rarely see me join a gun debate because, again, I don’t think that kind of thing needs to be argued. I don’t check in from the gun range, I don’t post pictures two-fisting Glocks. The occasional shot of Celeste holding an M4 slips into my Facebook album on occasion because, honestly, that is just pretty (and she is proficient with it which is even more pretty to me).

Although I’ve had my CHL from nearly the day it became a law, I rarely “Conceal Carry”. I keep firearms in the cars most of the time, in the house all the time and I make sure I carry one on long trips. I rarely carry into Star Bucks or Walmart (I know the hardcore are going to balk but that’s ok) and I have not exercised my right to Open Carry even though I fully support it and enjoy the option.

Until recently, I haven’t felt like I “needed” to carry into Walmart, Starbucks or anywhere else like that. Part of this is my training, I feel I can handle myself in hand-to-hand combat well enough not to need to carry all the time. Even in a gun situation, I’ve trained and trained over the years on how to disarm someone whether they are holding a knife, a bat, a small child.. or a gun.

But… Things are changing.

I was downtown, maybe five blocks away the night five officers were killed during a protest. I was armed. I was happy to be armed but I was also happy I didn’t get caught in the middle of it and that my biggest inconvenience was getting out of downtown due to road closures. I keep reading about random acts of violence against minorities by bigots. I keep reading about racist epitaphs left at schools and little girls raped by entitled college white boys.

I keep hearing about hate.

I don’t hate much personally. There are few things in this world I will affix that title to but it seems like those things keep cropping up more and more lately. Rapists, murder of innocents, abusers of women, etc. More and more I think “Man, I should be carrying just in case”.

Perhaps it would shock you to learn that I’d prefer peace over carrying a gun. Hell, I’d prefer legalized sword carrying over a gun but we do not have either and the criminals have guns. Utopia is not possible but a better class of living is in reach if we can come together as a nation and decide to work toward it.

There is a famous and way-overused Ghandi quote; “Be the change you see in the world”. It’s splashed on meme’s, t-shirts, number stickers, tattoos and everywhere in between. It is also true.

For now, I’ll keep looking around, taking in my surroundings, remaining aware and do what I can as one person to make my place in the world a better one. I hope you will do the same and then perhaps, one day, our children, or their children will enjoy a time without war, without hate, without bigotry and with more understanding and respect of each other.

Where does it end.

hate-mail-2I’ve been watching the news on and off since early this morning. Fifty dead in a nightclub shooting. Terrorism has once again found it’s way into American streets. Those who are fond of saying “It won’t happen here”; who have faded memories of 9/11 or even those too young to remember that day are now reconsidering.

I’ve watched Facebook too. The current political campaign immediately jumped on this tragic news to further their own agenda. Personally, I am a gun owner. If ISIS suddenly unleashed thousands upon thousands of sleepers in the United States, as has just happened in Orlando, I’m not going to be taken from my home or dragged from my car and beheaded in the street without some kind of fight. The people who are trying to buy your vote do not need to worry about being attacked, they are surrounded by guards at all times. Yes, even Bernie. Gun issues are a tool for them to stand on or reject based on what their campaign managers see trending in the American public. Mass shooting? “We hate guns.” Gun owner defends a kindergarten? “Guns are good in responsible hands.”

This is more than guns however. This is where we have arrived as a people. There have always been mass shootings. The difference is, there was no CNN blaring it over your Apple Watch, phone, computer and digital signage on every corner. A great quote from a bad movie comes to mind:

“Come on! How many innocent victims splattered across a window would it take to have the city reverse its policy on hostage situations? And this is 1976; there’s no CNN, there’s no CNBC, there’s no internet! Now fast forward to today, present time, same situation. How quickly would the modern media make a frenzy over this?”

While it is true we have had gun crime since the dawn of firearms, they have not changed all that much. What has changed is people. Our patience is shorter because we have become used to instant gratification. Our tolerance of others has been tested by the media splashing imagery of death and destruction and blaming it on an entire religion when really, only a small subset of that religion is responsible. If ISIS represents all Muslims then Westboro represents all Christians… Right?

We have let media choose what we believe. Consider the below infographic which shows how six companies control what you see. (Click image to enlarge.)

six-major-corporations-control-media

 We have allowed the television in the living room, in the restaurant control us. We have allowed the Internet; which was supposed to bring us closer together, drive us apart.

What can be done? Isn’t that what everyone is asking? Likewise, everyone seems to have an answer and so I’ll throw mine into the pot.

Education.

