Apprehension

Today I wake up to begin my last day at Adobe. I’ve known this day was coming for a long time, but never really expected I would feel this way when it did- a little nervous, a little excited, and a whole lotta anxious. It’s a bit like the morning before your last day of school when you know the people and places you see today are ones you’ll remember the rest of your life, but they won’t be part of your day – to – day life after this evening, for the first time in 12 years.

I’m preparing for my day by packing up a laptop I won’t return home with, attempting in vain to clean out an Outlook inbox I’ll never reach the end of once today’s over and my Adobe accounts are disabled. Rifling through a neatly – ordered closet of clothes that will all get yanked down into boxes in short order. Wondering if I remembered to do that one last thing, for that one last time, before the light goes out in my offices and I move my family six hours away from this place – and I’m pretending as if it’s just another day.

So many small routines that you get used to over the years, small comforts that support you you throughout your days, your weeks, your months, that become an imprint on your life after 12 years. All to change as of tomorrow morning, much as if I had time-warped back to that last day at college, facing a summer vacation with no end and the need for myself to think life all over from scratch again. It’s a little bit scary too, I’ll admit. One foot before the other, though– I’m going to enjoy this last day of routine no matter how difficult it really is for me inside. None of my schools even lasted 12 years, though
– these people, places, sights, sounds, and smells are part of me now. I never really acknowledged the separation anxiety I’d face leaving Adobe until now, with it staring me in the face so brusquely.

This isn’t going to be easy– I never thought it would, of course. But it’s certainly going to be a bit more difficult than I expected. I guess starting afresh never is.

Well, here I go.

Changes

It’s been a wonderful 12+ years in the Bay Area, but as of July 1st Des, Devin and I are packing up our East Bay house and renting it out, and moving down to Santa Barbara county. Carpinteria in particular, and to a new job at Lynda.com as their developer content marketing manager. My last day at Adobe is June 28th. I’m really going to miss Adobe- and all the wonderful friends and colleagues I’ve made during my oddly-erratic 12 years there (including the Macromedia years).

In some ways it’s not the choice many would have expected- bad time to sell a house, tons of jobs flowing through the Bay Area/Silicon Valley, HTML has never been more pervasive and full of promise than it is today for someone of my background.  The easy path would be to stick with my job and the amazing Dreamweaver team and keep cranking out the hits, or hang out around the Bay as a free agent jumping from startup to startup making a pile of cash but with little personal time to enjoy it.  The decision was a tricky one for me, and my family/quality of life factored in more heavily than ever before.

It really came down to the need for change.  To shed the old skin I’ve been in for the last 12+ years and reinvent my career with a family I adore, in a town we both love, working on a set of challenges I’ve always wanted to, and the right balance of my time to enjoy both.  I’ve been working around and with the same company, products and technology for over a decade and despite the maturity that sustained focus can bring, it also has it’s drawbacks. Whenever you view the same problems through the same lens for so long you run the risk of becoming complacent. Predictable. And I don’t care for either of those traits, honestly. Although I love the Web like an old friend, I’ve slowly come to realize that I needed to do something else entirely.  I love Dreamweaver (and Adobe) like crazy and can’t help feel an almost paternal separation anxiety leaving them after so long at the helm, but it’s time for both of us to fly free.

So here we are.

My managers and closest colleagues are all who’ve known so far, and have been working with me to transition the multi-million dollar business of Dreamweaver, Inc. out of my hands in the next 10 days or so.  I’ve been dreading the infamous ‘Goodbye Email’ to my broader team and colleagues, but that will go out today as well.  Followed by a rush of exit paperwork, legal documents and the like as the door whooshes shut behind me at Adobe’s SF offices and a new rush of realtors, moving vans, renter screening, school hunting, and general busywork required to move a family and 12 years worth of their collected junk 6 hours south so I can hit the ground running on July 23rd, my first day at the Lynda.com offices.

I’ll admit in some ways I’m nervous as hell undertaking such a huge change, but mostly I’m just looking forward to a complete change of environment and challenge, and to work at a company 100% focused on educating and enriching people’s lives and careers in Lynda.com.  A privately-held company without shareholder pressure to elevate the stock price quarterly, serving customers with problems that I can help solve with a team that’s sitting in the same room as me and not a distant voice across a Skype or VoIP bridge. And those customers are largely the same ones I’ve been building tools for the last decade or so, old friends who I’ve only been able to help by building better hammers, not elevating the craft of what they do, of who they are.  It’s time for me to focus on that for a while.

And that’s exciting as hell.