Standing in a Boston hotel room, I went to put my room key in my sport coat pocket and found something that gave me pause. It was a sign.
Life has truly been chaotic. My Master's program is winding down, and while I love my job at Penn State and the team I work with, I felt change was coming and desperately needed. The last several years have been spent juggling my job, teaching, side company, family, master's degree, and so on. I drive two hours a day to work, I don't make it to the gym nearly as much as I should, and I always feel like I'm taking time away from my family and beautiful daughter; while on limited sleep and copious amounts of coffee.
Furthermore, I found out how fragile life is. In a few years, I saw my father in law and one of my grandfathers die. I also witnessed the birth of my daughter. Comparing the two extremes of life and death truly hit me. The realization of mortality - that of my own or others I care for - became real to me. I watched as those around me struggled with the same challenges. All roads led to change.
On a whim, I started researching jobs in companies that I thought complemented my skills. I interacted with varying people from all of these cool companies at DrupalCon Denver. The conference taught me about all of the innovation being done throughout the community and how the work I was doing actually complemented such efforts. I was shocked to discover my efforts paralled a lot of super bright people in the Drupal community. If anything, this gave me a little confidence.
I found a few remote positions that peaked my curiosity. I could stay in the same area, not drive to work, be home for my family when needed, and have the potential to work and grow with those on the bleeding edge of the industry. So, I threw my name into the hat without even an expectation of an acknowledgement. I was shocked when I was asked to participate in a phone interview for a couple companies. I was even more shocked when they continued to be interested and asked for more phone interviews. It had to be a fluke, right?
After travelling for two in-person interviews, reality was really sinking in. I had met some of the nicest and brightest people and I still couldn't believe I even had a chance to work with them. And then, within a day, I received two offers. I opted to take the Technical Architect position at Acquia, Inc. out of Burlington, MA. I have always admired the work being done at Acquia and I am still in shock that I will joining this awesome team.
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially after spending the majority of my professional life here. As hard as it will be to walk out of my office at Penn State for the last time and say goodbye, I am humbled by the positive feedback I have received so far and the vote of confidence in my future endeavors. I learned a lot from the many professionals here at PSU that allowed me to make my own mistakes and mentor me. I learned something at every position I have held here, both technically and interpersonally. I look back and I am grateful.
My grandpa that passed away was a huge Penn State fan. He instilled in us a love for this institution. I am so pleased to be graduating and to have worked here. I am not sure what advice he would give me, knowing he worked in the same place for years and how attached he was to Penn State. When I reached into my coat pocket, I found the memorial card from his funeral service. It was an hour before my interview with Acquia and I gave it little thought. It was only later after the offer came in, that I think at some level he tried to say something to me. I normally don't put much weight in such things, but I believe he was giving this opportunity with Acquia his blessing.
I'll be leaving a good situation and going to a great one. I can't wait to start and I am already a fan-boy of both the company and the team I will be joining. Someday years and years down the road, I hope to come back to Penn State and bring a wealth of new experience with me. Until then, cheers and please keep in touch.