I meant to keep writing on a more regular basis, but the first half of December has been absolutely ridiculous. I moved out of my apartment with Amelie’s help, and Thursday was the final day at Mr. Company, after more than fourteen years. I’ve been keeping busy since Thursday afternoon, so I don’t have a lot of emotions to process yet. I suspect it will hit me later. Like any long relationship that comes to an end, there will be a grieving process.
It’s difficult to really frame fourteen and a half years in your mind. We’re used to shorter hops in time- what happened in the last week? What happened in the last year?
When I started working for this company, I was in my late 20s. It was the summer of 2002, and my ID badge photo was taken on July 1st. I worked for Mr. Company at first in technical support. I moved from a tier one job to tier 2, then tier 3, and within four years I was a supervisor. I wrote reviews, did hiring interviews, the whole lot.
During that time, I worked with dozens of people who have passed in and out of my life over a span of years- the tech scene in this part of Florida is not so large that you don’t run into each other from time to time. I made friendships at Mr. Company that will be with me for the rest of my life.
I didn’t really like being a management type, though. The job wasn’t technical, favoring delegation of tech work instead. I much prefer to be responsible for only my own work, and I missed getting into the technical work.
In 2007, I moved over to operations and became a UNIX administrator. Right away, I was given the chance to travel to Dulles, Virginia to do a bunch of work in the data center. The next year, I went to Hong Kong for two weeks to work with a team of colleagues on a big server installation. Hong Kong was my first-ever trans-Atlantic hop. My only international trips before that were the Bahamas and Canada- international traveling for beginners. Hong Kong was the first time I ever went to a place where I didn’t know the language and it was fascinating and awesome.
In 2011, I was in my fourth year as a UNIX administrator and our partners in Zurich asked us to assign a sysadmin to the local German office. Volunteers were requested, and I was in a perfect situation to go- I had just sold a condo and all of my stuff was already in storage. I said sure, and by the middle of November of that year, I was living full time in Regensburg, Germany. I was promoted again when I moved, giving me my fifth title change sine I started working for the company.
Including Germany, I visited 23 more countries during my three years living and working in Bavaria, and I made still more life-long friends. I compiled an incredible variety of experiences in that time, and it’s all chronicled here in this blog.
At the end of 2014, after three years in Germany, I returned to the US. I worked in the Boca Raton office again. During the summer of 2015, I spent five weeks in Japan to work on a migration of their customers to a new platform. While I was there, Mr. Company announced that we were divesting all of our web hosting business, and I knew my time at the company had an expiration date.
Fourteen years is a long time. While I was working for this company, I bought a home, lived in it for about seven years, and sold it. In fourteen years I’ve moved nine times, two of them internationally. I’ve attended weddings of friends and family. Also funerals. And births. My oldest niece has graduated college and purchased a house. My youngest niece just turned six. I’ve purchased two cars, a 2005 Civic and a 2015 Mazda 3. I met my girlfriend just before I moved to Germany, and we got to know each other while I was across the ocean. We’ve been together since 2014.
Trying to recap a span of nearly a decade and a half is not an easy task. It’s just too much.
It’s finally the end- the company has eliminated the positions and the entire office is closing. I’m not the last person out of the building. but there’s only a dozen or so people left to clean up the mess we all left behind. I’m glad that I’m not the one left behind, because that’s going to be the most difficult work of all.
The goodbyes on Thursday were difficult. I mostly wasn’t emotional, until Daryl started saying nice things about me. That was enough to make me almost lose it a tiny bit. (Damn you, Daryl! Why can’t you just hate me like a normal techie person?)
The picture at the start of the post was me on the first day in 2002. This one was taken earlier this week, in my last days at the company in 2016. I look like I’ve seen some stuff. And I have.
I also got the best sleep I’ve had in years on Thursday night, because there was no reason for me to wake up early on Friday. For the moment, I have nowhere to go.
So how’s your December going so far?