Tuesday, February 03, 2009

2008 in Review - Part One

It is tradition for me to take New Year's Eve to reflect on the past year. This year, it didn't happen. That's why you are seeing this at the beginning of February. To that end, in the spirit of getting on with things, here is the first part of my 2008 review.

2008 in Review

2008, on the surface, looks a bit like 2006, only flipped on its head. I moved on from a company to start something new.. 2006 saw me depart from Halliburton three months into the year. 2008 saw me leave Intuit three months before the end of the year. A couple of months before 2006 started, we had a baby. A couple of months after 2008, we will have another baby.

A pretty superficial comparison, I know. We didn't move in 2008 or do a lot of other things either but it seemed like a good place to start. This is, too:


2008 came in much like any other year. It was cold. We've spent as much time in this house as we did in the condo and it has become apparent to me that when we moved, it was a significant trade-off of insulation for square footage. I have never faced more fully the heat of the summer or the winter chill.

Despite a scare with Intuit and our fickle budget the previous July, I was flush with employment. The company went as far as to help my productivity by providing a laptop for me to work at home.


Then they took away any need for me to work overtime by canceling our project. This was the beginning of the end at Intuit.

On the way to Beaver Camp, we were rear-ended. Not hard enough to hurt anyone. Not hard enough, even, to break the eggs in the trunk. Hard enough to bust up the bumper, though. A bust-up that wouldn't be repaired until the end of summer.


Being cast adrift from my project at Intuit was, at first, a little liberating. The prospect of a new project was daunting but who knew? Maybe the project I moved to would be able to catch some of the lightning in a bottle that BCM (the newly-ended project) had. However, I always thing it's best to cover my bases, so I had my first job interview as an employee of Intuit.

April: Time really didn't breeze by as quickly as it seems as I'm writing this. Time actually dragged right out. I jumped around to a couple of project ideas during this time: a webmail thing; an RSS thing; my eventual landing spot, Customer Central; even a small stint on the project that replaced BCM: Quicken Online. None of them really stuck and minds were changed until I found Customer Central. I knew some others who had also landed there, however briefly and it seemed as good a place as any.


Nick returned to soccer and I helped out as the head coach again. This year worked out to be a bit better as I had an assistant coach and, let's face it, more than enough time on my hands. I also started playing soccer again, though I can't remember the specific month when I started, so it makes sense for me to put in in there with Nick's. This is also the month that the rest of the family went to Chicago and I went... to Chicago. I went to study Java and Kim and the kids went to visit with the Andersons who abandoned us to the frozen wastelands went south in search of new opportunities in the wake of Kyle's graduation.

Kim has told me of her experiences in Chicago. Driving, sight-seeing, scrapbooking, laughing, driving...

My experience was nothing like that. Twelve hours per day over six days, I sat in a stuffy classroom and listened to a Philadelphia guy talking about all the pleasant features, details and pitfalls of the Java programming language and all the tricky, nasty, evil things that would be on the test to try and trip me up. Professionally, the trip was a success, despite only seeing Kim for a couple of hours after the test. This, even though we tried to get together for lunch one day.


As far as I've been able to pull out of the hole in my brain, nothing major happened in June. Life had settled into a fairly predictable routing. Soccer for Nick and I, running for Kim, continued insanity for Lilly. Work started to mean less and less as I struggled to find any motivation at all. I should have walked away then and there and I likely would have if it weren't for the bonus in August. Hindsight being what it is, I should have left anyway. Happiness and job satisfaction are worth more than 10% of my annual salary.


I spent a significant amount of July on vacation. The four of us and Kim's family – her parents and her brother's family – went to Salmon Arm, B.C. For a camping vacation. I have learned to fear summer vacations. The year previous, I came back from Vancouver to discover that my job was in jeopardy. This year, when I returned from vacation, DING, you guessed it. My job was in jeopardy. Intuit laid off 575 people in July, including my friend Marius. This was the middle of the end for my time at Intuit.

That's it for now. Next up, August through December. Big changes ABOUND.

Stay tuned,


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