Set your wayback machine for Jan 1, 2016 and let's see how I got here.
January 1st saw us in Indianapolis, Indiana, with the whole crew visiting the Indianapolis Children's Museum. The museum was great, but in the back of my mind I had a feeling of change coming. Lexmark had put itself up for sale in October 2015, and things within were highly uncertain. Whenever I visited a new city, I constantly asked myself: "Could I live here?" With regards to Indy, I said, "Yes" and kept it in my mind.
When I returned to work in January, a pall hung over things. Management was more flinty than usual, and we sound found out why. They announced a Voluntary Reduction Program (VRP), which would close on March 1st. If you wanted out, they'd buy you out.
What followed was a surreal period for me. I saw many of my colleagues wrestling with staying or leaving. As a nominal part of "leadership" I did my best to get people to stay, but my words rang hollow; my heart wasn't in it.
January became February and I had an enjoyable time with my daughters at the Her Knight Dance (a Daddy/Daughter dance at Keeneland in Lexington), then February became March and it was decision time. Final day to sign-up. "Go time":
- Wife: "So, what's your decision?"
- Me: "I feel like God wants me out of here."
- Wife: "Well, you should probably listen to Him."
At 9am that day I was a Lexmark employee with a bright future with the company. By 4:45pm, I'd signed and submitted my paperwork to leave.
Thereafter followed a period waiting to find out if I'd been accepted to the program. They didn't have to take me, but they did. I was going to be leaving and I'd need to find a new job.
From there until April Fool's Day, my last official day, things were pretty bizarre. A few "going away" lunches, a decreasing trail of work, cleaning out my cube, and saying goodbyes. My last day was hard, turning in my beloved MacBook Pro and all my equipment. At the same time, I was on the job hunt.
What followed is well-chronicled in my blog. I had two job offers almost immediately, both obtained via some personal networking. I declined both; I still wonder if that was wise.
At the same time, a long series of events had transpired at our house at 1007 Walker Way in Georgetown. We loved the house, but it was over 30 years old and it needed some maintenance. In particular, we'd replaced the water heater with a tankless, gas-fired unit. We loved that "endless hot water" feeling, but turns-out this was poison for the house, allowing granules of calcified hot water into the system. In particular, the thirty-year-old faucet and shower in our downstairs bath became inoperable.
Not knowing if we were moving or not, we entered into a contract in January/February to remodel the bathroom, so now we faced (A) selling the house and (B) said house not having a downstairs bathroom. It would only get better from there.
So, as March ended, I was out of work for the first time since I'd been 19. I didn't know it, but I wouldn't work again until July 5th, my start-date at Amazon. I had a quarter of this year off work. During that time:
- Learned to love Red State BBQ in Georgetown
- Multiple Job interviews
- Worked on getting the house ready to sell
- Followed-through on our Disney vacation plans
- Trips to Austin to interview and find housing
The second half of the year is a blur of settling-in here, getting used to Austin (somewhat), and working here at Amazon. Looking back on it, it's really amazing that all this transpired in only a year.
I'm older, fatter, grayer, balder, and generally more sallow than I was when the year began. I sleep much more, but I don't get rest like I did in Georgetown. I'm learning lots here at work.
What I've done this year, I've done out of obedience, with the general understanding that it wasn't for me, but for my family. They're much healthier in a warmer, drier climate.