On letting go and being let go

As I continue though my journey through my career I have experienced many things. I’ve created software that is used by thousands of people. I’ve architected databases that store information for a three billion dollar supply chain. I’ve lead a multi-million dollar project to successful implementation. I’ve created many, many project plans, some with thousands of tasks. I’ve had to hire people and fire people. I’ve had to mediate discussions between conflicting co-workers. I’ve had to tell others that their work wasn’t satisfactory. I’ve created web sites, windows applications, windows services, web services, reports and interactive spreadsheets. I’ve worked into the early morning hours countless times. I’ve celebrated when a large software deployments succeed and shook my head when a minor release fails. I’ve taught colleagues both technical and business information. I’ve had to make tough technical and business decisions and a bunch of compromises along the way. I’ve seen and done so much over my career but the one thing I never experienced was being let go…until now.

For the almost twelve years I’ve worked for a company that manages the supply chain for a global restaurant chain. I was hired as a developer in early 2000 and promoted Senior Developer three years later. In 2007 I was promoted to Manager, Application Architecture and took charge of most of the company’s development projects and systems that were developed in-house. During this time I transformed myself from a developer to a leader. I wound up leading the project that rewrote the entire supply chain software that ran the three billion dollar supply chain. On September 24, I was notified that my services were no longer required and that my last day will be on October 31st.

This was not a surprise to me. In fact, I saw this coming at the beginning of the year. The lack projects being thrown my way. The lack of communication from upper leadership. There just didn’t seem to be enough for me to do. The silence was deafening. I decided early this summer that I would seek alternative employment but I wanted to finish out the fiscal year out first. This time was difficult emotionally for me. I had sold out to the organization for so long I was no longer Richie Rump I was Richie Rump-Manager, Application Architecture. I had to separate my identity from my role in the company. That was hard because I didn’t realize that my identity had changed. I was questioning everything; who I am, what I’ve done and what I wanted to do. Luckily, this time didn’t last long but it did serve as a gut check and a checkpoint.

I don’t see my departure as a pure negative event. The company and I were moving in separate directions. The company was getting leaner and I was looking for the next challenge and not finding it there. I don’t hold any ill will towards the company, quite the opposite, I wish them all the best. I will miss many, many people there many whom I worked with for over a decade. I’m honestly looking forward to tackling the next opportunity and moving forward.