Two roads diverged in a wood. . .
I turned in my resignation at work on Friday afternoon. Official notice was delivered to my department today, and I then went around and personally notified the people I like and respect. Amusingly, that didn't take me very long.
Our story begins two weeks ago today, on Monday, September 8th. I got a call from a friend of mine who works at West Corporation. He said they had a job opening that he thought I'd be perfect for, and wondered if we could get together to talk about it. So, the next day we got together for lunch, along with another guy he works with. He told me about the job, and I found it very interesting, to say the least.
That evening, my friend called me and said I should consider lunch an informal interview, and that he wanted to talk to HR about making me an offer. This surprised the heck out of me, as I hadn't even gotten to the point of seriously considering the job yet. I thought we were just talking about it as a maybe, possibly, potential thing. I asked him to give me a day to think seriously on it, and that I'd talk to him in the morning.
The next morning I decided I was definitely interested in the job, and was leaning towards taking it. That afternoon, I talked to my manager, Dave. I told him that I'd received an unexpected job offer, and would likely accept it. He spent an hour and a half or so asking me some questions about the job, and trying to convince me that I should stay at Solutionary. He asked that I at least keep an open mind, and said he would talk to Mike, our CTO, about it, knowing that Mike would want to talk to me.
That night I got a call from our CEO/President/Founder, Steve (this isn't quite as impressive as it sounds; remember that Solutionary is a relatively small company with less than 150 people, and Steve's office is just down the hall from mine). He called about some problems he was having with e-mail. And in fairness, he really was having e-mail problems. I spent an hour or two that morning working with him on them. However, of the 25 minutes we were on the phone, we only discussed his e-mail problems for maybe 5 minutes.
The next afternoon I had a meeting with manager Dave, and CTO Mike. We discussed the situation, and they talked to me about some possible options and potential changes to my role at Solutionary, to see if that would interest me. Some good stuff, really. It was very flattering. They'd obviously put a good bit of time and discussion in to this before talking to me, and I was amazed at the high regard they held for me. At the end of the meeting, I promised that I would think very seriously about
I had asked my friend at West to hold up on submitting the paperwork until I'd had a chance to talk to manager Dave and CTO Mike, just in case something happened there that would help me definitively make up my mind. That didn't happen, and Thursday my friend called me to provide an update, and let me know that the paperwork had been submitted to HR. He was going to try to push things as quick as possible, and hoped I might get the official offer on Friday.
I didn't hear anything from HR on Friday, which was good. I had a lot of thinking to do, and having the weekend to mull things over sounded like a really good idea.
On Monday, I found out that notice had gone out at West about a hiring freeze. My friend there was very confident that my hire would go through, as the position was already budgeted and approved, but it had been submitted right at the time of the freeze, so there were no guarantees. Additionally, a few of the people who needed to sign of on it were apparently very busy for a few days, so that slowed things up a little more.
On Wednesday afternoon, I got the call from HR and was made the official offer. I also learned a few new things that made the decision even harder, so I asked if I could have another day or so to make sure I was confident about my decision. The HR person was very friendly, and perfectly okay with that. We agreed that I'd provide her with an answer before the end of the week.
I took that evening and Thursday to talk to some friends and family, including a couple of the people that I knew that worked at West, in an attempt to know as much as possible about what I was getting into. A couple of them were people who I'd worked with at Solutionary and were now working at West, which gave them the ability to offer a particularly valuable opinion about the situation.
In the end, we come full circle. As I mentioned at the top of this post, I turned in my resignation to Solutionary on Friday. My last day there will be October 24th, giving them 5 weeks of official notice (although I'll be absent for one of them), and over 6 weeks of notice since I first informed them that I might be leaving. It is my intention to leave on good terms, and make my leaving as painless as possible.[Update: I've been asked what made this such a hard decision. I'll expand on that in a new entry later tonight.]
 Yes, I told my manager about the job offer before I actually had an offer. In hindsight, that probably wasn't the best choice I could have made, but I knew my current employer would want strongly to keep me, and I wanted to be as honest and up-front as possible with Dave. My leaving would be a pretty big hit on the company, and those hit hardest would be the people in my department. I wanted to give them as much notice as possible.