I had a post all planned out. It was going to be interesting and professional and it was going to directly apply to both this blog and cyber anthropology. However, things change – as we should all be used with the time we spend in this dynamic online world.
Instead of my well planned post, what you will now get for my first official post on this blog is a personal view on the value of an online relationship. Hopefully by the time I finish you agree that this is a much better option than what I had planned. If not, then take heart that well planned post will be here tomorrow and you can come back then!
The story begins about a year ago when I posted in my personal blog that I was looking for a new job. Problem was, I had just bought a house and was considering grad school so I was unsure whether or not this would be a smart move. A friend who has my blog on her feed posted back stating that the company her husband worked for was looking for a web person. This friend of mine is a brilliant woman who I first met as a child but fell out of touch with until I found her online many years later. Though I know this friend in real life, I had not seen her in about 7-10 years at this point. We had kept up with each other for a few years via our blogs, but had not been able to make time to hang out in person. So, the relationship we had at that point was based solely via our online communications.
My friend knew of my intentions to go to grad school as I had posted them in my blog and suggested that a startup might be a little more flexible than the 104 year old company I was working for at the time. I considered with the recent change in management that occurred she was likely right and agreed to have my resume sent over. Two weeks later I get an email from the president of a startup asking if I would be interested in talking about a position with his company. I had no idea where this came from and thought it very odd that someone would just email me out of the blue. He listed my referral, but it took me a minute to recognize my friend’s name, which had changed since I last knew her due to marriage. I replied asking for more information and he called me back. I went for an interview with him and my friend’s husband during my lunch break. Two hours later I was sent an email with more information and then the president emailed asking for a site mockup which I went home and spent all night on while playing World of Warcraft.
The next morning I sent it over, and he came back within the hour to offer me a position with his company that included a substantial raise but also a substantial risk. I had to decide then whether or not it was worth it to leave my nice very large and stable Fortune 500 company for a startup and I had to decide quickly. By that afternoon I told him I would take it. That part was easy in comparison to telling the person who had been my boss for the last 5 years I was leaving. Loyalties in me run deep, but I felt my time had come. In less than 24 hours my life had completely changed. A month after I started with my new company I was more right than I could have ever foretold.
Turns out that the management change that had occurred at my previous company just prior to me leaving was indeed the drastic one that I had feared. Where before we had been measured by the quality of our work, speed with which we accomplished large scale projects, and our customer service – now they were having to justify their jobs through metrics and numbers that just don’t quite tell the story of a job well done. Not only that, but my personal life erupted with my boyfriend of four years with whom I had just bought a house losing his job 10 days before Christmas, then proposing to me on Christmas, then gaining a job 3 days later, then us receiving custody of his four year old daughter over night 5 days later completely unexpectedly. Had I not taken that job, we would not have survived throughout the end of the year!
Due to custody issues surrounding my fiance ’s daughter, we decided following our first custody hearing at the end of January to move up our wedding date from September to March 17th which gave us 6 weeks to plan. The wedding went off without a hitch, then I decided to go ahead and put in my application for grad school. By June it was confirmed that I was both a grad school student as well as a full time parent. By August I was starting grad school at the same time our daughter was staring pre-k and come October my new husband and I finally went on our honeymoon we planned back in the beginning of January (pictures to come). Not only did I come back to midterms, but I came back to major things going down in the office as well. Though it was just a feeling then, I learned soon enough my hunch was correct.
A week ago today I was told that I was being downsized and that there was no severance package, however, they were going to push for me to stay on as long as possible to give me time to look for a job before I was without a paycheck. Luckily I had a clue as to what was happening and had already been networking. That very day I got an email asking me if I was interested in interviewing with a company I had recently turned my resume into after attending a conference at their facilities. I had been fearing putting my friend’s husband in a bind by leaving, but now my conscience was clear as my suspicions had been confirmed and I had been doing the right thing all along.
I interviewed with this new company Monday. My friend talked me through a few things via gchat about the position I was applying for as well as what I should ask for when they came back to me talking money. Her husband soothed my nerves with his very laid back style while I was waiting anxiously at the office for a call back. As of yesterday morning I verbally accepted a position with the new company graduating me from a web developer to an information architect. I received my offer letter this afternoon and faxed it back almost immediately. Due to the situation I was in at my current company, we opted for forgoing a two week notice and I start my new position Monday.
This meant that today, the very day I was to start this new blog, was my last day at my job. As with any job you love, it’s usually the people there that make it lovable in the first place. When you’re with a company that has a total of 8 people in the office, you tend to build relationships and get to know each other a little more intimately than just your average office and 9 to 5 desk job. These people were there for me during a really trying year of my life that I know would have been much harder to survive had I not taken this job to begin with. So it was very bitter sweet as I was the last person to walk out today, with a box of my belongings in one hand and one less key on the keyring that was in the other.
In the end I owe it to my friend and our online relationship for putting me in the right place at the right time, for an experience that was as fulfilling as it was interesting, and for being there for me as I transitioned to yet another place in my life. It is due to the position I just left that I was able to get the position I just landed. Were it not for the internet, my silly personal blog I have had for almost 7 years now, and my online friend who bothers to read my dribble – I could be in a very different place today.
Thankfully I can say, at least for now, I like right where I am.
While this does not directly apply to any academic application of cyber anthropology, I do think it says a lot about online culture, the value of a social network (our blogs are on Livejournal), and the viability of online relationships.
I promise tomorrow I shall not be as long winded, nor as off topic as this. Thank you for humoring me by reading this tonight.