Losing another friend

Jim’s quitting. I just found out tonight. I’ve suspected for a couple of weeks, though.

It started when Jim sent me an IM asking for an offsite lunch. Just him and myself. That was my warning bell.

The reason was because he needed me not to be his performance manager or the Technology Director of the Gold Business unit. He needed his friend and mentor. To be considered that is an honour.

Jim’s off to greener pastures. He’s the second top-tier web developer to leave in a month. Aaron’s last day is Friday. He’s been a cornerstone for figuring out weird and difficult problems. He’s going to be tough to replace. Jim’s going to be just as hard — if not harder. He’s been my crutch on Rolex for a long time, and he’s our technical SEO expert — the next person in line for knowledge might be me, and I don’t do this as much as I used to. He’s got all the connections, which leave with him.

But it’s more than that. I’ve known Jim since the day he started. I’ve seen him go from being effectively a slacker developer all the way to one of our best and brightest. I suppose that’s a compliment to Critical Mass, that he’s been able to learn and develop to this point. But like all people, you need to choose your path before you plateau.

For Jim, it’s either become a manager, or dive deeper into programming. Two of his options (he has four, the bastard) will grant him those — whichever he wishes most. (And whichever pays most, has most flexibility, etc.) Tough choice. That’s why he wanted to talk to me. I hope I gave him some sort of idea.

Even though I knew what he wanted to talk about, it was still saddening to hear. Another friend moving away. I don’t have many friends outside of Critical Mass. Those I have I see too rarely — schedules are a bitch to coordinate, among many things. I have to play careful in the office, too. I have many friends there, but I can’t show favouritism. So I have to stay distant.

I never truly understood “it’s lonely at the top” until the last few months. The sad part is that I’m not even at the top. I’m still middle management. How’s that for irony?

Congrats, Jim. You deserve what you’ve got. You’ve earned it. All I have to say is that you’d better have one helluva departure party — I’m gonna need that hangover.

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