It really is about time. I’m making time for blogging – probably a lot about Magento, some about travels, some about music, and some about the miscellany that make life wonderful (or at the very least, interesting).
I’ve been thinking quite a lot about how I spend my time these days. I’ve spent a good bit of time on the road over the past few years (over 200,000 miles in air travel alone across three continents), mostly to conduct trainings for Magento U, but also to speak and teach at conferences. Most of the classroom time – more than 1500 hours as of 4/2014 – has been spent delivering the Magento U Fundamentals of Magento Development course. I love it. I’ve taught it 35 times, I always learn from it, and I get such a kick out of helping others find their way (and their opportunity) in the world of Magento development. I have so much fun and see so many places that when I talk about it I am often asked, “How do I get your job?!?” To answer that I have to jump back through time to start at the beginning.
I accidentally stumbled into programming eleven years ago. Since then several things have fallen into place to get me to where I am today. Standing out among all of the deliberate acts and happenstance is a moment five and a half years ago in 2008. I sent a slightly cryptic but thoroughly awesome cover letter to Kevin Eichelberger. That letter – which in retrospect was nothing short of ridiculous – somehow led to my becoming employee #1 at Blue Acorn, an agency which has grown to become one of the best in the Magento and eCommerce worlds. Kevin gave me time and resources to learn Magento, a fledgling eCommerce app and framework with little documentation. With Kevin’s assistance and approval I parlayed this time and experience into a consulting and teaching role for the Magento U organization. Thus, time spent in my IDE turned into time on the road. (Bonus: time on the road turns into hotel and air travel points, and these turn into vacations with the proud, patient woman in my life.)
I spent my time off the road infusing my growing knowledge back into the Blue Acorn organization, which was in the process of growing to its current population of more than 60 employees. Most of the people I’ve interviewed, hired, or worked with over the years are still at Blue Acorn. It’s amazing to watch Kevin’s six-year-old vision writ large and real. It is equally amazing to see so many of my coworkers grow in their craft and their knowledge. I watch new developers enter the organization and know that they have a place to learn and grow well into the future. Time spent at Blue Acorn is time well spent.
That said, when I am sated, that satiety is often short-lived. These five and a half years at Blue Acorn have been the most significant in my progression as a developer and as a member of the Magento community. My time at work, whether at a desk in Charleston or on the road, has taught me how kind and giving people everywhere are, whether they share knowledge, effort, opportunity, or all of these. I’ve learned so much from so many. It is because of my growth, progression, connection, and because of the level of excellence and stability at Blue Acorn that I recently broached a difficult topic with Kevin. I’ve realized that a new time has arrived: the time for me to move on.
I have spent the best time that I can with Blue Acorn, but right now my best-spent time is behind me. I have to challenge myself to do something different, to do something more. While it is perhaps the most mature, forward-looking realization I have ever had, it is definitely the most terrifying decision I’ve ever made. Credit to my subtle sage of a wife who pointed out that well-considered fear is both an indicator and motivator for proper growth and change. Complacency ultimately begets mediocrity. Mediocrity is an insidious vehicle to a state of misery. Credit also to Kevin and to Blue Acorn for graciously and selflessly accommodating my decision.
To my friends and colleagues: I will remain involved in the Magento and eCommerce worlds. I will definitely be at Magento Imagine for all the festivities (#LasVegas5k #MageRun, #ImagineHackathon, #PreImagine, and of course the conference). I’ll still be tweeting the tweets, exchanging the Magento stacks, and working on the Grokking Magento book series, I know what’s coming next, just as I know that it will take some time for me to build it up and for me to build up to it. Stay tuned.
It was an April morning when they told us we should go.
As I turn to you, you smiled at me – How could we say no?
With all the fun to have, to live the dreams we always had
Oh, the songs to sing, when we at last return again.
Led Zeppelin, “Achilles’ Last Stand”