The end of an era: Starting a new job and a new life

Boy has my life has changed recently!

I mean it, It really has changed…just over two months ago, my son Alexander James was born.  He was 6 weeks early.  Wow, it’s been a ride.  I had to take some time off from my extracurricular duties and focus on family, myself and work only.  It was an interesting opportunity to introspect and think about my future.

I also have more change in my life in the next year than I believe I have ever had in any one year period in my life.  This change is good change.  This change is good for more than just me; it’s good for my two sons, and my future wife.  This change is going to make our lives different than they’ve ever been.  At least from my perspective, it’s a HUGE change.

So what is this change, you ask.  Well, maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m going to pretend you asked, because well, I’m going to tell you anyway.  Some of you might even care what the change is and how my life is going to change.

Back in April or May, I was approached about returning to teaching Linux classes.  The classes I would teach would be from the Red Hat Curriculum.  As I’ve always had a passion for teaching, I really liked the prospect, but I had a few hurdles to manage before I could really go forth with this idea.

Essentially, I had agreed to a non-compete with one of my former employers, which prevented me teaching Linux classes for any of their competitors until June this year.  The job I will be taking teaching for Red Hat would definitely be considered one of their competitors.  The other was expected delivery of our son AJ in August required me to have insurance and boy am I glad I did.  Because he came early, the insurance I had with my former company essentially saved us from bankruptcy.

With these two considerations in mind, I decided to stay until the end of August, then leave for this new position.

I’ve been employed for the last year and half at  They are a great company and their Site Operations (read Infrastructure) staff is amazing.  I was blessed with the opportunity to work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked.  I was also very blessed to work at a job that challenged me to no end.  But in the end, my passions got me, of which there have always been a few…

The first passion I have, is my family.  I actually never thought I’d be in a situation where I would have two children from different mothers.  I had sworn off dating, marriage, family (beyond my son, Shaun) for good.  But then along came this amazing woman who turned my life back around, and made me want to share my life with her and what will become our amazing family.  We’ve already started, with AJ coming six weeks early on July 2, we’re proud new parents with some very unique challenges.

Another passion I have, teaching and training.  I accidentally fell into a training role back in 2003, when I was forced to get a job to pay for child support right after my divorce.  Luckily for me, it was the best accident professionally that I could have had.  It allowed me to show my talents and skillset to those who really could benefit from my passion and enjoyment of sharing how technology works.  With the exception of the 21 month sabbatical from training that is about to end, I hope to be in some sort of educational role for my remaining professional years.

Lastly, while there are many other passions, I’ll discuss my love for free and open source software.  To me, it’s almost like my religion.  I believe in it so strongly, and think that there are so many things that FOSS communities can and do provide to help others, I want it to always be a part of me.  I especially want to instill in my children the importance of openness and sharing, and FOSS really allows me to give a very credible and altruistic vision of these ideals.  For me, it’s been a passion of mine for more than 6 years and I’ve spent a good portion of that helping with two big organizations, the Utah Open Source Foundation and the Fedora Project.

These passions keep me going, which brings me to the whole point of all that I’ve said.  My days are numbered here in Utah.  Yes, I’ve said it, I’ve loved living here in Utah all my life, but it’s time to move to pursue the first of my passions, my family.  Because I’ve been here in Utah so long, it’s been a very difficult decision to make and one that I’ve not come to lightly.  In fact, I’ve been debating when would be the right time, and I know that now is the time.

My son, Shaun, lives in Los Alamitos, California, and has lived there with his mother for more than 5 years.  I’ve done my best to be a good father at more than 700 miles away, but I don’t think I can ignore a few very important years coming up.  Shaun is now 10 years old, and will be coming into manhood in the coming years.  Because of this, I believe that I need to be nearer to him to help him deal with many of the tough challenges he will face as he becomes a teenager and starts to pursue more adult activities.  I want to be there for him, and I think it’s very valuable for him to be a big part of our now growing family.

So, where does this leave my other passions.  Specifically some big loves I’ll have to leave behind here in Utah.  My family has always been here and I’ll miss them sorely.  The Utah Open Source Foundation and Conference as well as the Local User Groups.  I love the mountains here, the beauty and especially, the people.  I’ll miss you dearly, I surely will.

Lest you think that I’ll be in a hurry to leave, it’s not the case.  I’m starting a new job next week, September 12, as a contract instructor.  Again I will be teaching Red Hat classes.  My plans to move to California require that I am able to sell my house and that means it will require some fix ups first.  All in all, I believe our family will be moved to Southern California sometime in late summer or early fall of 2011.

In the coming weeks, the Utah Open Source Conference will be happening.  It’s been a passion of mine for now 4-12 years.  My leadership as the Chief Executive of the Foundation and manager of the conference will end at the end of 2010.  I believe now is the time for UTOS to have a new leadership and new life. One of the big tenets of the free and open source community is that leadership should change regularly.  In this way, I look forward to many more UTOS events and especially the great tradition of UTOSC.

Hopefully at the Utah Open Source Conference, we’ll be able to nominate and elect new leadership for both the Utah Open Source Foundation Core Team and Board of Directors.  Their roles will start at the beginning of 2011 and transitions will likely happen in late 2010. I plan to run for the Board of Directors.  In this way, I will maintain a less day-to-day role in UTOS and more an administrative and support role to the new Chief Executive as well as providing support to the new and continuing members of both the Core Team and Board.

Now that this post has become somewhat of a novel, I’ll just say one more thing.  I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the the community here in Utah.  I’m excited for my future and the future of my family and look forward to many more great years of watching Utah’s tech and free software communities grow!  It’s always been the goal of UTOS to ‘Help Open Source Grow in Utah and the Mountain West’ and I see great things now and in the future!