Tag: friends

Life Cycle of a Career

A friend of mine is retiring on Friday. He is about 10 years ahead of me in the career life cycle. He started at the company about 2 years after I did, and he is now retiring after 25 years. It has been a long time coming for him. His wife retired about a year ago, and he’s been talking about retiring for several years. And now he’s done it and Friday will be his last day.

It is a bittersweet thing for me to see him retire. When he started with the company, I was 24 years old (I was 22 when I started there). I was still relatively new to the I.T. world (back then, the term “I.T.” wasn’t used yet) and it seemed anything but certain that I’d be at the company for very long. A quarter of a century later, he is retiring and I am well into the late innings of my own career.

I can remember so clearly–as if it was just the other day–the runs we took after work in the park on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica in the late 1990s. I remember the time we went to see Harlan Ellison give a talk in Marina del Rey and how flustered Ellison got when Donald Sutherland walked into the room.

We were both younger back then. I didn’t think of my work in terms of a career. It was, especially in the mid-90s, during the Dot Com boom, a lot of fun. Things were changing so quickly. We worked in a much more informal environment than what we have today. An we had a core team of great co-workers, many of whom were also long-timers, and all since moved on or retired.

I think I have said this before but the downside of a long career at the same company is seeing those colleagues and friends I’ve worked with for so long fade away, one-by-one. Some are claimed by other companies and opportunities, some by retirement, and too many, sadly, by death.

With the departure of my friend, only one person remains in my group from those early days and she was a big part of the software system we successfully rolled out earlier this week, after 14 months of remote development. There are other people still around from the mid-1990s, but none that I worked with on a regular basis.

I’ve heard it said that the curse of longevity is seeing all of your friends and family fade away as time stretches on. It certainly feels true in terms of the longevity of career at the same company. On the other hand, I just finished up the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on, which just goes to show that there is always something new over the horizon, and you never really now how things will turn out, and what surprises await there.

MySpace may have paid off!

I was browsing myspace when I woke up this morning and decided to put in the names of some people that I haven’t seen in a long time. I put in 4 or 5 names and none had any matches. Then I put in the name “brent zoba” and got a hit. It’s 34 year-old guy living in Naples, Florida. But his profile says he used to live in New Jersey. We’re the same age and our birthdays are relatively close together. I checked out some pictures on the profile. Now, keep in mind I haven’t seen this guy in just about 25 years, but based on the picture, it has to be him.

Brent lived just across the street from me for the 7 years that I lived in Somerset, New Jersey and back then, we were best friends. I saw him once after we moved from New Jersey to Rhode Island, and then never again.

I sent him a message via myspace and I’m waiting to hear back. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: I heard back from Brent and it is the same Brent from Somerset, NJ! It’s really cool to be back in touch after 25 years.

The Cleveland Crew: Then and Now

I came across my high school year book while doing my spring cleaning. It’s one of the things that I decided not to get rid of and, in fact, I got side-tracked skimming through it, reading what people wrote and looking at pictures. Hilarious pictures. Riotous pictures. Keep in mind, this was nearly 17 years ago. The great thing is that I am still very good friends with most of the people that I was friends with back then. And because I fear you won’t believe just how funny some of the pictures are, I’ve arranged for you to see a Then and Now of the Cleveland crew. Keep in mind that I photographed these from my yearbook and some of the pictures are fuzzy. And to be fair, I’ll start with myself.

Then Now

See the rest of the crew

Transition to middle age, redux

Another indication of middle age is the ability to write the sentence:

Did you happen to attend Junior High Scool at Porter Junior High from 1985-1987–roughly twenty years ago?

On Sunday, evening, I was browsing online, and did some searches for some old friends with whom I’ve lost contact. Normally, I don’t come up with anything, but this time, in searching for an old friend from junior high, Noah, I came up with a website for iolo technologies, LLC, for which press releases indicated that someone of the same name for whom I was searching was the president.

Now, Noah is a pretty uncommon name. The Noah I knew was into computers twenty years ago (as was I). He lived in L.A. and the company is based in L.A. Finally, there was the name of the company. “Iolo” was the name of a character from the Ulitma series of role-playing games, something we both played. It had to be more than a coinicidence. So I sent an email to this Noah, asking the very middle-aged questions about.

And the next day, Noah responded, and it was in fact the same Noah I knew in junior high school!

How cool is that!