December 3, 2010 Update:
Click the following widget to hear me do a live reading of this blog. http://thedigitalgrapevine.com/TDGv/Lifeat42/%23TDGv%20Life@42%20Intro%20Blog%20Read%20Live%20Take.mp3%20
Tomorrow on November 19, 2010, I am turning 42. I have been a huge fan of Douglas Adams for decades now. The number 42 has been at the core of many of my beliefs for my entire life. On October 10, 2010, I celebrated 10/10/10 (101010 is binary for 42) by getting the tattoo that I had been planning for decades.
Two years ago I turned 40. On that day overlooking the Grand Canyon, I made the harsh decision to either challenge the cultural state of my employment or be forced to move into the far more terrifying world of unemployment for the unemployable. I had ballooned to 265 pounds, puking 3-4 times a week from the tension, and my wedding engagement was falling apart all around me. I simply was not in a good physical or mental state of being.
I was working in an extremely toxic and unproductive work environment. An environment built around silos, traditional networking, office politics, zero transparency, zero tolerance and yet zero accountability. Sadly and fortunately, in January of 2009, I was told my services and opinions would no longer be welcomed. I was released to the wilds of an economic downturn having worked in a closed network for 20 years.
I had started with this company a mere two years prior with the hopes of bringing a more transparent, agile and collaborative infrastructure to an archaic and chaotic operational model. Overcome with office politics, zero engagement and poor executive leadership, I simply failed. I was not alone, in a four year prior, the company had four (count them four) Directors of Applications Development. I cannot count the other members of the management team that were affected by the environment (past and present). All I know is that I dedicated myself to the task for the two years while I was there. I constantly put my neck on the line to move the company towards the vision I had for it.
Upon my departure, I was blessed with kind referrals by those who shared my vision and appreciated my efforts. These two recommendations, of the twenty-two I currently have on my LinkedIn Profile, are amongst the ones that touched my heart the most.
“Rob was instrumental in turning a dysfunctional, disconnected and difficult to deal with department into one that was effective, organized and much more receptive to business needs. He is a very committed, dedicated and engaged individual who is a also an able communicator. He is a great ‘translator’ between technical and client-facing staff, and learns quickly. As a significant internal client of Rob’s department, I know that our company has benefitted greatly from Rob’s personal involvement and also from the improvements that he made to the department as a whole.” December 19, 2008
“It was a pleasure working for Robert. I was always amazed by his ability to excel in managing so many different multiple projects, motivate by his own example so many people. He is a rare combination of the person, who quickly understands the business needs, who at the same time is a bright and aggressive manager and technically competent specialist, proposing the best plans and generating the best ideas, and who at the same time was always warm and interesting co-worker. I would strongly recommend Robert as a director or manager and colleague.” January 17, 2009
But this is not a story that dwells in the past. On my 40th birthday, I set in motion what I called Life@42. It was a vision for what kind of person I would be on this momentous day, what kind of people I would be connected to, and hopefully what kind of employment my passion, knowledge and leadership would be fully engaged and aligned in.
So I set forth on March 2009 to not only recreate myself, but my environment and knowledge as well. March 2009 was the genesis of @RLavigne42 and I look forward to recounting that in a future blog entry.
Tomorrow is my 42nd birthday. Tomorrow is the day that I have been working on for two years now. I have failed and I have succeeded in ways that I couldn’t imagine during those two years.
Rob / @RLavigne42