Exit interview

I had a call with my boss.

We were supposed to have lunch/brunch this last week, but in a perfect example of the type of disfunction that our working relationship has become, we were unable to get our schedules lined up. Friday, my mom came to town, and I had an interview with a VC in the afternoon, and the only time that would have been doable for us was undone by bad traffic. Sunday, we were unable to meet up as well, but for different reasons.

So he called me yesterday and we talked for half an hour. Eight and a half years working together. Elder was only three months old when I started working with him, freshly fired from my last MSP job, and desperately needed something to put food on the table with. He had just retired from the Air Force and wanted to try his hand as business. It was either a 7-11 or this, he had told me years ago.

He told me that he was faced with rebuilding the team from scratch. I was his first hire, and with me leaving was just the capstone on several losses over the past few years that had seemingly defeated him. Or phone technician, never reliable to begin with, had seemingly disappeared, and the only other person on our team, an office manager who had been with us for several months, was moving out of the area shortly after my departure.

We had had no discussions about my possible replacement, and with less than a month to go, I had grown curious as to what his plan was. There essentially wasn’t one, just defeat. The prospect of rebuilding his team, at this stage in the game, was a non starter for him. The only problem was his contractual obligation to the franchise home office, to which he was still bound to for eighteen months, or some two hundred thousand dollars. He was seeking a buyout or merger with another franchise, or group.

I told him that he shouldn’t consider this experience a failure. To have made it eight years was a considerable achievement. I tried to take responsibility for my part in the failure, I just wasn’t the right person to lead a team at the time, basically, and we had missed our window of opportunity several years before, causing some self-owns that had interrupted our trajectory and crippled us mortally. We had just been bleeding out since then. We had a moment, trying to recall all of the people who had worked with us over the years.

There were of course external reasons at work as well. Our area is heavily saturated with competition, and the market has become exceedingly commoditized over the years. Ultimately, I don’t think the system that the home office franchise provided was scalable for a small office. I became burned out several years ago, having to manage the intricacies of some half dozen vendors and systems: RMM, PSA, backups, AV, M365, more and more with varying degrees of interoperability and APIs. I’ve written ad nauseum about it here on this page in the past. It boiled down to something that was cumbersome and hard to replicate. I had come to the conclusion that the only way to survive was by conglomeration, but we were unable to make that work.

And I am done. I’ve given him two months already since I declared my retirement, and I have today and four more Fridays to go. He said he was going to try and merge with a group based out of St. Louis, to pool resources, and I agreed that it was his best option, but he needed to act quickly as I wasn’t looking forward to any awkward support calls to my cell phone in June.

Before we ended I thanked him for the opportunity, and told him that if he ever changed his mind about crypto and wanted to get in, that I would be more than happy to help him. I think I went on trying to explain what I had been doing the last few months with SAIADao. He mentioned that we had recently gotten on some military contractor list that would give us the opportunity to do some blockchain work. I couldn’t help myself and shot it down, which is probably another perfect distillation of our working relationship these past years. No, I told him, that’s going to be private blockchain work and there’s just no reason for me to focus on anything like that, it’s probably IBM, and blah blah blah I went on.

And that was that.