On taking action

So what happened in all that time since my last substantial blog post?

No, I wasn’t busy counting red cars passing on the street, or marveling at the cat’s anatomy as my kids do.

After mulling over the possibility for a while, I finally decided to quit my job and go solo, and that turned out to be one of the greatest, most satisfying choices I have ever made!

But it wasn’t an easy one.

Peering over the precipice

My first idea was to get a good contract in Montreal, then quit my job and move my family away from my small village. Seemed like a good plan. I have a wife and three children, gotta get both my feet firmly planted on the ground before attempting anything funny right?

I tried hard.

I worked really hard to get my resume in shape, spent a lot of time online skimming over job boards and freelance sites, went through the application process on a number of them, and although it looked close enough most of the time, it just wasn’t happening.

And I learned a lot in the process.

Trying to secure these opportunities had me meet recruiters, which happened to be an invaluable help to get my resume in shape. I would always get advice from each of them, which in turn led me to ask myself numerous questions about who I am, and what I want to accomplish in life, and how to formulate that in a resume.

During that time I opened an account on meetup.com and went to every networking and/or tech event I could find. I also took care of a lot of details at my job, making sure they were not left out in the cold after I leave.

Well, they were kind of left out in the cold anyway, when I left later, because I was the only one possessing the knowledge and expertise in some areas at this company, but I still did my best to mitigate the loss.

Leaping into the void

I still had no contract, no net to catch me down that precipice but at some point I got a strong sense it was pointless to continue the waiting game. And I think that’s the gist of it. No more waiting after promises of advancement, or after anybody or anything for that matter. My turn!

Followed a pretty intense period of apartment seeking, with frequent 2-hour round trips to Montreal with the wife and kids. We did not settle for the cheapest by the way. The Plateau Mont-Royal is a nice place to live, but while it is not outrageously expensive, you still have to pay for the privilege.

Turned out to be a pretty good choice, as we now save a lot of time and energy because everything we need is at a small walk’s distance.

Looking back, I can’t do anything but marvel at the fact that as soon as I had made my mind, and started to get into action, things began to happen.

It probably is just a coincidence, but it definitely has that magical glow to my eyes.

It all began on that Monday morning a bit more than 6 months ago – I had gathered all my courage to knock on the boss’ door. But he had no time now. So I went back to my office. I was probably looking completely helpless (which I absolutely was,) because of the stress I was going through.

I think I bit my nails through to my elbows while I was going through that excruciating wait.

Can you tell I’m not used to doing this kind of things? Oh boy… It’s not every day that I get to quit my job, with nothing in sight professionally-wise, and with a whole family to support. And for some reason that thought just made the stress a whole lot worse.

After a while I couldn’t wait any more, so I tried again, heart beat rate going crazy again while asking if he’s got time now, and no, he still didn’t have the time!!!

If I didn’t knew better I’d have thought he knew what I was up to and just wanted to kill me with the stress!!!

So anyways, it went on and on like this, but each time my stress was decreasing, so it ended up being a good thing, as that helped me strengthen my will and courage and feel a bit more relaxed about the whole affair.

Eventually I made my way into his office to accomplish my deed.

Then the magic happened

My boss was kind of disappointed that I quit.

I had been working there for the past 10 years, we were beginning to be somewhat friends, and yes, I was going away with a substantial chuck of knowledge with me. And what happened is that, before I had left his office, he asked if I would consider working with them as my client.

What? Are you kidding me? You mean I’m not going to burn in flames in retribution to having my family starve to death? Of course I would consider it!

Well in fact, at this point, I already had peacefully accepted that I would have nothing before me, so this proposal came as a really pleasant surprise.

And so as soon as I quit, I got my first contract! Talk about opportunity.

But wait. There’s more.

In between round-trips to Montreal to visit apartments, meet recruiters and participate to tech events, I stumbled upon a job posting on the techentreprise.com web site.

Well, not really a job posting, more like a looking-for-a-startup-technical-cofounder ad.

I contacted the guys and soon enough we all found out we were a pretty good fit together. So a short while after I gave my notice to my boss, I ended up associating with three amazing partners in a brand-spankin-new web startup, with which I have been working closely for the last six months. We’re getting ready to launch soon. It’s called the Digital Brewers and you can find some news about our product over at Ajah’s blog.

What’s especially nice is that after having been a PHP programmer for the past 10 years, I wanted to make the jump to Python programming, and wonders of wonders, this project is entirely done in Python, with Pylons/TurboGears/SQLAlchemy/Mako, and one of my partners is the lead organizer at Montreal-Python.

So I’m having the job of my dreams, in a co-founder capacity, working with top-notch professionals. I have a freakin’ great Python mentor, we work in our new office which is less than a ten-minute walk from my home, all the while doing contracts for a customer with whom it’s pretty easy working with.

Now. Seriously. How awesome is that?!!

Man, I have to pinch myself sometimes, just to be sure I’m not dreaming.

And, as great as all this is, there has been way more than this. I truly have been blessed beyond all my expectations. But this post is way too long already, so I’ll just shut up now.

See you next time, and in the mean time I’ll enjoy that delicious home-brewed beer that I get to drink nearly everyday.

Oh yeah, that’s one of the other nice things I didn’t talk about, we’re not called the Digital Brewers for nothing.



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