Setting things in motion

The more people I talk to about my plans for leaving IBM and experimenting with business, the more real the idea becomes. The more excited and confident I get about it, too, which is a good sign.

Today I sent my formal resignation e-mail, the one that kicks off all the associated HR processes. I named February 17 as my date: four years, four months, and two days after I joined IBM.

I expect to feel more nostalgia as the date approaches, and perhaps uncertainty. That’s all normal, which is why I’m brainstorming and writing down my reasons. The notes will come in handy if I hit a slump. It looks like all systems are go, though. It’s clearly a good idea for me at this point in time.

I’ve found people to take over all of my extracurricular interests. I’ve been braindumping enough throughout my time at IBM to not worry as much about transitions. I’ve always worked on things with the lottery/bus factor in mind: would the project be endangered if I won the lottery or got hit by a bus? (The lottery is highly unlikely, since I don’t buy tickets; I usually look both ways when crossing the street, but one never knows what could happen in the streets of Toronto.) I’ve written lots of notes and shared as much as I could as publicly as I could, and now it’s easy to link things together in a knowledge map on a wiki page that people can even update after I’m gone.

My manager told me of ways back in, and contracting companies that IBM is used to working with. It might be an option. I’d like to spend some time up front seeing if I can develop a business. Freelancing sounds like a reliable alternative, but it’s similar enough to what I currently do at IBM that I think I would learn lots more from trying to build a proper sustainable business with compounding value.

One step at a time. The project that I’m working on looks decent in IE8, IE9, Firefox, and Safari, and it looks a heck of a lot better than it did when I took it over. I’m on track to wrap that up well. Then there’s some HR paperwork to take care of, and more braindumping of memories and thoughts before they fade into fuzziness. Then the transition! Then slowly easing into experiments and feedback cycles and little bets…

  • http://accidentallyincode.com Cate

    Wow! Good luck on your new adventure :)

  • Nathaniel Mallet

    I’ve always admired the courage of people who strike out on their own. Given your energy, smarts, and can-do attitude, I’m sure whatever you’re planning will turn out great. But Good Luck anyway!

  • Soha El-Borno

    Bravo, Sacha. Good luck on your new adventure and experiment!

  • http://www.jehzlau-concepts.com/ jehzlau

    Whoa! Welcome to the club sacha! :)

    I remember the time when I was in your shoes. I’ve been really skeptical whether to resign or not. Glad I did! :)

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    Thanks for the encouragement! Looking forward to sharing the adventure. =D

  • http://www.jimsjournal.com Jim

    Wow! You really are setting things in motion for a new adventure!

    Your manager is right; many former IBMers do come back as contractors or consultants. My brother spent thirty years as an IBMer — left fifteen years ago at age fifty — and has been back probably five or six times since then as a contractor. On his most recent stint as a contractor, he was co-author of an IBM Redbook (Deploying Cloud Components on POWER) and a Redpaper (Deploying a Cloud on IBM System z). Leaving IBM does not always mean avoiding IBM.

    Best wishes for success in your new adventures. I shall certainly continue to visit your blog to follow your \awesome life.\

  • http://blog.melchua.com Mel Chua

    Somehow, I missed this one — but your latest post made me do a double-take, click back to here, and offer a belated congratulations, and a hug, and a hearty handshake.

    Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help, or (more likely) if you’d like to chat, share stories, decompress, breathe, think about this together at some point. I went through the same process myself quite recently, except it involved leaving Red Hat after 2.5 years instead of IBM after nearly 4.5 (your end date is 2 months and 5 days after mine).

    I’m tottering on my own fledgling feet now, with my own business, thanks to support from many wonderful mentors and friends, and am… unbelievably happy, about a month in. And still confused and figuring things out, about a month in! But it’s a good journey to be on, and a good one to be able to reflect upon with someone starting out along the same way, if you’d be up for that.

    (Actually, if we do get around to talking about this, I wonder what the chat logs from that would look like, and if it’d be worth cleaning them up and posting them for others to learn from.)

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    Mel: Squee! =D And you’re handling that and school? Awesome!

    I’m definitely up for chatting and sharing chat logs with other people. One of my goals is to share as much as I can of what I learn, and I’d love to learn from how you’re doing things!

    My end date is February 17, and I’d love to chat with you when your schedule allows. When and where do you usually hang out on IRC or similar networks?

  • http://blog.melchua.com Mel Chua

    For some value of “handling,” yeah. :)

    I’m more scarce on realtime chat networks these days what with school, but does anytime between 4-7pm Monday the 20th work for you on either IRC (freenode) or Skype?

    In general, I’m good for any free time on http://doodle.com/mchua that falls on a Monday or a Tuesday. The rest of the days are somewhat weird due to travel.

  • http://coevolving.com David Ing

    @sachac Wow, leaving the big corporation to strike out on your own. Break a leg and keep in touch.

    In my career, I didn’t plan to outlive my colleagues, it just happened. Of course, I’ve had multiple careers within the same company.

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    David: I’d be a lifer if I could be in two places at the same time! =)

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    Mel: Trying to create a request through Doodle, but funny things seem to be happening to mail from them. 4 PM EST time on the 20th sounds fine – see you on Skype IM! Will DM you on Twitter in case you’re not checking this for comments.