Sorry about the lack of updates. For an entire week, I’ve been trying to come up with the right words to explain just how happy I am. I started a new job this week … and by “new job”, I mean “the job I did for almost ten years.” It’s the job I left last September — and now, I’m back.
When I was younger I thought people only left jobs because they were unhappy, but over the past year I have learned that that’s not always the case. For essentially fifteen years I worked as a government contractor providing Infrastructure Support, and on a happiness scale I would have rated that job an 8 out of 10. A 9/10, I thought, would be a government job in some other department; a 10/10 would be a government job in the department I was currently working in.
I waited a long time (almost ten years) for a government position to open up in the department I was working in, but unfortunately one never came about. In September of 2009 a federal position opened up in a neighboring department’s IT Security branch, which I applied for and got. With a lump in my throat I packed up all my belongings, said goodbye to friends I had been working with since I was 20 years old, and made the long, lonely trek to the building next door.
Even though physically I wasn’t all that far from my old organization (the buildings are maybe a hundred yards apart), I felt like I had moved light years away. I had to re-learn everything, and I mean everything. The organization was new, the resources were new, the job function was new … it was just a completely new world to me. It would be akin to moving across the street into your neighbor’s house and then trying to find your way around with the lights turned off.
There were things about the new job I liked and things I didn’t like. I did a lot of security-related work and a lot of travelling and had a lot of fun and worked with a lot of really, really great guys. But there were things I didn’t like too, and the biggest one was that I wasn’t back working in the old organization that I knew inside and out. The longer I was away, the more I missed my old organization. Sometimes, during my afternoon breaks, I would stare out the window at my old building and wonder what my old friends were up to.
In April of this year, my old organization was finally able to open up some government positions. I applied for what essentially equated to my old job, but this time it would be as a federal employee. You might have guessed that when dealing with the government, things take time. It took three months before I was informed that I had been selected for the position. As I previously mentioned, I turned in my two-weeks notice in the beginning of July, which was extended for an additional two-weeks. I didn’t mind the extension one bit. I actually felt/feel bad about leaving the IT Security department — after all, they were the ones that gave me a break and got my foot in the door — but ultimately, I knew in my heart that this was the right move. This time, it doesn’t feel like I moved to another job. It felt like I was coming home.
(Oh, and I got a promotion in the process.)
I can tell you now that I am officially a 10/10 on the happiness scale. I hit the ground running Monday morning. Already this week I’ve written a couple of scripts on the fly, one to unlock hundreds of locked-out users and another to enable/configure DNS logging on our domain controllers. Wednesday I called one of our remote field offices and walked a computer specialist through troubleshooting an offline server. I have been plopped into an environment that I am completely comfortable in, one in which I understand the parameters and boundaries and know how to operate within. It feels really good.
I know this feeling won’t last forever. I know the newness will wear off. I know there will be bad days and there will be difficult times and there will be conflict, but right now I’m not thinking about any of those things. At the moment I am, quite possibly, the happiest I have ever been with my career. I am ready to take on the world (or “tear the ears off a Gundark,” as Luke Skywalker once said).
Or maybe it was Dorothy who said it best: “There’s no place like home.”