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Very fond farewells

Yesterday was my final day at the old company. Wrapping up and taking care of the details, packing up my stuff, a couple battles with Nerf darts, having both HR and Exidor offically remind me of my non-disclosure/non-compete agreements (really? twice?), turning in my access card, and I departed…

…to a nearby bar where New Kid and I were the erstwhile guests of honor at an informal gathering, where many of our now former coworkers came to wish us well at our respective new positions. Old Company alumni Red and Smiley also showed up, to the warm welcome of all in attendance. Phoenix and Kabob from my team were there, as were Sparky and Cupcake, Cupcake’s team, both the QA guys, and lots and lots of people from other teams. It was fantastic.

From a professional perspective (after all, that’s the focus of this blog) one thing for which I’m very grateful is that I’ve developed these great relationships with Red, Sparky, Smiley and Cupcake, each of whom has warmly offered to be a resource for advice, counsel and ideas moving forward. And as Cupcake is a lead whose soft skills I greatly respect, and the other three all serve in the same kind of management/technical direction role I’m about to enter, I know their support will be invaluable in the days to come.

From a personal perspective, I’m very glad to have formed valuable friendships with everyone in the development group. Parting company with great coworkers who are great people is a very difficult thing for me to do.

But this is also an important point for me to remember: The team that I build going forward can be staffed with the most technically talented people in the state, but if they’re not people that I can form strong relationships with, nor people that can form strong relationships with each other, it’s not going to work. At the old company, the hiring process sussed out whether the candidate was a cultural fit as much as a technical fit. We would pass on people who were technically strong but whose personalities weren’t right for the team, and we would be more willing to bring on someone who was technically weaker but a strong cultural fit. In those instances where we hired despite having concerns about cultural fit, we always came to regret it.

So when I start building my team, I need to understand the culture into which I’m bringing them. And though I believe I know intuitively the kind of person I personally get along with, it wouldn’t hurt at all to spend some time thinking about — even writing down — the character and personality traits I want to see in the people with whom I work.

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