Sunday, February 20, 2011

Life comes at you fast

Here I sit, in a hotel in Rochester. This is my 3rd trip out. I'll have spent more time out here this month than I have at home. I'm on day 6 of an 8 day outing this time. After this, I'll return and get to start working from my new office, which is actually some office furniture we placed in the piano room. Yes, I will be working from home full time as of Wednesday.

Two years ago, I was still working with the same team I had for years. Gary, Clint, Scott, Terry, Kent, Peter, Skip and I had worked together at Novell for probably over 10 years together. No one ever left the group, no one ever came into the group. We were a tight knit bunch.

This actually extended to quite a bit of the Novell IT folks. We had little turnover, we worked great as a team, and life was good. I don't think anyone anticipated what was coming.

I had felt something was changing, for several months. It weighed on me to the point that I had to make a change, and went to work for the church. Within months, Novell had outsourced their IT department to ACS, and the changes were fast.

Kent left to work for Ultradent. Terry ended up at Nuskin. I actually left working for the church, came back to ACS to work on the Novell account, and am now half time on a Xerox account. Clint still works for ACS, but is living in Alaska. Gary, Scott and I both work from home, as does Peter. Skip left to work at Overstock. The team is gone!

As far as the former Novell IT department, it is decimated. A few were chosen to still work for Novell, but most of them have left. Many of those that went to ACS seem a bit disappointed and bitter about the change. Very few remain. In fact, I'm not entirely sure how ACS will support the Novell contract, given the widespread departures.

My conclusion is that everyone is seeking something better, maybe a return to the good old days at Novell. I'm not sure what it is they seek, but I hope they find it. Many have gone to work for the LDS church IT department. I suspect they will find it very much like ACS actually. I could have been happy working at the church. The two factors that made it miserable were the commute and the manager from hell. As far as how things are run, you are looking at two ITIL shops, with all the formality and structure that it brings. You encounter management that doesn't always seem to make sense. What I love about ACS is the variety available to me and the ability to work where I want. The church was very odd about working from home, which always struck me as odd since the church itself is very much about family.

My take after working with Novell, ACS, Xerox, the LDS church, Symetra, Unicity and a variety of other groups? The IT industry is what it is, and you have to roll with the punches. Enjoy where you are at, and be grateful to have a job. Be friendly with your coworkers, customers and clients, and make the best of where you are at in your career. If you feel you need a change, do it for the right reasons.

And honestly, hasn't the church IT department grown enough?