I didn't go to work today. I no longer have my ThinkPad and my Blackberry sits in my desk drawer where I will eventually extract personal phone numbers and email addresses.
No sadness; it's not even bittersweet. It feels good. It remind me of how my wife and I felt when we did that Freshman year, college drop-off thing. Although we saw many teary eyed parents, we were smiling and our kids were smiling, too. We were all ready as it was just time for this next phase of life (for all). And this is time feels that same way.
On June 26, 1978 I sat through the new hire orientation at an IBM Laboratory in Kingston, NY totally without a clue about work or life. I had spent the prior six years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute getting a BS, an MS and a playing a whole lot of Ultimate Frisbee. I was aware that I had grown up - a little - but that I was far from a fully formed adult.
Thirty-two years later I look back on so much. During my career I was privileged to travel the world, do things that impacted markets and be part of the team that helped shape IBM's software business. I have been married for thirty-one years and my wife and I raised two wonderful children, a son, 24, and our daughter, now 22. So much to be proud of.
So why did I do it? I could easily have spent many more years at IBM and continued to enjoy going to work every day. But I am very fortunate to be able to afford to do this and I really want to do different things. I am far from ready to be a couch potato or to sit out on the porch. (And our return from visiting our son when he was in Senegal showed us that what we need is far different than what we want. We really don't need much).
I might be closer to being a fully formed adult, but I am still growing and learning. Our personal lives now have different challenges that will require me to continue to grow and change. And I want different intellectual and professional challenges to keep me energized. (Those that know me well must be shaking their heads as I am always energized!)
So that's it. I made some wonderful professional and personal friends over these years. Time will tell, but I expect and hope that many of these friendships will continue. I'm counting on LinkedIn to help, too.
Although I might be slightly out of touch from some of the corporate experiences that provide blog fodder, I still expect to hear from some of the people I mentor. I am also very sure that all the new endeavors I'm pursuing and all the new life changes will be more than sufficient to keep me blogging. All your feedback on my blog and my presentations is so very important - so thank you.
I'll be sharing some of my plans and new roles in future posts. In the meantime, the engines of my new work-life have started. No rocking chair for me.