Open Letter, September 20th, 2004
As promised in my last Open Letter, there’s been news in the queue that is “slightly related,” while still being of sufficient import to merit the application of some suspense.
That news has now broken. September 20th was my last day as a Novell employee. I resigned voluntarily, and am now officially “unemployed” for the first time in 11 years.
Most folks, upon reading this, will immediately let slip the hamsters of speculation, spinning those wheels with rattling incessancy. Rest assured, for every thought you readers may have on this matter, I’ve got at least half a dozen things I want to say, and ALL of them would segue appropriately from the statement in the above paragraph. The hardest part about all of this is choosing which thought to follow up first. What to say, what to say?
Let me start this way: there are numerous reasons why one MIGHT choose to leave a lucrative position as a visionary with a leading technology company, and most of them have little or nothing to do with what really happened in my case. What it really boiled down to was the simple fact that God told me it was time to quit.
God did not say why. He also did not offer me any specific bits of encouragement, like saying “Schlock Mercenary will be netting you a high five-figure income by the end of 2005″ (which revelation I would have greeted with all kinds of jubilant praise, yessirree, halle-LOO-ya.) No, for all I know the spiritual experience I’ve had in conjunction with this decision is leading me on a path that involves poverty, desperation, abject humility, and then a return to Novell as someone hungry enough to really get down to business.
The truly spiritual person doesn’t care about the destination in cases like this. For saints, it’s enough to know that the decision is the right one, and that God’s ways are not necessarily understandable to mortals.
I’m no saint. I’m scared spitless. But I’ve had this kind of spiritual prompting in my life on three other occasions, and I know that for all my fears, things will work out okay. I just don’t have a specific value for “okay” yet.
Now, before you start throwing money at me with the Paypal button, I need to say a couple of things.
- My family and I can get by through Christmas with no income other than what we know will be in my final check. We’ve always lived well within our means.
- If I get hungry enough in the bleak midwinter, I know I can find Novell-related work with my former customers, GroupWise partners, or even with Novell.
These two points are amazingly liberating. In the face of this new-found freedom, I’m going to spend the next 90 days pretending to be a full-time cartoonist. It may be little more than a sabbatical, or perhaps a pilgrimage-at-the-drawing-table. Then again, it may be a pretense that dictates the shape of reality. I’m not unemployed. I’m SELF-employed. Pretend that with me, please.
For those of you uncomfortable with the thought that God might be talking to me, feel free to pretend that He is just another one of the Voices In My Head. I mean, as long as we’re pretending stuff I might as well enable you in some comfortable fictions, right?
Watch this space. The game-of-pretend has just begun, and I think you’ll like the way it plays out.