Moments that Define Your Life

I try not to dwell on the past, I also try to live a life of no regrets. We all have moments that define our lives, some are easy to spot. The moment we first feast our eyes on that person that we know we will spend the rest of our lives with. Like when I saw Bea walking towards me at  O’Hare airport; I will never forget that moment. I am sure everyone has the moments that are easy to put in this category, getting married, having a kid, etc. Your brain cherishes those moments like jewels.

I had this post sitting in draft mode for a while, probably in my head since it happened. I could not get it out for several reasons. Interestingly enough, today is going to be one of those days that houses a moment that will probably define my life. Today is not the day to share the current event, however it seems like the perfect time to share the last one.

I have moved for jobs before, a lot. Working on large systems for companies has allowed me the luxury to actually get paid to move to different cities. My heart has always been back in Chicago and I was often reminded of how much I talked about Chicago. I did come to love Kansas City and miss Michigan, but it’s more because of the people and not because of the cities themselves. Chicago as a city, in my opinion, is second to none.

During one of my first jobs I had made the mistake to buy a house in an area that had no other redeeming qualities than being really close to work. That taught me a valuable lesson when I ended up switching jobs and having horrible commute times. That is probably one of the things that made it very easy to start moving around quite a bit. I promised myself that I was not going to buy a house solely on it being close to work ever again.

Fast forward to years later and I finally was in a mental place where I wanted to once again sprout roots somewhere and buy a house. It was a tough choice, because even though I liked the job that I was doing I was dealing with a boss that was extremely emotional. I am not delusional enough that there is a perfect job, but I thought that when you counted all of the chips, the “angry” boss was trumped by good work, awesome coworkers and overall a great atmosphere when the boss was not around.

As time progressed the angry boss became even more and more obsessed with control. What time are you taking lunch, who you talk to during the day, how long you stay after five. I had experienced this kind of behavior before and it’s very common amongst entrepreneurs that built a company. They start to feel like nobody works as hard as they do for the company they built, or nobody can do as good of a job as they could. They have a hard time letting go.

The perfect storm came together one afternoon as the angry dude came back from lunch. That day I had decided that I needed to make a move, and like in poker, go all in. I was going to make a commitment to be permanent not just at the position but to that city. So since I had finished the current task I was working on I opened up the web browser and looked at some houses. My plan was to seriously start looking for a house to settle down in that area.

Not even two minutes into the search, I had not even clicked on an actual properly to see details the angry dude walks into my work area and start grilling me about my current task. I did not even have a chance to answer because his verbal abuse started. His diatribe went all over the place, but the part that struck a cord once he moved on from grilling me about the task that was already complete; “Why are you in the internet? You know what? I don’t even care, you should be coding…”

That moment defined my life. I knew then and there that even though I can code software and enjoy the finished product, I needed to move up from programming to doing more process and business analysis. More importantly, I knew right then and there that I could not work for that guy or that company anymore. The chips had started to stack against staying there altogether. I ended up not buying a house and not sprouting roots. I will never forget that day. It might not have been a sign from God, but it was definitely a sign.

3 comments on “Moments that Define Your Life

  1. Bad bosses are awful, but they can motivate people to get more education, work on their skills, etc. so they can move on to a better position.

    P.S. My boss is finally retiring!

  2. I had a boss that started bitching when I had to leave for 10 minutes each day to pick up my kid from school, and he made us start punching a clock. He couldnt figure out later how things werent getting as fast. Guess what, you dont feel like doing database and application updates for an hour at night when he bitches about 10 minutes during the day.

  3. @Michelle! Hooray for retiring bosses!

    So many bosses don’t get the simple thing about motivation. Negative only motivates momentarily and requires constant reinforcement and what is worst, constant follow up. Positive is long lasting and requires little to no follow up. Happy people are way more productive.

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