James on Monday. Rudy on Friday. I can’t make any "Rudy Tuesday" jokes on this one, I’m afraid.
Rudy was only the second Web Developer that we hired after moving into our current building (I can’t say "new" building, ‘cuz it ain’t new anymore). And that was almost a year after we picked up Carl.
Rudy was one of our workhorses. Give him a task, and let him loose. Didn’t matter how much time he needed to put into it, didn’t matter what the estimate was. He got it done, and it was done when it was promised. A quality that is not only admirable, but hard to come across. And it no doubt hurt Rudy’s social life, at least to some degree.
I never once heard Rudy complain over the years. Admittedly, I’m not sure complaining is even in Rudy’s nature. A couple of years ago, Rudy was in a fairly nasty motorbike accident, basically screwing up his legs for a month or two. But even when he struggled in for Jude’s farewell on crutches, he was still all smiles and laughs. I suppose that’s what I’m going to miss most about Rudy.
Rudy was one of the popular crowd, something I never was. Never been a popular person in general, really. I’m Joe Average. I have my ups and down, but when it comes to the end of the day, I don’t stand out, make waves, attract, or repel. In a group of two, I’m the one you won’t see. I wasn’t part of the 5% — even if I was included in a couple of events — and generally only find out about things after they happen.
That sort of thing really used to bother me a lot, being left out. I was never sure of it was a conscious thing: "Oh, don’t call Geoff — we don’t want him around here!". Or was it just merely that I’m forgotten? Hard to say which is worse — exclusion or insignificance. They both pretty nasty. It’s also hard on the ego, being left out like that. It really makes you think about the friends that you have (or don’t have), and how people ultimately view you.
I’ve come to accept that I’m generally not liked. (Hopefully, it doesn’t extend to me being outright hated.) At best, I’m tolerated. I can’t trace the thousand steps it took me to get where I am. It’s those thousand steps — or thousand cuts? — that slowly wore away at any appeal that I did have (and probably some of the credibility, too). I might get the job done, but generally I’m just a bastard. An ass. Maybe it’s my own self-importance speaking to me, I’m not sure. But I know that people treat me differently now than they used to even a couple of years ago. And I feel alone.
With Rudy’s departure, isolation sinks in more and more.
Rudy was supposed to be my major project this year. Despite being at Critical Mass about three and a half years, he never made it to Senior. I felt he was ready, just that we needed to push him a little more. It was all minor stuff, too. And that the opportunity we had planned for him on the Michelin projects didn’t come through the way we’d planned. In many ways, I feel like I failed him.
There’s almost none of the old guard left. After Dennis, it’s about a year and a half before you get to Torin, the next most senior web developer we have. I talk to those who’ve gone to "greener pastures", and I wonder what it would be like out there. In a little over two weeks, I complete my sixth year here at Critical Mass. I’ve come a long way ... but at what cost? Maybe I’ve become too complacent? Have I been responsible for too many people leaving? Am I even competant in my job anymore?
I ask myself questions like this more and more. I do what I think is right, but is it? Maybe Rudy’s got the right idea — get out while you can and do something else. Work someplace different. Reground yourself before it’s too late. And maybe I am where I’m supposed to be. Maybe I’m already in the only place I can be. Oh, the questions...
Good luck, Rudy. We’re gonna miss you ’round the farm. Wherever you land, I’m sure it’ll be good.