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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
Some of you already know this, but others might be surprised by the news... As of Thursday (2 days ago) I have left Blackbaud and in another week I will no longer be living in Charleston, SC. I'm changing jobs and moving.

Without going into too many details in such a public forum, let me just say I've found a great place in the woods on a mountain where they actually get all 4 seasons and it's very quiet, pretty and there are no mosquitos. (Oh how I hate those little bloodsuckers...)

Why did I leave? Well... that's a tricky one. I loved the company. My boss was cool and my team was great, but... I wasn't actually happy with what I was doing. I learned a lot while I was there and I don't regret taking the job at all, but it just wasn't quite what I wanted to be doing forever. (By forever, I literally mean FOREVER... some of the guys I worked with had been there 10, 12, 15+ years... pretty much since the company started!)

Looking back over the last 15 years, I was happiest in consultant type roles and teaching. I was doing both of those freelance, but neither in my fulltime role, so I talked to my boss about exploring other opportunities within the company (told ya he was cool) and he gave me his blessing and offered to help me find something I could love. First I talked to the technical training group. There was a gig in Seattle that was appealing. It was a slight ($10K) pay cut, which was not a deal breaker for me. There was a lot of travel (~90%) which was actually a plus (I love travel) and no relo. Ouch. Can't really swing a pay cut and a cross country move... so that was out. Next I looked at a local trainer position (still within Blackbaud) and found out it would be roughly $20K less than the Seattle gig. Big OUCH, no thanks. Ok well... now what? I talked to the consulting team. Interviewed with the boss, which went well. Pay was comparable, work was appealing. I feel like we clicked really well, and he wanted me to meet with his boss. Ok cool, no problem... so I wait... and wait... and fire off a reminder email... and wait... and nothing. No reply emails, no phone calls, nada. After a couple weeks of waiting and wondering, and not getting any happier with my current role, I decided to look elsewhere. (Ironically, after I gave my notice... the consulting recruiter told me she had NO idea I was interested in moving to consulting and was QUITE irate with the manager in question for totally dropping the ball.)

So once I made the decision to officially look elsewhere, things started looking up. I flew to Seattle for an interview & one week training engagement, got an informal offer which I considered but was a little lower than my target range. I flew to Fairfax, VA (DC area) for an interview that went really well and resulted in a great offer (for a higher salary than I have EVER made, but I turned it down... it's too crowded and the cost of living there is INSAAAAAANE!!) I had a fun interview with a really cool company based in Toronto that makes web based communities for "rock stars" (that's actual rock stars, not to be confused with .net rock stars) and got a kick out of the guy asking me if the salary expectation I quoted him was for Canadian or American dollars. I interviewed with one company that sounded pretty cool and was appealing because a very good friend works there (and I've come to value that a lot higher than I used to), but I ended up backing out of the process because I really wasn't all that interested in living in Charlotte. I also considered a local training company that I had taught with in the past. They would have hired me in a heartbeat and I would have loved working with them full time, but they don't offer any medical benefits (which sadly, as a diabetic, I need.)

So anyway... a few other interviews here and there and eventually I had a tough TOUGH decision to make. Job changing this time was tough for a completely different reason than a few years ago when no jobs were available. This time I actually had to choose what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live and who I wanted to work for. It was stressful, but a pleasant change. I'm not gonna kid myself either... I think being a Microsoft MVP helped open a lot of doors.

(In case you haven't noticed yet, I usually don't mention my current employer by name... no specific reason, I just don't. It's my blog, not theirs, and sometimes I say things they might not approve of... and I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that if their name and logo were splashed all over my blog.)

So anyway...
Why am I moving? To be completely honest, I never particularly liked Charleston that much. I'm more of a mountains and snow guy than a beach and sun guy. It's absurdly expensive here and I'm not much of a drinker (since I'm diabetic) so it's just not my social scene. And of course the fact that I'm getting a significant pay raise and moving to an area with a much lower cost of living make this a sweet and irresistable opportunity.

There was actually a point to this long rambling post... If you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I'm packing, moving, unpacking, etc... for the next couple weeks. Of course, chances are, you'll hear from me anyway since I'll probably borrow somebody's wireless at some point to check email and bitch about the SNR of the main feed now that Jason's back on GWB fulltime. :) Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2006 9:07 AM General Interest | Back to top

Comments on this post: Where's Chris?

# re: Where's Chris?
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congrats and good luck!
Left by Tim Hibbard on Feb 18, 2006 10:25 AM

# re: Where's Chris?
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Yeah, good luck!
Left by Jannik Anker on Feb 19, 2006 4:02 AM

# re: Where's Chris?
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Hey Chris :). So, by the sounds of it, does that mean you are moving to the Seattle area? Or are you moving to some place like Colorado or Utah? If the Seattle area, maybe that means we can actually get together once in a while :).

I was hoping you would get the SNR jab in there :). Man, after going back and reading those posts I sure feel like a resident idiotic a-hole. I would imagine that if you hear from me again on the SNR stuff I will probably be taking your point of view and bitching about how someone else needs to learn to get a long on a community site :). My how things change =P.
Left by Jason Olson on Feb 19, 2006 10:05 AM

# re: Where's Chris?
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Good luck with the move dude.

As for not mentioning the company name, i agree totally. I've mentioned who my employer a total of once and once only in my blog - while my boss has approved my blogging and occasionally mentioned non-secret stuff about work, i certainly don't want to be dealing with the legal department :)
Left by Geoff Appleby on Feb 19, 2006 6:03 PM

# re: Where's Chris?
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now send me an email and tell me the juicy details ;)
Left by stevenc on Feb 20, 2006 6:31 AM

# re: Where's Chris?
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Good luck with the move! Are you moving closer or further away from here? Inquiring minds want to know!
Left by Paul Pearce on Feb 20, 2006 6:54 AM

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