What now?

My tenure at Isilon is starting to be a real struggle. It isn’t that the job has become significantly more difficult or that the hours are more pressing. In a lot of ways, I’m doing less actual work - but the additional responsibility weighs on me throughout the day (and evening… and night.)

I think I’m affected by a few things - career direction, a desire to spend time with my family, and general wear-out. More and more I feel like the management direction is not what I should be in at this time. It isn’t that I’m not learning a great deal; I am - how to govern my time, set goals, plan for the future, be accountable, and interact people. When I describe that, it seems obvious that I should be into my job. That leads me down the path of ownership, lack of focus, etc. While I love Isilon’s technology and think it is a game-changer in the marketplace, in my management position I am becoming more and more removed from that technology. I’m about people and process and growing the organization - but I don’t particularly care for big companies. So while I seem to be a natural leader, perhaps I need to be closer to the technology than I am.

My current position draws on my time in strange ways. I’m up early to deal with our remote office and often stay late to deal with customer issues. This isn’t all the positions fault - I’m a workaholic and its hard for me to stop thinking about work. I’m torn whether I should reorient myself such that I have less responsibility and am just a ‘cog’ in the machine or whether I can truly find a work/life balance. Can I really leave work at home? Can I find some way to interact with the remote team in the morning and yet still have some time for Eriko and Jerry? Can I deal better with the constant weight of responsibility and accountability that I feel?

Finally, I’m a little tired. I’ve been at Isilon for almost 5 years. I’ve never been in any place that long - not high school, not college, nor any previous position. I like a certain amount of change in my job and I’m not feeling it. Now, it isn’t fair to say that things haven’t changed - Isilon has come from a startup with less than 30 people to a company with over 300. I’ve progressed from a lowly quality assurance engineer to a director of software. Perhaps I’m worried (or have realized) that the growth curve is slowing down? I have no desire to be a senior director of software - why? Like Mike Hargrove, I feel like I’ve lost the passion.

This all leaves me in quite a quandry. It would be fiscally irresponsible for me to leave Isilon at this point in the game but I also can’t proceed without finding a way to reinvigorate myself. I have to go the distance here - that gives me the financial flexibility to pursue other dreams, such as getting a PhD, buying a house, or living in Japan.

This is all easier said than done, of course. I’m in the mid-point of my 5 day “weekend” and have absolutely no desire to head into the office. Just writing these thoughts and thinking about work makes me feel like time is slipping by too fast.