Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

Let It Go, This Too Shall Pass

posted at 10:43 am
on Jan. 13, 2010

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Yesterday, Rachael, our office manager, turned in extended notice to my company. Her desire to depart comes on the heels of similar news from Justin, our senior programmer, who told us just after Christmas that he was going to go into business for himself.

Suddenly, after several years of having multiple employees, I face the imminent prospect of having none.

The timing couldn’t be worse ... or better.  Several major projects are coming to a finish.  And yet those larger projects will be over soon, and it’s good—surprisingly good—to be freed from the necessity to “feed the beast” and keep new large projects piled up. Running a small business means being responsible for keeping a lot of people happy: with each other, with you, with the amount of money in their pocket.

And despite hard economic times, we’ve never had layoffs, cut programs or pay, been late on a payroll or furloughed our workers, a fact I’m pretty proud of.  Not every company I know can say the same, and I’m glad we’ve been able to take care of each other here.

Note to existing (and future) clients: We’re well able to continue working you, and would never leave you without a Web team.  We’ll be on hand with a combination of our own skills and that of some first-rate sub-contractors, and there’s nothing leaving with any of our staff that you need to worry about.

* * *

It’s odd to again have the freedom to recreate our future, Susie and I.  We have faced this before, of course—quitting jobs, moving towns, doing something crazy and new, etc. etc.  There was something in the air that told me this year was going to be one of those times. I did figure it might be a little later than mid-January, but Man makes Basecamp projects while God LOLs.

So no, we don’t have any move planned or other big news to announce right now.  But keep your eyes on that RSS feed.

The saddest part of all this, of course, is the departure of employees that I considered friends as well as co-workers.  A work day doesn’t have many chances for joy—there’s a reason they call it work.

But those chances for happiness are usually based in: satisfaction in one’s work; praise for a job well done; and the camaraderie shared with others engaged in the same project you are.  Without co-workers, much of that possibility for joy is lost, and with these folks especially, they will be missed. Of course, we still have great clients 😊 .

The timing, too, of these exits isn’t lost on me.  I know that I have been operating well below the standards I aim for as a boss, and have been for much of 2009, going back to when I fell sick with mono or earlier. I’m not so self-centered as to think I’m the only reason why our employees are leaving, but it’s a contributing factor, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.

So why write about this? What’s to be gained, I can hear some of you ask, in talking about what looks like a bit of an internal meltdown from outside the company?

Well, because first of all, news travels fast, and not all the tellers know the story; this at least lets me say the story I know.  Secondly, news travels slow, too, and there are plenty of people who want to know about what’s going on with me, and who I want to keep current.

Third, importantly, because while I’ve said this directly to Rachael and Justin, it deserves repeating here publicly that they are great employees and people, and they are going on to do other great things, and I’m happy for them.  I especially enjoyed the feeling of indirectly supporting Rachael’s art: the micropatron idea might be the way I get to do that now, hey, Roland?

But mostly, I’m blogging because I think that I’m going to look back on this week in the future and I’m going to wonder how I was feeling, what I had in mind at this time of change.  I’ve always had a fascination with the times of flux in people’s lives, the periods when a person is between things.  Some of the best feelings and experiences of my life have been in these times, and yet the experience is so fleeting.

Lucky me: Now I get a chance to have another.

* * *

Oh, in case you’re wondering what the title of this post refers to. It’s the title of a song from the latest OK Go album, which was released today.  This is their new music video, complete with marching band, for the song “This Too Shall Pass”.  It’s well worth a watch. Thanks, Robin.



Previous entry:
Ask Me Anything, Anonymously

Next entry:
The Olympics Are Coming


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

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“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

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“I play with variables constantly.”

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“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

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