It’s 3:30 am and I am writing this from a vantage point on the second floor of a waterfront hotel along the Chincoteague Bay. It is a beautiful night and a cool breeze is blowing up the bay. I can hear the crews of nearby commercial fishing boats preparing for the day’s work.
Gretchen and I are staying at the Hampton Inn, which is one of the newer hotels along the Chincoteague waterfront. It is within walking distance of shops and restaurants in the historic downtown area of Chincoteague Island and a short drive from the National Wildlife Refuge and beach on Assateague Island where the famous Chincoteague Ponies roam free.
We have come to celebrate Gretchen’s birthday and the beginning of another phase in our lives. It was a leisurely five hour drive through the rolling hills of Virginia to bustling Norfolk and then up the eastern coast of Virginia to our final destination. We chose secondary roads wherever possible as we have learned that our journeys are much more relaxing when we travel the byways. Our speeds are moderate but the trip takes less time subjectively, because there is so much to see.
We dined a few hours ago on flounder, crab, scallops, and oysters at the Landmark Crabhouse on the Chincoteague waterfront. The seafood was fresh and we ate at a table overlooking the bay. The setting sun and the soaring seabirds made it an idyllic scene for our private celebration.
Gretchen is finally moving out of high tech into new pursuits. She has not made her mind up yet as to what exactly she will do, but I am sure she will have no more trouble than I did with the transition to a new life. She has so many organizational and artistic talents that she will probably get snapped up by one of the organizations around Charlottesville before she expects it.
I think she will resist recruitment until she has some time to decellerate from the high randomity of the last seven years. She is looking forward to a life without constant conference calls about customer issues that are not being resolved.
Customer Advocacy in a multi-layered corporation is not necessarily personally or spiritually rewarding, although it should be. When that function has no access to Product Development, the customer feedback that is gathered goes nowhere.
Like putting lipstick on a bulldog, customer-facing functions that cannot produce change become a travesty of what Public Relations and Customer Relations should be. The talented people who are in these functions eventually burn out or go elsewhere.
We are finally casting off our mooring ropes from this corporate docking point and are setting sail for more rewarding adventures. It promises to be interesting.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow could bring an interview with a wild pony.