Perhaps we should stop teaching our children to hate. Perhaps skin color matters a lot less than you were brought up to believe. Maybe your god is just as good as someone else’s or… Maybe they are the same yet remembered and celebrated in different ways. Maybe we need to stop taking money away from schools in order to build football stadiums and start funding a better people rather than a better football season.

Headaches from Hell

MigraineSince my early 20’s I’ve been plagued with nearly daily headaches in one form or another and occasionally several forms at once. I’ve been diagnosed with ocular migraines (painless but annoying), Migraine with Brainstem Aura (Usually reserved for young people and mostly girls), Chronic Migraine and Tension Headaches. On occasion I also get hit with Cluster Headaches which make the rest look like child’s play. Sinus Headaches are nearly a daily occurrence for me Spring – Summer, which, in Texas, is nearly all year.  Normally only those closest to me hear me bitch and complain about these and because I have lived with them nearly half my life, I’ve just become accustomed to them. As I write this I have a Tension Headache.

Over the years I’ve tried a variety of tricks to combat these annoyances. I don’t like taking medication and especially narcotic painkillers which usually do not do much in the way of relief and tend to make me nauseated.

I decided to write this today after trying yet another approach which I’ll get to later.

Treatments I’ve found to work

Below I’m going to list treatments I’ve personally found to work for various headaches. Unfortunately some of them I’ve never found relief from aside from time in nearly 20 years.

Cluster Headaches – These bastards have no treatment. They come on fast and thankfully last only an hour or less. Less than 1% of the population suffers cluster headaches. They are debilitating to the point of near paralysis due to pain and I often faint when they come on. (Driving is fun!). Also thankfully they are rare and I can usually tell when one is about to hit. Time is the only thing that kills the pain. I’ve tried everything from morphine to NSAIDS in high doses.

Tension Headaches – These are usually at the cerebral cortex (back of the neck high up near your hair-line). These are a squeeze type pain and pulse at times. Tension headaches can last for hours and can be caused by sinuses but also by tension in the shoulders and neck. One of the more recent (today actually) treatment was to use a TENS unit for an hour. This dulled the pain immediately until the NSAID’s kicked in. Ibuprofen also tends to help as do muscle relaxers (The TENS does something similar in the area of muscle relaxation through stimulation).

Migraine with Brainstem Aura – Narcotic painkillers knock these out after while but I hate taking them. Normally a dark room and high humidity (hot shower in the dark) help these. Vision is affected with this type as well and can last after the pain resides (Ocular Migraine).

Chronic Migraine – About the same as above although dark room or a blinding mask of some sort usually help the most in these cases.

Sinus Headaches – I saved the “best” for last. Sinus headaches are something I’ve lived with the longest and most frequently. Daily for months at a time. So much so that at times I’ve been black listed from buying Pseudo-ephedrine based medication (The ones that are OTC but you have to get from behind the pharmacy and give your license for). These can trigger tension headaches as well. The pain is everywhere; back of the head, sinus cavity, under the eyes and the worst, for me, pressure in the ears that causes a similar pain to that of perforating and ear drum. Hydration is probably the number one treatment I’ve found especially when it comes to clearing the pressure in the ears. OD’ing on water during these times cleared the pressure within a couple hours. Pseudo ephedrine based treatments like Advil Cold and Sinus or almost anything with a “D” in it (Claritin D) also relieves the pressure and pain. Wet Heat also works well. I’ll usually soak a hand towel and then microwave it for a minute, let it cool a bit and press it into my sinuses. Sinus washes also help.

Summary

The above is based on my own experience. I’m obviously no doctor. Hopefully something above works for you as well.

40.

dadI didn’t wake up today and feel any different. I don’t look different than yesterday, I don’t feel different. Today however, at around 4am, I turned 40.

For as long as I can remember, people have made jokes about being 40. There are the black balloons, the Hallmark isles full of silly cards. But I don’t feel any different. Perhaps a little reflective, maybe nostalgic. I remember celebrating 30 with my oldest friend and her then-husband and my then-wife at an Olive Garden somewhere in Mesquite, TX. (I think?). She had tiny daughters who are now driving and looking at boys. I had more hair, less grey and less experience. So life has changed quite a bit in ten years but then again, not much has changed at all.

mom_jenI feel grateful to have made it to this age. When my own father was 40, he was fighting a losing battle for his life and would be gone by age 42, something I think about often when I need to be humbled. After he passed, I remember armoring myself with thoughts like “He lived a long time!”  To an 8 year old, 40 is a long time but we know that is just not true. I cannot fathom his battle or my mother’s.

me_handI feel lucky to have so far lived the life I want to live. I have an amazing mother and sister, both who inadvertently taught me to be the man I am simply by being strong women. My career is in demand with both Amazon
and just last week, Facebook, trying to recruit me into their fold. I am surrounded by many wonderful people and I have side-lines that let me do what I love such as DJ’ing and Photography with a career that is flexible enough to allow pursuit of them. I have worked hard to get where I am, nothing was handed to me but I am also lucky to have had support from family and friends. However, when all of these things start inflating my ego, I just remember the fight I watched my father battle when he was my age and I remember it can be taken away without warning.

noraThis post isn’t depressing, it is elating. I am excited about the rest of my life. Scared? Perhaps of the unknown but I come from strong people who always made it work and therefore I believe I will.

