I started there in January 2007, which means I’d been with the company over six years. I don’t know exactly how to categorize these things, but the only other organization that I was involved with for anywhere near as long was primary school, and that just doesn’t seem to be directly comparable.
I had a blast at Canonical, made many good friends, and learned a great deal. I saw much of the world, met crazy, intelligent, interesting, eccentric people, learned how to play Cambridge Standard Five Card Mao, started a few useful side projects and perhaps even made a small contribution to the wider world. I kept being thrown into situations where I’d have to work with people who were heaps better than me at what they did, and then they’d graciously and kindly help me get better.
And so, making my exit was a bit hard. I didn’t know how to do it right, because it’s been a very long time since I’ve left a job.
The bit that I didn’t expect to be hard was pronouns. They are actually still giving me trouble.
You see, when I was working at Canonical, we made Launchpad and we were trying to cross the chasm, and we needed to get [whatever] done by [whenever] if we were going to succeed. It’s all very straight-forward first person plural. There’s lots of us, and I am one of us, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be
Once the notice was handed in, though, I had to start talking about you, at least in the future. That’s really awkward. Although I’m still formally one of us, the knowledge that I’ll soon be one of them breaks we into you and I. To be honest, it just sounded rude.
Thing is, there’s something in the oft-made point that you can’t leave one place without entering another. Every exit is also an entrance. So now I’m working at my new job, I’m facing the same problem in reverse. Occasionally I talk about things that I helped do at Canonical, or even decisions I helped to make, and it’s very hard not to say we, because in the past it was us who did it. Likewise, when encountering differences there, it’s hard not say “Oh, that’s how you do things here” or “Man, you’ve got some cool technology”. So I’m not quite one of them yet, at least grammatically. I’m getting there though.
The people I’m working with are fun and very good at what they do. Even apart from the job itself, I’m learning things from most of them every day. Tomorrow, I’ll be making another exit and leaving the UK to go work with them and some of our US colleagues in Chicago. Despite not looking forward to being away from Jolie for a week, I am looking forward to that. Perhaps I’ll teach them Cambridge Standard Five-Card Mao.
Next week’s word: fantasy.