Yep. My consulting career has been put on hold indefinitely. As of Nov. 1st I am officially (and once again) an employee of A Wireless, this time as the Director of IT.
Just about 18 months ago a former coworker and friend of mine — John Thompson — talked me into joining him working a gig out of San Francisco, through a consulting company called Incept5. I initially turned John down but after a few weeks and a little persuasion on his part, I agreed. I’m really glad I did. Working with the crew from Incept5 was a blast. I learned so much, made some friends, and got some valuable experience. All good things come to an end though; that contract ended on March 31st of this year.
Since then I’ve been doing some freelancing, almost exclusively for Physicians Group and a bit for A Wireless (both former employers). A Wireless was down a couple of software developers, which has led to where we are now.
So, why would I give up the freedom, the excitement, and frankly the pay of consulting work to go back to being a ‘wage slave’ ? I didn’t make the decision lightly, but in the end it came down to these things:
- Family Life
- The chance to grow as a leader.
- More opportunity to contribute.
- A Wireless is like home.
Flying across the country every few weeks to work on a high visibility project will make you feel like a high roller. It’s pretty exciting. But, I was leaving a wife and two young kids at home. Can you work away from home a third of every month and still have a good family life? Absolutely… I know folks who do. Some do it because they have to, and some because they like the lifestyle. But, personally, I’d rather be home.
I believe that God has been working to develop me as a leader in other areas of life. Why would work be any different? In this position I’m the head of a department of nine others, soon to be ten. Gone are the days I can rely solely on technical skill — now I have to lead. It just seems to fit in with everything else God is doing right now.
My career to date has been in developing software. I love being a software developer. However, I know I’m capable of contributing more than code. A Wireless is getting bigger, but it’s not too big. I’ve been in places where there was very little I could do to influence the direction of the company. A Wireless is not so big that anyone with a good idea can’t speak up. And, obviously as the head of a department and reporting directly to the COO, I’m in a pretty good position to influence things.
I’ve been ‘around’ this company a long time. I’ve seen it transition from 15 or so stores to 135 stores. The company is so different than it used to be. Most of the people that were there ten years ago are gone today. The company has been through some ups and downs. But, there have been more ups than down, which is why it continues to grow and is thriving today.
The owners of the company, Rich and Dave Balot, have been very good to me and my family. I believe I have their respect and trust, which gives me some freedom. It’s hard to put a value on that.
Will I ever go back to consulting? Probably. I loved it. But when this opportunity came up, it just made sense. So, with some sadness I’ll be dissolving jSwaff Consulting as a company very soon. I’ll continue to keep up this blog, but probably with a slightly different focus and rebranded as jamesswafford.com.