Life after downsizing

When I started blogging in 2003, I had the opportunity to capture our family transition from corporate life to the self-employed afterlife. It was an interesting experience.

August-Palmyra
A few years ago, while trying to effect changes at Sun Microsystems, I thought to myslf that there had to be more to life than endless meetings and glacial progress on programs of doubtful longevity.

It would have been helpful if a voice from the heavens had called out, “Take your family and flee this place, for it is cursed!”
But, nothing so fortunate occurred.

I had to go through this same
scenario many more times before the decision to leave high tech showbiz
finally percolated into my consciousness.

I began a search for other opportunities, but failed to find any that
matched my expectations. I began writing a novel, but kept on with my
day job which provided all the satisfaction that goes with herding cats
and training water to run uphill.

The novel seemed to be going well and I could almost envision a life as
a writer if I could solve the problems of finding an editor, an agent
and a publisher, etc.

The increasing agony of the day job was
mercifully cut short when some executives finally looked at the bottom line and
decided that the way to profitability was to reduce the workforce.

Since Silicon Valley employment was following the example of the
Titanic, we decided to live where skies were blue and where we couldn’t
hear the freeway system. After searching the internet, we decided on
Charlottesville, Virginia, where we could enjoy country life and the
advantages of a university town.

Lake Monticello, near Thomas Jefferson’s mansion of the same name,
offered wooded privacy and high speed internet access. We felt this was
the best of both worlds and immediately bought a house. We moved here
more than a year ago and have never regretted it. Living here required
major changes in my career choices, but these changes have brought new
opportunities and interesting challenges for the future.

When I grill steaks for supper and watch a herd of deer feeding down by
the stream, I can barely remember my past existence at Sun or before.
My attention is entirely in the present and future. Life is good. I
will do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Click on image to enlarge

This was written in late 2003 and we have since moved to Floyd, Virginia, which provides an even better environment for the lifestyle we have adopted since leaving corporate life.

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0 Responses to Life after downsizing

  1. Randy says:

    David,

    I can relate to your story. I escaped from California in the early 80’s when HP started a division in Spokane, Washington. I bought a place in the country and have managed to hang on to my job through the highs and lows of the tech business. It was a fun ride while it lasted.

    The company is now going through exactly what you describe. It’s like being on a sinking ship that is going down by the bow and all of crew is now hanging on the stern as the ship sinks beneath the waves.

    I have my life preserver on and I’m ready to jump into the waters of self employment. It’s scary, but the thought of working for another corporation makes me feel ill.

  2. Brad says:

    Yep, I am so happy we left corporate life 11 years ago and moved to the country. We’re 60 miles to the nearest interstate and I love it. Yes there are adjustments. For us it was not about trying to maintain the same lifestyle in a different place. It was more about getting our lives back. Being comfortable with less, not needing to kill ourselves for what others told us we needed to have. Blowing up the TV has been a great asset. There may not be as many zeros in the income, and steaks are a rare thing (pun intended) but the mind is clearer, and the body healthier. Thanks for the post David.

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