Me in the Mirror

Saying Goodbye

My last day at Security Compass was December 23rd, 2023, ending a 12 year career with the company. A lifetime in tech, maybe in most industries nowadays. I wrote two goodbye emails to the company, both shared below.

Goodbye, the first.

I have been chatting with Steve, our VP of Engineering, more or less since he joined, about my role here at Security Compass and what I should be doing next with my career and life. Maybe the sorts of conversations I’ve had with some of you, or that you’ve had with your own managers.

A little while ago we came to the decision that it’s time for me to move on: I will leave Security Compass at the end of this year. My last day is December 23rd! Steve will be filling in for me until we hire a new Director of Engineering. The process has started and we hope to have someone early in the new year.

I know this might be a lot to process. I find it hard to think about myself, and I’ve been sitting with this for some time now. I wish I could have spoken to each of you 1-1: and to be honest I have really tried. It’s been quite exhausting.

For a long time I thought the next step for myself was to be the VP of Engineering. Awkward then that they kept hiring other people for the position. I told Steve as much when he joined, and he was all, “Great, let’s get you ready for that role!”

Working with Steve these last 6 months has been really interesting. Intense! I feel like I’ve learned a lot, that I have grown a lot. But really, my biggest take away from this time has been that I was just chasing a title. Seeing Steve work, what doing that role effectively means, has made it clear it’s not for me. Certainly not at a company as big as ours. Even my current role has drifted further and further away from what I love over the years.

I am off to figure out what I will do next. Till then, step one is to do a whole lot of nothing.

This is the greatest place I’ve ever worked. I have loved all my time here. Even when it was very difficult, I have always felt so supported. I’ll have much more to say about all of that. Later.

Goodbye, the second.

When I joined Security Compass I was 30, my wife was pregnant, and I lived in a one-bedroom condo next to a strip club. My daughter’s almost twelve now. That’s a long time! My life has changed so much, personally and professionally. There is no easy way to sum up my time here.

Rohit [now our CEO] called me on August 5th, 2010, to offer me a job at Security Compass. I told him I was hoping for more money and that I’d think more and get back to him. A real power move on my part. Then I walked back to my desk and wrote him an email, which I sent right away. It began, “I really don’t need till Monday to decide: I’m very interested in the job.”

Not the best way to negotiate, but I just couldn’t imagine working another day at my current job. That’s a shame, really. I had enjoyed working at Datawire until I didn’t. Tom, our old scrum master, used to say, “if the code is perfect you’ve worked on it too long.” A corollary might be, “if it doesn’t sting when you leave you’ve waited too long.”

I will really miss all of you here. This company is full of amazing people. I am always excited about each new person that walks through the door. There is so much potential here. So many smart and passionate people.

But to be honest, there are lots of companies with smart people. Smart people are nothing special. The challenge is finding those places filled with people you want to work with. People who are friendly and supportive and fun. This is a great place to work because people here are doing the work to make it so. It takes effort, and I hope it’s an effort each of you continue to make: answer people’s questions in slack, come to the work events, talk to people you don’t work with! Small kindness is easy and goes a long way.

There was this period of time when Emily and Houssam were playing Skyrim and would greet each other by yelling random nonsense phrases from the game. This was weirdly the first thing to pop into my head as I sit down to say my goodbyes. My head is full of memories like this. The moments in between work that make it all human.

I hope you all enjoy your time here as much as I have.

What’s Next

Now I find myself trying to sort out what comes next. A real challenge: the company was such a fixture in my life. I have some thoughts about what I should do and where I should go, but to start I will enjoy some time doing nothing. Elden Ring won’t finish itself. I also want to write more, and maybe some of that will happen here.