Because I like lists, which you know if you follow this blog, I’m inclined to create one (or two?)  here.  These are burned into me, are part of me. I can recall them vividly any time.  Some will be vague, some will be recognized only by a few and perhaps some by no one else but myself. So.. Here are my top 20 (that I can think of at the moment) favorite life memories in no particular order.

20) – A trip to Galveston when I was 20 to meet a girl I met by chance in Dallas who was on a trip from Illinois. We spent the night on the beach just talking and I never saw or heard from her again.

19) – Meeting Ghost for the first time.

22171_1306031206313_8312790_n18) – Bus trip to New Orleans with a bunch of crazy kids and a similar trip to Orlando. (two for one!)

17) – The Belton trip.

16) – Yard work with my dad and learning to cut the lawn.

15) – Geeking out in my room when I was 8 or 9 with my babysitter in front of a Commodore 64 writing “games” from the back of a magazine in BASIC.

jessshawn14) – All the music that my parents played on vinyl in the house. Mostly Motown. Best gift was mom finding her collection and gifting it to me a few weeks ago. I’ve been listening non-stop.

13) – RV trips with my grandparents. Or visiting them during trips, I don’t rightly remember if we actually traveled in the RV.

12) – Sledding a toboggan at Pecan Knoll? Ridge? Park something.. (Mom will know) – In Illinois when I was a kid.

11) – My first day at my first “big boy” career job.

10) – Meeting my niece Nora for the first time.

313404_2464320602824_1096512190_32904960_1913039468_n9) – My first scuba descent into the ocean.

8) – Watching deer eating at dawn just outside a glass door in a cabin with a wide-eyed child sitting next to me before anyone else woke up.

599600_10151132877486454_1445420220_n7) – A concert with a favorite band and friend in Deep Elum during it’s hey-day.

6) – My first Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

cel5) – A certain swinging chair in Scarborough Faire in the middle of the afternoon after a bit of Meade.

4) – My 21st birthday at Detour with my best friend and twisting my ankle jumping off one of the aerial dance floors.

linds3) – The first time I ran a 10k (8 mile) race without walking. Still working on that half!

2) – My mother sitting across a table from me when I was a teen explaining some life lessons that have never left me and are a foundation for who I really am.

1) – The helicopter. I know if you are reading this, you’ll think “WHY THIS?!” but it changed me. I doubt I’ve ever thanked you for it, but it did.

…and at least 10 things I have left to do:

 

10) – Space Tourism.

9) – Taking my mother someplace she needs a passport for.

8) – Running a half marathon (Only 5 miles to go!)

7) – Completing my DM.

6) – A couples trip with my best friend.

5) – Ice scuba diving in Antartica.

4) – Thru-Hiking the entire John Muir trail.

3) – Leaving IT for good and building a wedding venue business.

2) – Teaching Nora to drive stick. (Assuming manual transmissions still exist) :(

1) – Building bottle schools in Nigeria or Ecuador.

Breaking up… With my employer

keep-calm-and-leave-your-jobLeaving a job you are comfortable with can be one of the most gut wrenching decisions of your life.

Currently I am a week into my two weeks notice for a company I’ve worked for the last (nearly) five years. The decision to leave did not come as easily as it has in the past. I’m older than I was, I’m more comfortable with being comfortable. My career, like many these days is in the technology field. People like myself are known for “job jumping” and when I was younger, staying at a company a few months or a year was fine but as I hit my late twenties, the desire for stability outweighed the desire to make a few more bucks.

I’m a different study when it comes to careers. There are many others like me but we aren’t *extremely* common. I did not go to college and I rely on my considerable experience, references and resume. The fact that my forte is in a niche area of IT and in fairly high demand helps as well. In a few less words, I am extremely lucky to have had the turn of events happen in my life that propelled me into what I do now.  While at one time in my life this might have made my head grow, these days I’m simply thankful for the abilities I have. For these reasons and others not mentioned here, the decision to leave my latest employer was one fraught with indecision, weighing of possible outcomes and straight up fear. On the other hand, it has also instilled a renewed sense of purpose, the attraction of new challenges and a sense of child-like exploration.

