Starting Over

I have enjoyed taking time off this summer. Taking a break after working 25 year straight with no gaps has been eye opening for me.

I’ve grown and learned some things about myself, making me a better person! So much value in this.

I spent most of the summer with my son and many times it felt like a ‘job’ and not the relaxing summer I thought it would be.

Alex had summer school for three weeks, and on the last day of picking him up my car died. Alternator was toast and that was an unexpected expense. We made the most of the day hanging out downtown looking at art and taking photos. We call this ‘meandmuhdad’ time because Alex only wants to do these thins with me.

Driving school started this year and there has been a lot shuttling back and forth a few times per week, as well as scheduled drives.

My wonderful partner left for the summer on her own journey and was gone several months. A much needed break for her and I was happy she had the opportunity to connect with old friends across the country. I spent time taking care of her house while she was away.

All of these felt like jobs in a way and I haven’t been idle or really had any time for myself. I need a full on break where I am disconnected from the world for a week. The mountains are calling.

I am finally starting to look at jobs and the job market is interesting now. I am only interested in companies that really want leaders who will mentor and grow teams in a healthy way. I see more of this in job descriptions now and it is encouraging. The right fit will happen and I look forward to starting new again.

It is not a challenge, it is an opportunity to take everything I have learned and apply it to a new space while continuing to learn and grow.

Learning To Relax

I did it. I quit my job towards the end of June. The environment had become so toxic and the culture had changed dramatically with new leadership.

I could not work for a group of people who don’t share the same work values and ethics any longer. This was a difficult choice because I had been with this company for almost 9 years and I had built this amazing team of engineers. I honestly loved working with every single one of them.

It was shocking to see how a leadership change impacted our culture so quickly, and how the feedback around culture was not well received. The response was “if you don’t like it here, leave”.

I’ve never been that kind of leader and I never will.

Hire the right people, let them shine and grow. Mentor them. Don’t punish them for making mistakes if they learn from it. Treat them as PEERS not as objects that serve you. Push them to better themselves and enable the ability to do so.

Looking back on how stressed I was before I left my position and it is amazing how I bad it was and how I was so down in it that I couldn’t recognize the signs. I was tired, unhealthy and miserable. It became the norm.

Taking time off was difficult. I had to learn how to relax and be myself again and it was 100% worth it.

I refuse to work for a company that has a toxic culture in the future. I look forward to my next steps and am excited and refreshed.

Hold My Beer

2020 – COVID/Election/Vaccine protests
2021 – COVID/Lockdowns/Vaccine mandate protests/January 6th attack
2022 – COVID/Trucker Convoy protest/Russian invades Ukraine

The world feels like a mess.

I lived through the Cold War and remember watching The Day After. The thought of a nuclear war happening was always in the back of my throughout middle and high school until the USSR collapsed and the wall came down.

I haven’t felt that way in 35 years. Until now. It feels like the situation in the Ukraine is spinning out of control and my fear is this would spill into Poland and trigger a NATO response. Will it happen? I sure hope not, but the possibility remains.

Locally things have been spinning out of control. Crime is crazy and it feels lawless in my city. The police spent the better part of 2021 ‘hands off’ due to an interpretation of a law signed by our Governor designed to hold law enforcement officers accountable.

Coming out of the COVID restrictions has been telling. People are, for lack of a better word, feral. People have forgotten how to communicate and be respectful to each other. Instant anger and confrontation happening.

We’ve lost the ability to be decent humans. There are still glimpses of this but it is rare now and I am trying to remain positive and lead by example for my son.

My job is still stressful. Working from home for two years has been a blessing and a curse. I love the flexibility provided, but I need to learn how to disconnect. I’ve fallen into the trap of always being available and it is impacting my mental and physical health in a negative way. I have bene eating poorly, gained weight and fall into a bad mental place often.

Working on those things to get back on track now.

I miss travel more than anything right now and a month long trip somewhere feels out of reach.

My son is growing up so fast and I love him with every fiber of my being. He is so talented and beautiful inside and out. Being a father and raising him has been the highlight of my life and I hope he understands that when he is older and can reflect back on our time together long after I am gone.

New Year

We made it to 2022 and I was busy working through most of the holidays. This is the first year in my career that I had to work Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and Day and I am burned out.

I love managing my team but I’m not feeling supported from leadership right now so it may be time to move on.

Amiga 500

My son wanted an Amiga 500 for years after learning that I ran a BBS on an Amiga 500 and 2000. I was a full on Commodore fan and ran these systems well into the late 90’s before retiring them and giving the systems away.

A neighbor found out that my son was into this and reached out to us last year. Her father was also a huge Commodore fan and owned several machines and a ton of original software. Her father passed away last year and she stopped by the house last night with 4 boxes full of equipment.

An Amiga 500, VIC-20, Commodore monitor, disk drives and everything else you can think of. I wanted to pay her for all of this and she broke down. She said her father would have wanted someone to love the equipment as much as he did, and she knew my son was the one.

How amazing is that? People have become so hard shelled during the pandemic and then there is a bright light like this to remind me that there are good people.

My son is going nuts. He just restored an IBM 5160 and has it up and running and was ready for new projects and now we get to bring him into the world of the Commodore machines.

COVID

I’ve lost a few high school friends now. One of them was very health focused, in great shape and a fan of the ‘natural immunity’ thing. COVID killed him. His lungs collapsed.

I’m over fighting for the folks that believe this is just a simple flu and have come to the realization that people are just going to die and that’s that.

6 Months Later..

264,723,339 cases globally with 5.2 Million deaths. The United States counts just under 50 Million cases with 800k dead. We’ve gone from Delta to a new Omicron variant. Boosters are recommended.

I’ve been busy with work, more than I ever have in my career and it is taking a toll.

Maybe a career change? I really don’t know yet. I love the type of work I do when it fits and I have new leadership with potential positive changes ahead but there is never a guarantee.

I have plenty to be thankful for right now. I’ve grown quite a bit the past two years and have worked hard removing old habits and mental blocks from childhood bullshit. I no longer feel guilty about everything and have invested in self care..

My son started high school this year and watching him grow as a person is an amazing journey. He’s found his tribe! He actually likes school!

We are planning some travel this year now that it feels safer to travel. I would love to spend a solid 3-4 weeks in Greece and I’m already looking into where and when.

I turn 53 next week. Birthdays are not my thing so I intend to keep it low key.