One Month In

On December 15th, 2017, I finished a long chapter; that day marked the end of a thirteen-year spell at Sandvine. In my time with the company, we’d gone from scrappy little startup with next to no revenue to the global leader in our space, and had become a thorn in the side of some industry heavyweights.

Not a bad showing, but not the best, either (my mind has often drifted onto the subject of what factors held us back). But I had a blast, met many wonderful people, grew my career, and learned a lot about growing a company – the latter being the reason I sought employment there to begin with.

But enough about that…let’s talk about the now! One month into my ‘unpaid sabbatical’, where do things stand?

I didn’t really have much of a plan when I left: I knew only that I wanted to use the indeterminate time off to catch up on some reading, get some stuff done around the house (oh boy, aiming high!), maybe get back to some blogging, and generally ‘figure things out’ career-wise.

Let’s check in on those lofty goals.

Catch Up On Reading

Things have gone pretty well in this regard. Despite the increased social load that came with the traditional holiday season, I’ve managed to bang out a handful of books, some of which had been on my shelves for years!

A half-dozen isn’t bad! I must say, it’s a real treat to sit on the couch during the day, reading by natural light.

Overall score: solid

Get Some Stuff Done Around the House

Gonna take a mulligan on this one. I’ve done some caulking, but that’s it. In my defense, I’m waiting on a contractor’s availability for a task that’ll set off a domino effect.

Overall score: mulligan / blame contractor

Get Back to Blogging

You’re reading this, aren’t you? And did you read the recent book reports? Cool. So I’ve done something, at least.

Overall score: three (counting this post)

‘Figure Things Out’ Career-Wise

In Exit, Stage Right, I didn’t really explain the reasons behind my resignation, and it isn’t my intent to do so now; suffice it to say that there were both external/macro reasons and internal/micro reasons.

When I left Sandvine for the last time, there was no feeling of relief, of a weight being lifted, of freedom, of anything, really. I just hopped in my car and drove away, like I’d done thousands of times before. Bummer, I guess. It would’ve been nice to feel awesome.

I suspected all along that my departure wouldn’t lead to any sort of epiphanies or profound realizations, but I was still open to them appearing. Well, it turns out that I understood myself pretty well.

Nothing has changed in either my macro or micro thinking. It was time for a change, lest I ossify, and it’s clear that I want to be in an organization where:

  • I’m part of the senior leadership group, and that group is effective and competent
  • I can shape the very culture and processes
  • Whichever things are already in place before my arrival are ‘correct’
  • I’m interested in the market, company, and solution

I could expand upon each of those points to provide detailed explanations, but for now let’s just leave them as-is.

So what’s it all mean? Well, it looks like…

  • I start or do something myself
  • I become part of an organization extremely early, either as a co-founder or initial/early hire
  • I join an existing organization that happens to meet all of the criteria listed above (seems exceptionally unlikely)
  • I’m unemployed in perpetuity

At the very least, I know some of the criteria by which I’ll assess any opportunities. I should state for clarity that it isn’t a given that the next stage of my career will resemble the previous (i.e., working at a tech company); I’m entirely open to a complete change of direction, like trying my hand at writing a book, or getting into consulting. One former colleague insisted that I become a teacher (to be honest, that’s always interested me).

I suppose the next steps are to refine the thinking a bit…maybe some sort of grid is required, one that links the criteria above with a range of more general career options?

Overall score: in-progress

Lee Brooks is a freelance technology marketer based in the high-tech hub of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

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Posted in Careers, Everything

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