The last week of March brought about some major changes in my life. They were planned transitions, although the exact timing just happened to work out to be the same week.

On March 24th I finished my undergraduate degree. I had been working on it for four years non-stop, plus a couple of semesters earlier in life. Finishing was tremendously satisfying, of course, but more importantly it finally lets me have some free-time back. I have only had two weeks off a year for the past four and the lack of relaxation was starting to get to me. Thank goodness for my wife’s support and cycling or otherwise I would have gone insane.

The prime motivator for the undergraduate degree was a pathway to graduate school. That’s still in the cards, but not surprisingly I’d like to take a year or so off from school before returning. Luckily I’m willing to take more time with the graduate program than I was with the undergraduate so hopefully it won’t completely overwhelm my life when it is time.

The other major transition in the last week of March was leaving my job at BMC Software after being there for nearly 10 years. The product I had worked on for the previous 4 years had reached a maturity point to where the company decided to move most of the research and development offshore to India. My architect job remained in the US, but I decided to leave at the end of March when given the choice. I had expected to leave the company in 2008 anyway so the timing worked out well.

Finding my next job was quite an undertaking. Being at a career pinnacle I had a lot of choices and possibilities and I decided to explore as many as I could. In the end, I decided to pick between several job offers that gave me the most difference and challenge from what I had been working on before. Both Microsoft and Zenoss were about as different as I could get and still be working in the software industry. Both would require letting go of skills I had mastered in the previous parts of my career; both were tremendously different organizational from most places I had worked at before.

In the end, I chose Zenoss. A for-profit company using an open-source business model and Python technology sounded like a very appealing challenge. Not only that, but 4 other former co-workers that I highly respect were there, and working with them again made the choice even easier.