I ran into a friend at a recent event and during the discussion he asked what I was doing lately because he couldn’t tell from my blog. Good comment, and reminds me how easy it is to forget to discuss what seems obvious.
Last year my restlessness hit a new high. Training was starting to feel like a grind and it was hard to put any energy into it. That wasn’t something that happened overnight, and in hindsight I should have done something about it sooner. A lot of factors involved in that, and now with the passage of time I understand them better than I did then.
Toward the end of last year it was clear that it was time to do something different, but wasn’t sure what that should be. As often happens a friend reached out to me in November asking for some help with a client and while initially it didn’t seem interesting, it was the culture of the client that intrigued me and we negotiated a very flexible work schedule. For the first time in years I was more consultant than trainer and it was nice to be solving problems and maybe more importantly to me, to be back on a team of people that were fun to work with.
Early this year I added a second client and then a third, so I had some variety in my week and not all my eggs in one basket. Interesting work if not always challenging, but doing some good, and my open ended plan was to continue through the end of the year. It was tiring at times, but at the same time felt like I was recharging. Good stuff.
In June I got a call from someone I worked with years ago, asking if I would come help with a project. It was immediately interesting because it was someone I tremendously respect. The role was complex. It would require my full attention,meaning I would have to give up other clients,it would involve no hands on time with SQL Server (or any other technology), I would own delivering a major corporate goal, would have no direct reports, and most of the interim deliverables of the goal had yet to be defined. If that seems oblique it’s by design, not much of what it involves is something I can blog about.
It was a nine to twelve month commitment, and one that for the first time in a long time would take me away from SQL and databases. I thought about it for a few days and decided that perhaps this was the industrial strength challenge I’d been needing, so I set up a transition plan and as I write this I’m 6 weeks into the new project. It’s been challenging, interesting, and feels like a good change.
That’s it for now. Is this a course change or merely a detour? I don’t know. As I think about how much I’ve changed over the years one of the things that seems constant is that I like walking the harder and less obvious path, betting that it will pay off in some interesting way at some point. It will be interesting to see where this path takes me.