Today is the last day for one of our engineers here at InVision. He's decided to move on to the challenges of embedded programming with physical devices - a completely different area of technology. I know that decisions like this are very tough to make and often weigh heavily on people for weeks or even months before they decide to commit. I know this because I've been there; ten years ago, I used to work for a company called Nylon Technology.
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During my tenure at Nylon Technology, I met Clark Valberg - my InVision co-founder and, frankly, the visionary who makes the magic happen. After we became friends, he brought up the idea of starting a new company called Epicenter Consulting. Now, I'm not one to embrace change; so, this seemingly small idea became a six-month courtship of hand-wringing and uncomfortable conversations.
One of my biggest hang-ups was that I thought my bosses at the time would be angry at me for leaving. I'm a fairly non-confrontational person, so this assumption was a powerful deterrent. Plus, that job was my first "real" job out of college and I viewed Jim and Steve as people who had "taken a chance" on employing me in the first place. I had cut my teeth with them; I started as the guy who converted design files to HTML and I ended as their CTO; I felt a strong sense of loyalty and commitment to this company.
To help alleviate my fears, Clark said something that has stuck with me for the last decade:
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This shift in perspective was one of the last things that allowed me to finally commit to joining Clark and forming Epicenter Consulting. And, it was ultimately the best decision I've ever made. At Epicenter, we imagined, designed, and created InVision App; which, ultimately, became InVision App Inc, the most successful and exciting company that I've ever been part of.
Now, a decade later, that perspective is woven into the fabric of my mind. And, if one of our engineers decides that it's time to move on, there's no one more excited than me. I've written recommendations, given phone interviews, and taken surveys - whatever I can do to help him or her get that next job. Because, who knows - maybe that next job is their own personal InVision; and if I can help make that happen in some small way, nothing would make me happier.
Hi Ben - Great piece, and I couldn't agree more.
People leaving a role to pursue their dreams is probably one of the best things out there. It is not slamming a door shut on that manager, rather it is opening up an opportunity for a long-term relationship with that person.
Years ago when I first became a manager, I asked a friend who had been one for a couple of years already if he had any advice. He said 2 words - people leave. As a manager, in the short-term someone leaving a team may have a negative impact, but your job as a manager is to turn that around as fast as possible.
I love it. On the one hand, we want to create an environment that is pleasurable and fulfilling for everyone. But, not everything works for everyone, and some things change slower than others, and people's needs change. This place will not be right for everyone all the time. But, I can always try to be good to people and to help pay forward all the support that I've received over the years.
When I left my job of 5 years (about two years ago), my boss was very understanding. He's also a friend whom I do camping trips with, board gaming and poker, too. So, we still hung out quite frequently.
I was at the new gig for a year and a half when Mr. Boss approached me and asked "what'll it take to get you back?" That really felt good that my initial time with the company had enough of an impact that he (and his boss) felt it was worth it to bring me back. I wasn't looking for the re-hire, but the employee benefits were greater than I was receiving at the new gig (and the lack of promised bonuses were missing, too), so I came on back. Been back now for 8 months thus far and certainly unlikely to leave anytime soon.
New boss, same as the old boss. It's good to feel needed. And speaks volumes of why you never want to burn those bridges!
Nothing would make you happier, other than Lucy ;-)
Back when I was just beginning my career, I was working at a store run by a friend, who would eventually become the best man at my wedding. It wasn't development related- it was a retail job that paid the bills until I could find a job in the field. Anyway, Jeff would occasionally tell me the bit from "Good Will Hunting". Every morning when he came in, he hoped he'd see my resignation since he knew that meant I'd moved on to something better.
He was pretty happy the day I gave my two weeks notice.
I love that movie. "I gotta see about a girl." Classic. Makes me want to watch it again.
Ha ha, well, you can't top Lucy - this is reality after all.
Absolutely! Such a great story :) Always leave on good terms. I know there's a lot of people that are looking for that reason to leave with a dramatic exit - but, you never know when it can come back to bite you.