So I’ve handed in my badge to Cisco and I’m now a free agent. I’m on Sabbatical. Now what?

Good question. For now, it seems to be mostly projects and organizing and figuring out what this all means. I’ll be headed down to SoCal for a while to work on some estate stuff and go to Disneyland, I’m going to the Yosemite conference later in March, and then after that, I have no real plans in place; one active project is contractor selection for a full landscaping redo of the front and back yards here, something that’s long overdue and finally (I think) happening. I won’t miss the jungle, and what we’re putting in is intended to be low-water, low-maintenance and bird friendly. After that (shudder) is finding a general contractor for similar work on the house.

Two things I know are going onto the project list: first is getting a lot more serious about the birding and the bird photography again, and the photography in general; the other is a Mac programming project that’s been on the maybe-someday list for a long, long time, which I’ve titled Dungeon Delve (hint: it’s a reinvention of Rogue). I’ll be using this to learn Swift and figure out the logistics of the App Store. Who knows, maybe some day Apple will need a developer’s community manager… But seriously, this was a project I was thinking about when I left Apple, and a project I intended to build for the table we did at Palm, except, well, you see how well that ended.

And, of course, the weight and exercise.

It’s been funny to see my reaction to all of this; habits can be incredibly hard to change, and I’ve randomly found myself seeing a company in the news or talking to someone I know at this place or that place and finding myself pondering whether they’re hiring — and then having to remind myself I’m not in the market. With the exception of a wander through Apple’s job listings for old time sake, I’ve resisted the temptation, and no, nothing in Apple’s lists that really caught my eye (not suprising; in the last decade I have, to be honest, looked into five positions there, two seriously enough to rattle cages of people there I know, and in all five cases, the positions created were tied to an internal promotion, so it made no sense to pursue them. I get asked a few times a year — even now — if I want to go back to Mama Fruit, and my answer is always the same: for the right position, I definitely would, but I don’t have any real need or motivation to try to go back. On the plus, it’d be a short commute, and when they open up the spaceship, even shorter…)

I will admit to a couple of evenings of “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” anxiety, but now that it’s here, I feel good about the decision and I’m looking forward to seeing where this leads.

When my last day of real work was closing down, I sent a final note to the team to say thanks and good-bye. I thought I would also share it here as a way of showing what I think about the team I’m leaving and the work we were doing there.

Tomorrow morning I hand over my badge and start my sabbatical. I’ve had a great run and my life has been filled with fun and interesting people I’m going to miss greatly — to all of you thanks for a great couple of years, and I hope this isn’t “good bye” but “see you soon”. The first round is always on me. I’m not sure where my life leads from this, and that’s really the point. All of you have been awesome, to me, to Cisco and to each other. Please continue being awesome, this place is doing great things and it’s incredibly rare to be given the chance to “move the needle” at a company the size of Cisco, and that’s not to be taken lightly, nor is it easy. But it’s both worth it and addictive; once you do that, you always want to dive in and do it again. If any group can, this one can. 

Please keep in touch: chuqvr@gmail.com, and you can find me on LinkedIn as one of those too easy places to keep a connection going. I can never repay the friendship and camaraderie, but I can do this: If there’s an image I’ve taken you like, drop me an email with with the URL to it and your address, and I’ll print up a copy and send it to you. I’ve been meaning to offer that for a while, but better late than never, I guess. 

Take care, do great things, but don’t lose yourself in it. Don’t be afraid to do great things, but don’t be afraid to thrive, either. It’s so easy to lose yourself in your work, and if you do, it finding your way back can be incredibly difficult. Or so I hear. 

And have fun. Always have fun.

Until next time… 

And now, off into the future.

Oh, but first, one final thought. Me, now: