Closing time

Last September, I told my colleagues I would be leaving at the end of the year. I summed it up this way: I was able to run a 6 year experiment in remote work, and the results were in: it didn’t suit me. It was great to be together at meetings, and get caught up face to face, but it wasn’t so great to be thousands of miles away from a growing toddler, now little boy. It wasn’t as great to work from an office in my home, two hours behind my nearest colleagues, even if it had a dancefloor. Since we wouldn’t be moving back to Boston anytime soon, and we’ve settled into the wet woods of the NW, it seemed like the right time to go.

I’ve joked that, since my mail went out, it’s been like a 3 month-long Irish wake. Casket is open, joking is 24/7, people take out all but forgotten photos I’m glad have private acls, and some very nice people ask if there isn’t a way, some way, to stay. I think I’ve put in 10 hours of exit interviews, thinking about the future and its bright possibilities, for technologies and people alike.

At the last face-to-face meeting I attended, I cried only twice – once when a colleague gave a detailed account of how I had helped him, and once when I saw a young couple with their son, about Ben’s age and enthusiasm level, enjoying pancakes for Saturday breakfast. I knew I had made the right decision, leaving when I felt my work there was done.

The last month has been focused on putting together announcements scheduled to run in the new year, making changes to internal resources so they are usable to people other than me, firming up the details of scheduled interviews, essays, making lists of what I’m handing off and what I’ll be carrying through into the new year, including two fun writing projects on the history of the Web and the future of Mobile Web work.

My last week has brought relative quiet to the internal irc channels, with a loyal skeleton crew. Other folks pop in and wave with reports of snow, geek gifts, or new publications on the horizon. The autoresponder scheduled to go live on 2 Jan is short and sweet; the “see you later” internal Web page is sweet, but longer, with photos and anecdotes of conversations and travels and children, the things that matter when most of your colleagues are also your friends.

Calling it closing time doesn’t feel quite right, since no one is falling into the night, fumbling for keys, trying to remember where the car was parked. Our joints open again tomorrow, it’s just that now, they’re side by side.

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Filed under colleagues, Friends, goodbyes, hellos, transitions, work

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