Gone from GetUp

30 Oct 2010

Yesterday was my last day at GetUp. I'm moving on to bigger and better things now.

If you've been following me on Twitter you would have been able to work out by the hints that I've been dropping all week that this was the case. If you didn't work it out from the hints then one of last night's messages should have spelled it out clearly enough.

During my time there, I was training up the ex-PHP developers in the ways of Ruby on Rails whilst developing the new version of GetUp's website. This is definitely the kind of work that I want to do for as long as I'm able, it's been a blast.

There are many reasons why I'm leaving the organisation and some of them cannot be made public. What can be made public is that last Thursday changed everything.

I received news early that morning that a very good UK friend of mine, (Angus / Fares Yusuf) Donaldson, had passed away 6 days prior. We had met online a couple of years back, hanging out in #rubyonrails, #offrails and more recently #railsbridge together. It was until March this year when I was on my way to Scotland that we met in person, staying in Heathrow Airport for 7 hours during an epic layover between flights. I kept telling Angus that my flight was at 2:30pm and he kept saying it was fine. By the time Angus brought me to the correct terminal, the flight had already gone through final boarding and I hadn't even checked in yet! Angus thought that the check-in time was the one I was saying, NOT the flight departure time. Whilst I was mildly panicking, he sweet-talked an airhostess and got me on the next available flight. I'll miss him quite a lot. It made me feel mortal. If the indestructible Angus could die, then I could too.

Later on that morning the other friend I caught up with in the UK, Sam Elliott, sent me a DM about a job that I may be interested in. I looked into it and contacted the people offering it, but then had to leave for work. Was still in a shocked/dazed state when I arrived, I don't remember much. At about 10am I had a chat to the company but I wasn't able to offer my help because I wasn't sure if my contract was going to end the following week or not.

This was one of the things about GetUp and my contract. I never received a paper copy until about 6 months in. During the whole time I was there, my contract was extended by about a month per time, going from end of May to end of June, to end of July, to end of October. These discussions happened usually less than 1 week before the contract expired. Obviously there was still work to do, but I had no hint if the contract was going to still be extended or not. I would have preferred greater notice.

On Thursday night I got some bad news: they were going to be letting two of my team go, James and Charles. I read it as they were "thinking" of doing it, but the following Monday found out it was a definite. On Monday afternoon, each of the Online team had one-on-ones with Daryl and Simon with Charles and then James going first. I asked James what they asked him and he showed me a letter with "Redundancy" as the header. To be perfectly honest, I was furious at this stage. They were letting the two full-time people on the team who were getting decent at Rails go. I calmed down, sat through my one-on-one without leaping the desk and smashing Simon's stupid face into a bloody pulp, went home, and cried.

I talked with a lot of people that night. That was the theme over the next few days as well, just pure talking. Voice chats, text messages, Skype chats... it was just so much talking. The company I spoke to on Thursday asked me again on Tuesday morning if I'd still be interested and I basically said "yes, I'm very much interested and leaning that way now, but I have to talk to my boss". So on Tuesday morning I spoke with Daryl who sympathised with my anger, but wished that I could stay on 6 more weeks. I said that I would have to speak with the other company again.

Wednesday morning, that's what happened. They said they needed somebody right away and if they couldn't get me, then they'd have to move on. If I didn't leave GetUp, I could have potentially missed out on this fabulous opportunity. I told Daryl the bad news Wednesday morning and he said he was disappointed but agreed that I had to do what was best for me. At the end of the week, I would be leaving GetUp and moving on.

The other company was really happy when I told them late Wednesday morning, and so was I. It's something that I've wanted to do for quite a long time and I really think it'll benefit the community in a great way. Sorry for being so cryptic about the details, just there's very little that I'm able to share right now.

Thursday and Friday was handover with Alex (contractor) and Francois (full-timer). I wish them the best of luck in developing and delivering v3. On Friday at the team meeting I got given a great well wishes card from the team as well as an awesome satchel bag for my laptop that doesn't look as dodgy as a backpack.

On Sunday, my contract expires. After that, I'm going to be spending two weeks in Brisbane, one of them working for a company up there doing a Rails 3 upgrade work and some pairing with their team and then the following week I begin my contract at this new job. It's a remote contract so I'll probably just be desk-hopping around the place doing the work. I'd like to not stay in the house the whole time. The weekend after that is Railscamp, which I'm really looking forward to.

I'm still going to be writing Rails 3 in Action during this new contract. We're hoping to have a new release out Real Soon Now(tm), as soon as I get some time to speak with Yehuda about the latest major review comments. It should contain chapters 1-10 with 11 coming Real Soon After(tm).

The future's looking good. See you there.

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