As most of you know, I've been with IBM for 4 years as an inside software sales rep. I've always liked the job, the people were great, the culture was casual and balanced and the job was rewarding when business was good. The problem has been that business hasn't been good for the last couple years and the job had become pretty rote. I've been going through the motions for a while, but because it offered such a quality of life I didn't think much about leaving.
Over the last year or so, layoffs have been going on in rounds and they kept creeping closer and closer to our group. Around November, I started feeling like I better look around because I could be next. Luckily, my buddy Jason, who introduced me to IBM, had recently left for CA (Computer Associates) and heard about a program they were starting where they would hire a bunch of associate sales reps with about my level of experience and train them to go out into the field and sell their best selling product, which is a Product and Portfolio Mgmt software called Clarity. The pay was better, the potential upside was greater and the change would do me some good.
Because we were about to have Graham and IBM pays 2 weeks of paternity leave, I didn't want to make anything official until I got back. My plan was to go back and quit shortly afterwards. Well, my first day back in the office a coworker who knew I was planning on leaving, told me about an email they accidentally saw that alluded to layoffs taking place the next week. So, the plan became wait and see if I got laid off and collect the severance and then quit if not, since I'd be taking off anyway. Well, sure enough it worked. About 20% of us were laid off that week and I was able to start my new job at CA a few days later. We've already cashed the severance check. None of my friends that have been laid off from IBM or anywhere else have been in such a prime situation.
Not only do I consider myself extremely lucky to have been recruited for a job in this economy, but it has managed to restore some faith in the Man Upstairs after years of feeling very alone. The way things worked out does not say "coincidence" to me and I can't really deny it. Not only that, but four great, but very challenging, years at IBM now make so much sense. Every challenge, every lesson, every experience had a subtext that is now the main plot. It's a relief to feel a sense of accomplishment being able to move on from that chapter of my life and know that I graduated.
I've been on the road almost since the day I started at CA. I've been in New York (Islandia about an hour outside Manhattan, not sexy NYC) for the last 2 weeks for training and I'm ready to go home this Friday. I'm forgetting what my kids look like and I miss my wife and my bed and regular food and the DVR and having a car and wearing clothes that aren't business casual, etc. One thing I'm learning about CA is they are WAY more hardcore and competitive and open about wanting to make lots and lots of money than anyone I met at IBM. The culture there wasn't like that at all. Now, I suddenly feel like "sales" isn't the bad word it used to be and that succeeding is nothing to apologize for. I do worry about the state of my soul, but that is a conflict I carry with me all the time (as has been mentioned in previous posts) and I can't let it hold me back from working hard and being confident about what I do. If you can't tell, this whole thing has caused some serious contemplation about my life, but the conclusions I'm coming to are all good and I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.