<Cliché> Life works in mysterious ways </Cliché>

<Cliché> All things happen for a reason </Cliché>

However you slice it the last week has been quite a wild one for me and my family.  It all came to be in the series of two emails received less than four hours apart from one another.  The first was an email through LinkedIn at 5:04pm.  Someone had seen my profile and thought I’d be a perfect addition to their company.  The position’s details were intriguing and it was 100% telecommute, but I was happy where I was at – the company I worked at for 11 years – building the SQL environment from scratch as their first SQL DBA.  I was able to telecommute 4-5 days per week as had been the case for years.  They paid for my attendance at Tech-Ed, PASS Summit, and every SQL Saturday I asked to attend.  I was planning on retiring from this company some day.  That was the only thing that stopped me from considering the position further.  I sent the email onto someone I knew that was actively looking for a new job.  It was 7:30pm.

I was finishing up a five-instance cluster install for <REDACTED> later that night.  At 8:51pm I saw my phone was blinking orange; a message from the office.  It crushed me.  Effective immediately all staff that reported through a specific Director were being informed that all telecommuting priviledges were being revoked effective the following Monday – no exceptions.  We were now expected to report to the office every day and had 2 business days to arrange for all aspects of our lives that had been built-up around our telecommuting lifestyle.  Effectively we were being relocated and had hardly any time to address all the issues that arise from such a situation.

The Seven Stages of Grief start with Shock & Denial.  They came charging through quickly: “they can’t be doing this!  What are they thinking?”  Pain & Guilt are supposed to show up next, though I skipped all the guilt and shot straight into Anger & Bargaining.  All these emotions were rolling through my head when my wife suggested I call about the position outlined in the first email.  I called.  The discussion lasted for an hour, perhaps longer.  Looking back on it now it really was not a good time to call.  Afterwards Amy told me that, listening into the conversation (though one-sided) that I became obviously more-relaxed and comfortable in what turned into my first interview in 11 years.  An interview that, 30 minutes earlier I would have laughed at if you suggested it was about to happen.

This was Wednesday night.  I already had Friday afternoon off in order to head to Chicago with the family so Brent Ozar and I could wrap up SQL Cruise planning.  This company is headquartered in Chicago.  A slight detour and I would be meeting with the VP of Technology in a Starbucks in Oak Lawn that Friday afternoon.  In the meantime I held fast to Anger and dropped into the Depression stage.  After the call I started going through all my contacts through the various means available to me in order to get the word out that I was looking for work: Twitter DMs, text messaging, email, phone calls.  Then Friday arrived and so did the Upturn stage…

I met the VP of Technology as planned.  Both of us in shorts – me overdressed in a Polo instead of a T-Shirt.  Brian had walked over from his home.  You see, the entire company telecommutes; they get it.  I had a tentative job offer at the end of the meeting – my kids and Amy had ice cream.  I think I won.

The actual offer came in on Monday and details were worked through by Wednesday.  I was scheduled to come into the office at 2:30pm to hear details of the new remote work situation with my Manager and Director.  I did so after signing an offer letter earlier in the day.  However, since I did have a great 11 years with the company – minus the last 2 working days of it to this point – I came in on my day off (having taken two weeks PTO in order to get my affairs in order) to listen to what they had to say – and to give notice.  As it stands I need to work the next two weeks (starting next week) and 100% of it remote.  I’ll wrap up my last day in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida right before the Speakers’ Dinner for SQL Saturday #40 which will lead into SQL Cruise.  PTO the next week and last day of work on 8/9/2010 which is also my first day of work at my new job.  One I’m looking forward to immensely.

There is only one problem – Buck Woody please sit down…

My title is Senior SQL Developer.

I would like to thank all those that came through with offers of contract work and permanent positions.  It is truly amazing to have a great network of fellow SQL professionals.  That I can call so many of them close personal friends is one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever been blessed with.  It goes to show that a solid foundation of work experience and knowledge is one thing.  The volunteerism in the community and social networking aspect of the SQL community is what rounded out the total package that brought me my new position.  You can know every aspect of a technology or trade and be a success.  The ability to build relationships, forge friendships, and educate yourself and others will almost ensure that success.

I’ve made a promise to my sons.  It’s time to load up the car and go north to the wilds of Northern Michigan for the next four days – just the three of us.  By day: trips to Mackinac Island, Sault Ste. Marie, and Tahquamenon Falls.  By night, crafting my presentations for SQL Cruise and SQL Saturday 40 once they drift off to bed.  I’ve blazed through Reconstruction and am really enjoying this last stage of grief: Hope.