The company I am leaving is one I love dearly. Long after I’m gone, many things I created, designed or built will live on. The history I have here is one filled with memories of a smaller company growing quickly into a larger one. The challenges and the fun that go along with this will be something I take with me when I walk out the door for the last time. Would I come back? Absolutely. I’ve never said that about a company but the people and the environment here changed my perception of “no second chances”. Perhaps age and wisdom have something to do with it as well.

So how did I know it was time to go? This question is different for everyone no matter the career they call home. For some it’s a gradual procession of decision making, for others it’s a culmination of small events and one in particular “breaks the camels back”. I find myself to be a little of both. I’ve been asked my reasons for leaving by my peers and I’ve answered in a way that gives them enough information but not all sides. This isn’t out of mis-trust or anything of the sort but rather because there was no “last straw”. Instead, a turn of events beginning just over a year ago sub-consiciouly began pushing my path toward a final exit.

Some of my peers expressed shock that I was leaving. Some were not surprised at all. Some acted shocked while privately not being shocked. Some asked why, some asked where but most just said good luck when my notice was made public. The “why” was the most common and I’ll try to explain without too much delving into what my career consists of.

Until about a year ago I was a happy Engineer in a happy team. A team with the exception of myself, that has had no turn-over for six years. I worked with (and continue to work with for another week) some of the best minds I have met in my field. At times our personalities have clashed as happens with people trying to achieve the same thing in different ways. All in all things ran smoothly within the team. A new director was hired, we will call him Stan, away from another company and I took to him immediately, even traveled with him. He hired others from his embattled previous employer including the director who I began reporting to.  This particular person, we will call him Clint, was in many ways the polar opposite of his good friend Stan whom he reported to. Immediately our entire team began complaining to each-other about Clint but had no one to turn to because of the friendship and history between Stan and Clint. So we endured. Not long after I began reporting to Clint, there was an episode in his office. Myself and another engineer were talking about some issue. It was obvious that Clint was extremely frustrated. Clint’s frustration was in my opinion born of the fact that he was not at all technical and that he was getting pressure from above to resolve this issue. Clint is a big man, tall, broad and with a deep and rumbling voice which he uses to “command” his team. Clint is also quite a chameleon in that he can act like he understands something when he has absolutely no idea what is being talked about. This personality trait did not fool our team but I’m sure he has used it to rise among the ranks to where he is today. So Clint stood up and loomed over his desk at me. Clint raised his voice and began yelling in my face. I’m an A Type personality to the core, the other engineer is more B Type. The only person I’ll allow to scream in my face in such a fashion is my mother who bore me and deserves to vent on me when needed.

I do something strange in situations like this. I become very calm. I annotate my words precisely. When I was younger, other kids called it “scary quiet”. I quietly explained the Clint had two choices. One was to sit down, lower his tone and resume the conversation calmly. The other was to have me go around the corner to HR and have them mediate. He chose to calm down. You might be cheering me, you might think I won but that is not the case. From that moment on, Clint did not like me much. He was level to me, he was professional but I suspect behind the scenes was a different story. Actually I know it was. Since I gave my notice I’ve found out some interesting things about what Clint thought of me and how open he was about it to other directors and VP’s including Stan. I had been there years before Clint and I still had my network of people in all ranks.

Shortly after the argument, Stan pulled me in his office to offer me a promotion. Stan had always been good to me at least in person. He “took care” of our team when he first got there. As he moved quickly up the ranks, he had less time for us specifically but that is to be expected. I was offered a “promotion” to another team. This was a year ago and somehow I knew this promotion would be then end of my time at the company. Stan congratulated me and said he understood the transition would take some time. At first there was no change except the pay raise but change was coming.

Just after the promotion a catastrophe hit one of our databases. One I knew the most about. I took charge, directing those on my team to do this or that. I felt like I was contributing and I felt like my team was stepping up to a huge challenge with grace. Senior people in the company including the owner were on the conference calls. We came through it with no data loss. I got calls from people I didn’t even know knew who I was thanking me. One man in particular who had a ton of sway in the company shook my hand in person and thanked me. I felt like I had shined. I felt like my team had shined.

Regular work resumed, most of it dealing with the failure and how to be better prepared for it. This took most of the rest of the year until this past summer.

I regale all of this so you might understand events leading to my departure. Late in the summer I was finally moved from reporting to Clint and put under another director. He was extremely hands off. I was on his team for months before he even acknowledged me much less met with me to discuss strategy. Meanwhile I kept helping out with what I had always done. No one complained but Clint started directing his team, my old team, to keep me away from as much as possible in order to continue the transition track. This was expected. What was not expected was an argument that would be the final nail in my coffin.

Shawn and I had worked together since the beginning. He and I had not only dug trenches but worked in them. As the only two people specializing in what we did within the company, we worked non-stop. Shawn was and is the best engineer I have ever worked with. As part of my transition to my new role I was tasked with writing documentation about all the things I’d worked on, developed, scripted, built and completed over the years. Due to how thin our team was stretched there wasn’t always time for docs. Things had calmed down and it was time. I began writing docs in a Wiki application. One day I got in early after a tough morning at the vet with one of my dogs who had eaten a bottle of Tylenol. I had also been dealing with some health issues, had surgery and was just having a generally bad time of things at that moment. I wrote for a couple hours, not saving my work in the Wiki too often. Shawn jumped into a doc I was writing and added some comments of things that needed to be added. Somewhere along the line the doc got destroyed and the last save had been hours before. I was upset. There was too much going on in my head that had nothing to do with work. I ran over to find Shawn and found him in Clint’s office. I asked him to come to my desk as soon as possible. He came over and I was upset. To make a long story short it escalated in front of his team as Shawn had recently been made a manager over the team I had left.He refused to discuss it and an hour later I was called into my director’s office. I was about to have the most in depth talk with my new director then I had ever had in the time I’d worked for him. To put it lightly he was extremely hands off. He told me that Shawn and his entire team were upset with me, that they had told Clint I was impossible to work with. They even dredged up a misunderstanding I had with another team member months before to which the other team member, realizing his mistake, apologized to me. All of this was coming from Clint as Shawn reported to Clint. I felt betrayed by the team I had helped build, had mentored and for the first time, a team in my career I cared about. My director told me this could go to HR. All I could think about was that over the years, Shawn and my ideologies had clashed over things but we were always able to settle it and move on. This time I thought, he went directly to Clint. This argument happened on a Friday and I was so full of anxiety that I drove to the office on Sunday to make sure my badge still worked. I threw up several times that weekend. Monday came and went and no one came to walk me out. Shawn was still not talking to me and wouldn’t until a week after I gave my notice.

I started looking for a new position out of the fear of repercussions from what I thought was a mild argument. Apparently I was the only one who thought it was mild but no one would come talk to me about it. I was an island. As the week came and went I heard things from people including my director that had nothing to do with the argument but added to my anxiety and cemented my decision to leave. This was a terribly difficult decision but I felt like my back was against a wall. I loved this company but I couldn’t talk to anyone about the issues. My director didn’t want to talk about it. I couldn’t talk to Clint and Shawn wasn’t speaking to me. On top of this, the role I was promoted to turned out to not be the role I was sold the year before. According to my director the path for this team had “changed overnight without and forewarning from the powers that be”. I found out some other interesting things about my new team that in addition to the argument pushed me over the edge and into LinkedIn to start the job hunting process.

I found several opportunities  pretty quickly. Interviewed and on Halloween day gave my two weeks notice. My director wasn’t surprised, after all he had said that if I thought I wouldn’t like what the team was now to become, he would understand if I started looking. As I mentioned earlier, some expressed shock some didn’t but the ones who acted shocked but were not, like Clint, were the most interesting. He emailed me to “ask if it was true” a couple days later but I knew he had found out moments after I gave notice. Shawn sent me a text message asking as well but I ignored it. He IM’d me a week later and asked again and I simply said yes. Then he said he wanted to clear the air. I had expected this, Shawn wasn’t one who liked rifts with people he knew. I replied with “There is nothing to clear” but he persisted. We spoke on many things that hour. He genuinely seemed shocked that I was leaving but I don’t understand how he could be. I spoke level, not bringing up the fact that our argument and the ensuing anxiety was the straw that broke the camels back. We ended the conversation in good spirits.

I’ve probably given more detail then needed and if you’ve made it this far I congratulate you. With a week left before I begin my new assignment, the anxiety that always rears it’s head in situations like this has cropped up. “Will this be a good fit”, “Will I make a good impression”, etc. These are things only time will answer. I leave the company I’ve worked for the past five years with mixed feelings. Certainly there are a ton of great memories. There is also the undeniable mark I myself and the team I loved made on the company. There were triumphs to celebrate and failures to learn from. I take away a berth of knowledge that I didn’t have when I came on board. For this and the friendships I made, I am grateful.